Pro-Palestine Harvard Students Mocked Over 12-Hour Hunger Strike

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Twelve whole hours.

That’s how long more than 30 pro-Palestinian Harvard students participated in a hunger strike on Friday last week to show their solidarity with 17 Brown University students who participated in an eight-day hunger strike to pressure Brown Corporation to divest from Israel on Friday, February 9, according to The Harvard Crimson.

The Brown students went on a hunger strike until the Brown Corporation considered an Israel divestment resolution. Those Brown students ended their strike at 5 p.m. Thursday, February 8, the report said. 

“To send solidarity to @browndivestcoalition for their incredible hunger strike, 30+ Harvard students committed to a day-long hunger strike to prove to university corporations that we will not back down,” the Harvard Undergraduate Palestine Solidarity Coalition posted on Instagram.

The move from the students sparked mockery across the Internet.

For example, Kirsten Fleming wrote in an opinion piece for The New York Post saying that the hunger strike was “a joke,” and that 12 hours of not eating does not constitute a serious hunger strike. 

“Apologies to Gandhi, suffragists and the Irish Republicans (some of whom actually starved themselves to death for their cause),” Fleming wrote. “These folks in Cambridge merely skipped a meal at the dining hall and boasted about it on Instagram.”

“Twelve hours. What happened to the old college try?” she added. 

Writing for National Review, Madeleine Kearns said that for a hunger strike to have any effect, it has to be longer than 12 hours.

“Hmm,” she wrote. “If a hunger strike is ‘a day-long’ commitment, then presumably you’re ‘backing down’ at the end of the day? Traditionally, for a hunger strike to be effective, it has to pose at least the threat of death or serious injury to the protester who, through striking, is making clear that he or she is willing to die for the cause.”

“Being willing to skip lunch is rather underwhelming,” she added.

The Daily Caller published a straight news story on the topic, but used its headline to poke fun at the students. The headline read, “Harvard Students Skip A Meal In 12-Hour ‘Hunger Strike.’ ”

Additionally, The Washington Free Beacon mocked the short length of the hunger strike.

“Perhaps the most amusing aspect of the failed hunger strike was the ‘solidarity‘ protest that took place at Harvard last Friday, when several dozen pro-Hamas students skipped lunch refused to eat for 12 hours,” Andrew Stiles wrote, initially referring to the Brown hunger strike. “By expressing solidarity with the hunger strikers at Brown, students at Harvard, Yale, and the University of Chicago were attempting to ‘prove to university corporations that we will not back down.’ (Fact check:  They did back down.)”

“We can’t stop laughing,” he added.

And the headline from a column from Michael Deacon in The Telegraph read “Is this the most pathetic student protest ever?”

“To be clear:  it’s not that the students gave up after 12 hours,” Deacon wrote. “From the outset, 12 hours was their target. That was the entire thing. Which means that, despite stiff competition, it has a strong claim to being the most pathetic student protest of all time.”

“To many Americans, admittedly, 12 hours might sound like a dauntingly long time to go without eating,” he added. “But, for pity’s sake, it hardly qualifies as a hunger strike. It’s barely even intermittent fasting. It’s forgoing, at most, two meals. Your average minor celebrity does that every day, and not because they’re taking a stand against Benjamin Netanyahu. I can only hope that, after an entire afternoon’s starvation, these brave Left-wing students could still summon the strength to do some chanting. ‘Palestine will be free / Because we haven’t had our tea.’ “

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