Just hours after New Hampshire’s attorney general announced an expansion of his office’s Civil Rights Unit in response to an increase in antisemitism, anti-Israel protesters gathered on the UNH campus to repeat the chant, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”
The phrase is viewed as an antisemitic call for the destruction of Israel by the Anti-Defamation League and many members of New Hampshire’s Jewish community.
On Thursday night, about 50 people gathered in front of Thompson Hall for a “Speak Out for Palestine” demonstration. Organized by the UNH Palestinian Solidarity Coalition, participants called Israel a “terrorist state” and an “apartheid state.”
New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu has previously denounced UNH protesters using the “from the river to the sea” rhetoric, calling it “nothing short of requesting another Holocaust.”
Gavin Riley, president of the Chabad Jewish Student Group, saw the protest and told NHJournal he was disturbed by the size of the crowd.
“This is New Hampshire. We aren’t New York or Boston,” Riley said. “I was somewhat taken aback by how many people were a part of it.”
Another student, who asked not to be named, told NHJournal, “As swastikas keep popping up on campus, there’s another anti-Israel rally being held on campus, except now they’re holding them in the dark.
“They’re chanting things like ‘Israel is a terrorist state’ and ‘From the River to the Sea.’”
The student said posters of Hamas kidnap victims placed around campus had been torn down. The student also described a sense of fear from the experience Thursday night.
Riley believes that while the demonstration doesn’t reflect the overall mood on the UNH campus, there is more classroom tension.
“It could be over what’s happening in Israel, but it could just be social awkwardness. We have Jewish and Arab students, and they may not know what their classmates are thinking, and so they pull back.”
While progressives continue their anti-Israel push, most Granite Staters reject calls for ending support for the Jewish state, according to a new poll released Thursday.
The latest Granite State Poll — a States of Opinion Project, conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center — found a majority of New Hampshire voters either believed the U.S. should continue its current support for Israel (42 percent) or send more (13 percent). Nine percent said America is sending too much to Israel, and 25 percent said there should be no U.S. aid for Israel.
And 83 percent of respondents said they believe antisemitism is a “very” or “somewhat” serious problem. Just 61 percent say the same about Islamophobia.
“When asked whether they feel that antisemitism is a more serious problem on the political left or the political right, 23 percent think it is a more serious problem on the left, 30 percent think it is a more serious problem on the right, 38 percent think it is an equally serious problem, and 8 percent are unsure,” the UNH Survey Center reported.