Spanish students demand ‘end to genocide in Gaza’

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students in Spain
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Students in Spain are also starting to stir about the war between Israel and Hamas. The university pro-Palestine movement is growing. After seven months of conflict and inspired by actions in the United States and some European countries, these students are now demanding an ‘end to the genocide in Gaza’ through a ceasefire.

On Friday, May 10, they also call for severing all academic ties with Israel. Students have set up tent camps and are speaking out against “the complicity of our universities and our government in what is happening in Palestine,” Daniel Maire-Richard, a student from Madrid, told RTVE.es. They therefore advocate breaking all ties that their educational institutions maintain with Israel. Nora Borrás, a spokeswoman from Granada, explains that her university “has contracts in technology, knowing that the Zionists will later use these technologies to make the oppression more effective. We must understand that Israel cannot exist without international support.”

First actions in Valencia

The actions of this university movement started at the University of Valencia, where students have been camping for eleven days. Last Monday they set up their tents for an indefinite period at the Philosophy faculty. They are determined to expand their business to other universities in the country.

Support for oppressed students

Students in the Basque Country and Navarra have been camping on the campuses of Leioa, San Sebastián and Navarra since the beginning of this week. With these actions, they want, among other things, to “show support and strength to students who are oppressed by the police and Zionists worldwide,” explains Axier Gurrutxaga, one of the spokespersons for the student movement.

Bureaucratic obstacles and educational activities

The universities are putting up bureaucratic obstacles to their protest and the rectorate is also not cooperating, the students complain. However, they continue to mobilise both within and outside academia to involve more fellow students in their cause. To promote this influx, services and meals are organised in most camps. Participants also provide workshops and informative talks on the Palestinian cause.

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University of Barcelona supports students

The first victory came to Catalan students after the Senate of the University of Barcelona approved a motion in support of Palestine. As a result, the institution will sever relations with Israeli universities, research institutes and companies. Duna Galup, a student from Catalonia, explains: “We are happy, but remain skeptical. We will not end the camping campaign until we are certain that the university’s intentions fully align with ours.”

The students in Barcelona are also critical of the “complicity” of the Catalan government and the national government in “the situation occurring in Palestine”. The Catalan government would not have severed “economic, political and diplomatic” relations with Tel-Aviv. The government of Pedro Sánchez, according to them, “continues to buy and sell weapons and maintain economic relations with the State of Israel.”

Jewish federation warns against anti-Semitism

As in other places where the pro-Palestine movement is fierce, many Jewish students increasingly feel intimidated at universities. The Spanish Federation of Jewish Communities (FCJE) also accuses some ministers of “anti-Semitism” and warns of an “anti-Israel” and “anti-Jewish” atmosphere that has made Jewish students fear for their safety. In this context, the federation points to concrete cases of intimidation, insults and even physical violence. These incidents lead to an “oppressive and threatening atmosphere”. Therefore, the Jewish Federation emphasises the need to maintain a calm and respectful environment in all public spaces and institutions. Authorities and political leaders should take responsibility in this regard. According to the FCJE, these expressions of anti-Semitism not only affect the Jewish community, but also undermine social peace in Spain.

“All these acts could incite hatred and encourage the anti-Semitism that has increased in Spain and that Spanish Jews have been suffering since October 7, when Hamas committed a brutal and sadistic massacre in southern Israel,” the organisation said, adding that Since then, Spanish Jews have received “attacks on their homes, properties, community centres, insults, threats and intimidation.”

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