U of M faculty accuse Israel of ‘settler colonial violence,’ ‘genocidal war’

They also want the university to "divest from Israel."

A group of faculty members released a statement last month urging the University of Minnesota to “divest from Israel." (Alpha News)

A group of faculty members released a statement last month urging the University of Minnesota to “divest from Israel” while criticizing media coverage that tells “a one-sided story of an unprovoked terrorist attack.”

The lengthy statement was released Oct. 13 on the Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies department website, where the professors described the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack on Israeli civilians as an “incursion” where “Hamas fighters brought down border fences,” to which Israel responded by “declaring total war on Gaza.”

“At a time when so many institutions are renewing a commitment to Israel’s right to ‘self defense,’ we assert that Israel’s response is not self-defense but the continuation of a genocidal war against Gaza and against Palestinian freedom, self-determination, and life,” the statement says.

“We strongly reject the media coverage that condemns ‘both sides,’ or seeks to tell a one-sided story of an unprovoked terrorist attack,” it adds.

The statement then describes America’s aid to Israel as an extension of its own “settler colonialism and exceptionalism upon which the United States nation-state is founded and which has provided legitimacy to a host of U.S. imperial wars or proxy wars.”

“We stand against antisemitism. Objecting to the Israeli state’s settler colonial violence, however, is not antisemitic, and the conflation of support for Palestinian resistance with antisemitism is itself a violent oppressive form of censorship and an insult to our academic and moral integrity,” the statement continues.

The professors go on to affirm their support for the “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement” and urge the university to “divest from Israel.”

“As members of a land grab university that resides on the unceded land Mni Sota Makoce of the Dakota people, we are painfully aware of our complicity with the settler colonial violence against Indigenous people and the continuing dispossession of their land on Turtle Island. We are equally complicit with the global imperialism that engenders the maiming and killing of the Palestinian people by the U.S-backed Israeli state,” it says.

The faculty members conclude by committing themselves to “anti-colonialism, abolition, and the dismantlement of militarized state violence across the world.”

“As scholars and solidarity workers who seek justice everywhere, we respond to the call of Palestinian feminists and Palestinian freedom fighters for transnational solidarity and assert that Palestine is a feminist issue. None of us will be free unless the Palestinian people are free and Palestinian land is liberated,” the statement says.

Some stakeholders have expressed concern in recent weeks with the parallels between the language used in Minnesota’s new K-12 social studies standards and by “anti-Semitic” groups.

“Your proposed standards and benchmarks for social studies includes references to ‘settler colonialism’ and ‘anti-colonialism’ that share unfortunate, and hopefully unintended, similarities to the language used by the Democratic Socialists in their anti-Semitic rant against Israel and the United States. This rhetoric paints a picture that these democratically elected governments of Israel and the United States are apartheid regimes to be resisted and toppled,” the Minnesota House Republican Caucus wrote in a letter to Gov. Tim Walz.

Additionally, one of the academics involved in writing the new social studies standards has stated that “studying Israeli settler colonialism in comparison to US settler colonialism is illuminating for all students, and at the heart of the discipline of Ethnic Studies,” which will be a required area of study for students if the new standards are approved.


Anthony Gockowski

Anthony Gockowski is Editor-in-Chief of Alpha News. He previously worked as an editor for The Minnesota Sun and Campus Reform, and wrote for the Daily Caller.