Cornell Palestinian Solidarity Encampment Closes

A large hand-painted sign in dusk light. Images include black hands on bars, minarets topped with crescent moons, planes dropping bombs, a man holding a bloodied child, and a slice of watermellon. The sign reads, "Over 35,000 killed, over 14,000 of whom are children," "The sun will shine on a free Palestine," and "Land Back."

Protestors at Cornell’s Palestinian solidarity encampment took down tents and left the Arts Quad Monday. On April 25, the day the encampment was set up, Cornell’s administration told the group it had only hours to vacate. However, 18 days later, members of the Coalition for Mutual Liberation (or CML) voluntarily ended their occupation. 

As dusk settled on campus, a group of about 225 students, staff, and community members gathered peacefully, for speeches, song and Christian, Jewish, and Muslim prayer. [The sounds of Palestinian Orthodox prayer.]

Pundits and politicians including local congressman Mark Molinaro have called campus protestors “antisemitic” and “extremist.” But people at the assembly Monday repeatedly called for peace, liberation, and dignity for all people—including for Palestinians. 

Michael Margolin is an educator with the Tikkun v’Or reform temple in Ithaca. 

“The very core, in my opinion, of our tradition, is b'tselem elohim, that all people, all beings, are made in the image of God, are precious. And then v'ahavta l'rayekha kamokha, love thy neighbor as thyself. Love people. And many of us many, many Jewish people here and across the country, across the world, have been holding that torch that core of applied Judaism... applying our very best principles and values of justice in the world. Judaism at the center lifts up justice for all of us.” [Prays in Hebrew.]

In a letter Tuesday, outgoing Cornell President Martha Pollack said while she doesn’t condone the encampment, she appreciates CML’s peaceful approach. She said the university has paused issuing more suspensions for protestors and will review all existing cases.

Tune in every day next week to hear voices of Cornell protestors. They’ll tell us why they went to the encampment and what they learned. 

Photo: Provided (CML)

Keep up to date on local news. Follow us wherever you get your podcasts.