Anti-Israel Agitators Demonstrate at UT Ahead of Graduation

Anti-Israel protesters gathered at the University of Texas at Austin
Anti-Israel protesters gathered at the University of Texas at Austin | Image by Sydney Asher/The Dallas Express

AUSTIN — Hundreds of anti-Israel protesters gathered at the University of Texas at Austin on Sunday to demand that the university divest from businesses associated with Israel.

The demonstration followed two weeks of protests that have resulted in the arrest of more than 130 anti-Israel protesters on UT Austin’s campus.

The rally was organized as a group effort between UT Austin faculty and staff, student-led organizations like the Palestine Solidarity Committee, and other left-wing groups like Young Active Labor Leaders. The protest was part of a planned May Day protest.

The protest was originally scheduled for May 1, however, CapMetro bus stops were scheduled to be closed near the planned protest area, and faculty were encouraged to work remotely ahead of the demonstration. The protest was rescheduled for Sunday.

Anti-Israel demonstrators remained peaceful as the crowd listened to speakers and chanted, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”


In April, the U.S. House passed a resolution condemning the chant as antisemitic, claiming it calls for “the total eradication of the Jewish, democratic state of Israel and the annihilation of the Jewish people.”

UT police, officers with the Austin Police Department, and state troopers remained close by, but zero arrests were made.

The protesters’ chants of “Hartzell, Hartzell, you’re a clown. We demand that you step down” reiterated their demand that UT Austin president Jay Hartzell resign from his position. Over 250 faculty members signed on to a letter of no confidence in Hartzell’s ability to manage the school after the April 24 protest that resulted in the arrest of nearly 60 people. The school has over 3,250 teaching faculty.

The university’s Palestinian Solidarity Committee also came forward with a list of “campus demands,” including the resignation of Hartzell, the school’s divestment from companies that have ties to Israel, complete amnesty for student protesters, and the dropping of all charges against student protesters.


Some, including Texas Land Commissioner Dawn Buckingham, have spoken out in support of Hartzell. Buckingham penned a letter supporting Hartzell’s decision to take swift action and call law enforcement to monitor the protests.

“As a Longhorn, I’m proud of President [Hartzell]’s commitment to ensuring [UTAustin]’s campus remains a place where antisemitism is not tolerated,” she posted on X. “Join me in signing this letter of support for President Hartzell’s swift action, ensuring the campus is safe for Jewish students.”


Gov. Greg Abbott responded to a post on X on Sunday showing UT Austin demonstrators chanting their campus demands. He wrote, “This will NEVER happen. The only thing that will happen is that the University and the State will use all law-enforcement tools to quickly terminate illegal protests taking place on campus that clearly violate the laws of the state of Texas and policies of the university.”

A counter-protest took place a few miles down the road from the university, with pro-Israel demonstrators gathering at the Texas Capitol building, chanting, “Never again means now.”

UT Austin’s commencement is scheduled for Saturday, May 11. Students are anxious that the ongoing protests may impact their graduation, as they have at other schools. The University of Southern California was recently forced to cancel its commencement ceremony following anti-Israel riots on campus.

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