Calling for “intifada” and denouncing the American flag as “that dirty rag” and “this Nazi flag,” a small but vocal group gathered on Thompson Hall Lawn at the University of New Hampshire Thursday to join the wave of anti-Israel protests across college campuses.

The Palestinian Solidarity Coalition’s spokesperson told NHJournal in a statement that the protest was held “in solidarity with the people of Palestine and campus actions around the country.”

“We demand divestment from the Israeli genocide and a permanent ceasefire!” the spokesperson said.
“Our message to the citizens and taxpayers of New Hampshire is that your taxes are being used to fund wars abroad instead of essential services at home. Freedom of speech is under threat across university campuses as law enforcement subjects peaceful protestors to police brutality and arrests.”

While there have been anti-Israel protests at UNH in the past, the rhetoric on Thursday was more openly antisemitic and anti-American.

For example, the 200 or so participants chanted “Organize Intifada” and “Long Live the Intifada,” a celebration of the violent terrorism waged by Palestinians against Israeli civilians. More than 1,100 Israelis were killed during that period, mostly by suicide bombings.

The UNH crowd also chanted, “It is right to rebel, U.S., Israel, go to hell!”


One speaker, a member of the UNH faculty, told the crowd that “the genocide” isn’t going to end “from us going and asking these people over and over again, ‘Please, please stop.’ They don’t care. So we should answer back, ‘We’re sick of this [expletive], and we’re not going to take it anymore.'”

Then, indicating an American flag nearby, the speaker added, “The lives of the people of Palestine are more important than that dirty rag!” The crowd cheered. The same speaker also referred to the Stars and Stripes as “this Nazi flag.”

The protest was tame compared to the chaos currently sweeping campuses from California to Cambridge. Hundreds of protesters have been arrested, and Columbia University in New York City continues to bolster its security as protests — and threats to Jewish students — grow.

And Boston police arrested more than 100 protesters at Emerson College on Wednesday night as they forcibly cleared an encampment.

The disorder is so troubling that the University of Southern California has canceled its main graduation ceremony. Other schools are rewriting their rules to ban encampments and move final exams to new locations.

The protests have sparked a reaction among Republicans, both nationally and in New Hampshire. Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-La.) went to Columbia University and told students to “Go back to class and stop the nonsense.”

In New Hampshire, all of the major Republican candidates for Congress have denounced the protests and announced their support for withholding federal funds from universities that can’t keep their Jewish students safe.

The Democrats, however, have declined to comment. There is no mention of the protests on the social media accounts of Colin Van Ostern or state Sen. Becky Whitley (D-Hopkinton), the two announced candidates in the Second Congressional District.

And First Congressional District Rep. Chris Pappas declined to respond to requests for comment about the anti-Israel and anti-U.S. protests happening in his district.

Businesswoman Hollie Noveletsky, who is Jewish, is one of the Republicans hoping to run against Pappas in November. She posted a video on social media about how she views the protests and their rhetoric.

“The antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiment is dangerous. I call on leaders, elected and unelected, to stand up for what is right,” Noveletsky said. “I call on Chris Pappas, as our representative at the federal level, to put an end to this.”

Former U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte is running for governor. She also appeared at a rally in support of Elbit Systems in Merrimack after anti-Israel protesters vandalized the facility last November.

“The chants heard today at UNH are disgusting, dangerous, and unpatriotic,” Ayotte told NHJournal late Thursday. “Antisemitism has no place on our campuses or anywhere in our state. It is sad to see this hatred infect our campuses, and it represents an unfortunate culture at universities that must be addressed.

“I am proud to stand with Israel, and as governor, I will always support our Jewish community,” Ayotte added.

Neither Democratic candidate Joyce Craig nor Cinde Warmington would respond to a request for comment from NHJournal.

One theory is that the anti-Israel sentiment is so strong among members of their party’s base that denouncing it is too politically dangerous in a Democratic primary.

State Sen. Dan Innis (R-Bradford) teaches at UNH. He tells NHJournal he’s proud of the university’s tradition of supporting free speech. But he added that threats and calling for genocide cross the line.

“Free speech is one thing. But calling for the extermination of people is not free speech,” Innis said. “It is a fine line, but it is obvious when a line is crossed, and it is being crossed on campuses across the country. My hope is that leadership at UNH and elsewhere will do the right thing and call out hate for what it is.”


CORRECTION:  An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the size of the crowd at the protests. It was approximately 200, according to the events organizers. NHJournal regrets the error.