(AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
Students for Justice in Palestine

Anti-Israel campus groups across country defend Iranian attack on Israel.

By Jessica Costescu, Washington Free Beacon

A student group at the University of California, Berkeley, rallied behind Iran’s unprecedented attack on Israel over the weekend, arguing that the Jewish state bears responsibility for the Iranian attack.

As Iran launched an attack involving hundreds of drones, ballistic missiles, and cruise missiles on Sunday, Berkeley’s Bears for Palestine declined to condemn the unprecedented attack and opted instead to place the blame on Israel. The student group shared a graphic on Instagram with the caption, “Iran wasn’t attacking Israel. It was responding.” That post was accompanied by a second claiming that Iran attacked Israel because it refused a Gaza ceasefire, according to social media posts reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon.

“Iran’s condition for refraining from retaliation was for a Gaza ceasefire. Israel refused, preferring to destabilize the lives of millions in order to continue the genocide in Gaza,” said the post.

Berkeley’s vice chancellor of communications Dan Mogulof told the Free Beacon on Monday that while students have the right to express their views, even if they are “without factual basis,” they do not speak for the university.

“University students have the same rights and responsibilities as any other member of the public, including freedom of speech, as guaranteed by the Constitution, even if the viewpoints expressed are deeply offensive or without factual basis,” said Mogulof. “At the same time, students most certainly do not speak for or represent the values, perspectives, or positions of the University, its colleges, or departments.”

The social media posts come as numerous anti-Israel student groups across the country signaled their support for Iran’s drone attack on the Jewish state. Bears for Palestine did not respond to requests for comment.

Students for Justice in Palestine chapters at Columbia University and George Washington University shared similar graphics backing Iran. The latter also shared posts to its Instagram story claiming Iran was simply retaliating against “Israel’s provocative actions” as well as a video that claimed “Iran’s attack on Israel wasn’t unprovoked. It’s Israel that wants a wider war.”

“Iran is retaliating, not instigating a conflict,” said a post.

While Columbia’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter shared the post claiming that Israel was attacked because it refused to agree to a ceasefire, the student group also shared a post over the weekend calling Israelis “barbarians.” The school’s president, Minouche Shafik, is set to appear on Wednesday for a congressional hearing on campus anti-Semitism.

“You don’t get to bomb everyone and cry victim. You are the killer, the butchers, the brutalizers, the barbarians, everything you pretend we are to justify your genocide and mass graves. The world is turning against you. There is no coming back from this. This will not be forever,” the Columbia student group’s post read.

Over the weekend another Students for Justice in Palestine chapter, at the University of California, Irvine, shared their disapproval of Jordan and Egypt, who helped Israel repel Iranian drones and missiles, calling it “betrayal.”

“UK, US, Jordan and Egypt are helping ‘Israel’ in tracking and shooting down the Iranian drones and missiles,” the post said. “Never forget the betrayal of Jordan and Egypt.”

Meanwhile, Tulane University’s Students for Palestine group took its support for Iran further, by sharing details for an upcoming “emergency” rally in New Orleans—titled “Hands off Iran!”

In response to heightened activism praising Iran for its actions, Jonathan Greenblatt, the Jewish leader of the Anti-Defamation League, compared it to activism seen after Hamas’s Oct. 7 terrorist attack.

“We saw it after Hamas’s 10/7 massacre and we’re seeing it now after Iran’s unprecedented attack on the Jewish state: antizionists rejoice, glorifying and justifying violence against Israeli civilians. The cruelty knows no bounds, the hatred has no limits,” said Greenblatt.