[Michigan, May 14, 2024]:

The American Human Rights Council (AHRC-USA) is heartened by the energy and political engagement of American students protesting the genocide in Gaza. It is unfortunate that these students in some areas have been met with excessive police force- even snipers placed on top of academic buildings.

AHRC condemns all forms of violence and excessive use of force deployed against these peaceful students. These students are America at its best.

The media reports and images that were seen are heartbreaking and appalling and do not speak well to the state of the nation. Such police practices push back the trust that is needed between the police and their respective communities. Treating students as combatants or criminals is un-American. We have an unfortunate history in dealing with protesters. We thought that was behind us.

AHRC calls on all universities to deal with protesting students as stakeholders with rights. The university is their university, their second home. Annoying others, creating inconveniences, even violating university policies, these are not crimes. There is a price we must pay for Freedom of Speech. And as to Jewish students, there are Jews on both sides. The pro- Palestine students are motivated by the rejection of genocide, not by so-called anti-Semitism. We call for honesty from everyone, especially the media. We call for a respectful dialogue. If dialogue is not possible, each group should be free to express themselves peacefully.

AHRC calls on law enforcement to refuse to serve as speech ban enforcers for Israel supporters who want to impose their narrative on the conflict and prevent a national conversation on Israel. Labeling the protesters as “terrorists” or “pro-Hamas” or “antisemitic” is a vile attempt to demonize the protesters and incite and justify violence against them. Much of the good change in the country came from protests and agitation, especially from the students. Think of the Vietnam war and civil rights.

“The US has professional and competent law enforcement, some of the best in the world,” said Imad Hamad, AHRC Executive Director. “It is unacceptable to shred the Constitution and destroy the reputation and trust with law enforcement over a foreign policy issue and a foreign country,” added Hamad. “We call on all elected officials to reject all special interest pressure to trample over the US Constitution to make Israel and its supporters happy,” concluded Hamad.

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The American Human Rights Council (AHRC) is dedicated to defending and protecting human rights as outlined in the U.S. Constitution and the United Nations 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The AHRC was formed to protect these rights and advocate for anyone whose rights are being violated or denied. To that end, the AHRC will build a tenacious, objective, and carefully guided advocacy program that will serve to defend individual human rights, whenever and wherever they are being infringed upon. NGO in Consultative Status with the Economic & Social Council (ECOSOC)-United Nations
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