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Why the Brutal Crackdown on Anti-Genocide Protests?

Norwegian playwright John Steppling and I respond on Press TV's News Review

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Press TV: Joining us now for our program is John Steppling, author and commentator, joining us from Norway, and also Dr. Kevin Barrett, editor at Veterans Today, joining us out of Saidia, Morocco. Gentlemen, I'd like to welcome you both to the program.

I guess we'll start there in Morocco with Dr. Kevin Barrett. Now, Dr. Barrett, I want to read also something in addition to the story. I have a little article here. It says, in the U.S., over 2,950 protesters have been arrested, including faculty members and professors, on over 60 university campuses. On May 7th protests spread across Europe as well, with mass arrests in the Netherlands, and by the 12th of May, 20 encampments had been established in the United Kingdom and across universities in Australia and Canada. This article is going up to the 12th, about 18 or 19 days ago. And as you very well know there's the UCLA arrests that took place, the 80 here. So we're well over 3,200 arrests on sixty-plus campuses just in the United States alone. What kind of impact does this have in getting the message out, doctor?

Kevin Barrett: I think these students are doing the right thing strategically as well as morally, because they know that the reaction is going to be grotesquely exaggerated and actually non-strategic from the other side. What we're seeing is that these students are putting up their tents and they're putting up signs and they're behaving peacefully.

And the billionaire Zionist donors to the university are going crazy. They are reacting with great stress. They're neurotic. They freak out. They immediately start pulling out all the stops to pressure the universities to get rid of these encampments. Because these billionaire Zionists, I think deep down inside, they are ashamed of the genocide that they and their tribe are committing. And so they're psychologically conflicted. So they use their enormous power to basically force the universities to do what universities never do (shut down peaceful protests).

Thank you, Dr. Barrett. John Steppling, welcome to the conversation. John, just last week, the leader of Iran's Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, said these kids are all on the right side of history, and they are now an integral part of the resistance movement front. So obviously their message is getting out. Palestinians and the Palestinian resistance has also acknowledged them. Their movement, how far does it go in isolating the Israeli regime?

John Steppling: Well I think public opinion throughout the world is overwhelmingly pro-Palestinian. It's hard sometimes to remember that, because the media is controlled by Western governments and they have a firm grasp of the narrative that they want to impose on all of this. If you read the coverage of the Santa Cruz protests, the headlines are “Israel Hamas protests.” They had to get in the word Hamas, because that's a buzzword for, you know, the bogeyman, evil terrorists, etc.

But all of this I think, is failing because the protests are growing no matter the heavy-handed police response, as was true in 1968, and these protests echo those anti-war protests. The police crackdown is excessive and disproportionate and often very brutal. And in this case we're seeing professors beaten, and certainly many students have been.

So the message is, I think, been disseminated. People are horrified by this genocide across the world. The only place you don't see this horror is in Western governments and in many of the Arab governments. I mean, this has to constantly be reiterated. There's Sisi in Egypt, and King Abdullah in Jordan, and in the UAE Zayed bin Salman, King Mohammed in Morocco. I mean, these leaders function as... as Zionists, essentially.

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