On Tuesday night a group of students at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., located five blocks from the White House, projected messages praising the recent genocidal massacre of 1,400 Jews in Israel by Palestinians from Hamas-controlled Gaza onto the school’s Gelman Building, A Jewish student posted online that he was harassed and called a “dirty, disgusting, uneducated Jew” by the demonstrators. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) called out GWU over the “genocidal messages.”
Messages projected included, “Glory to Our Martyrs”, “Free Palestine From the River to the Sea”, “Divestment From Zionist Genocide Now”, “GW The Blood of Palestinians Is on Your Hand”, ” Your Tuition Is Funding Genocide in Gaza”, “5000 Palestinians Were Murdered by “Israel” in the Last Two Weeks”, and “President Granberg Is Complicit in Genocide in Gaza”.
GWU campus police were seen on video telling the demonstrators they would be getting a ticket for projecting onto the building and threatened to shut down the projector if the students did not do so themselves.
The Estelle and Melvin Gelman Library was endowed by the Gelman family. Melvin Gelman was a prominent builder and real estate developer in the D.C. area who died in 1978 at age 60. He was a graduate of George Washington University, Class of 1940. Estelle Gelman who died in 2009 at age 83, was a former trustee of GWU. The Gelmans were Jewish.
Photos and video from the demonstration:
Articles 2 and 3 of the Hamas Charter are now projected on George Washington University in Washington DC. #Hamas’s Khalid Meshaal and Saleh Al-Arouri would be proud of you, academics. pic.twitter.com/9FuKEGRddD
— Hussain Abdul-Hussain (@hahussain) October 25, 2023
Students at @GWtweets are currently projecting these messages on the side of Gelman Library. The student who sent me these images says the university has not asked those projecting the messages to stop using its building to glorify terrorists. pic.twitter.com/FYQB2l7Kcc
— Zach Kessel (@zach_kessel) October 25, 2023
— Gabriel A. ?? (@hatichman) October 25, 2023
Video of campus police confronting the students:
The four students responsible for the pro terrorist light show are now being confronted by police.
They refuse to move and continue to argue with police.
— StopAntisemitism (@StopAntisemites) October 25, 2023
A Jewish student who posted photos from the scene said he was harassed by the demonstrators and called a “dirty, disgusting, uneducated Jew”, “Disgusting messages ON the George Washington University Library. I was called a dirty, disgusting, uneducated j*w and a police officer got it on body cam and then refused to talk. i feel unsafe. #Israel_under_attack #JewishLivesMatter #Antisemitism #IsraelAtWar”
Disgusting messages ON the George Washington University Library. I was called a dirty, disgusting, uneducated j*w and a police officer got it on body cam and then refused to talk. i feel unsafe. #Israel_under_attack #JewishLivesMatter #Antisemitism #IsraelAtWar pic.twitter.com/sppwfrs9bA
— . (@gingerjew04) October 25, 2023
“Gw police got an anti semite verbally abusing me on body cam and didn’t do anything”
Gw police got an anti semite verbally abusing me on body cam and didn’t do anything
— . (@gingerjew04) October 25, 2023
— . (@gingerjew04) October 25, 2023
Sen. Mike Lee, “These are genocidal messages displayed on a building at George Washington University. If the students responsible for these messages aren’t severely punished by GWU, something is terribly wrong. Genocide isn’t hip, cute, or in any way acceptable. GWU—do the right thing NOW!”
These are genocidal messages displayed on a building at George Washington University. If the students responsible for these messages aren’t severely punished by GWU, something is terribly wrong.
Genocide isn’t hip, cute, or in any way acceptable. GWU—do the right thing NOW! pic.twitter.com/PwTCEYKDmL
— Mike Lee (@BasedMikeLee) October 25, 2023
Three days after the October 7 massacre of Jews by Hamas, the GW Students for Justice in Palestine issued a statement in support of the attack:
George Washington University Students for Justice in Palestine weigh in on the devastation in Israel: “WE WILL BE CAGED NO LONGER.”
These are DC college students. pic.twitter.com/uwVINQgaQ6
— Mary Margaret Olohan (@MaryMargOlohan) October 10, 2023
Video of pro-Hamas demonstration by GWU students on October 10:
JUST IN: Students at George Washington University in DC are chanting “from the river to the sea” and long live the Palestine
This is an explicit call for genocide against Israel and the Jewish people. pic.twitter.com/2UV7JS3N1c
— Salim Hassan??? (@salim_hassan02) October 11, 2023
THIS IS AMERICA??? Students at George Washington University holding a candlelight ceremony for the ‘martyrs of Palestine’. American college students celebrating homicidal baby killers. This is the WORST generation we’ve ever produced, total disgrace. #JesusIsComingSoon pic.twitter.com/MV3YuXDaQm
— Now The End Begins (@NowTheEndBegins) October 11, 2023
GWU President Ellen Granberg released a statement on October 11 (excerpt):
On Monday, October 9, I wrote to members of the GW community to convey my shock and sadness surrounding the Hamas attacks on Israel and Israeli citizens and to offer the full support of our university to all those impacted. The extent of this brutal violence and the staggering loss of innocent lives has continued to come to light, and I am horrified and grief-stricken. In no uncertain terms, I condemn these acts of terrorism.
My message to our community stressed the importance of coming together and caring for one another, especially those who are Israeli, Jewish, Palestinian, Muslim, Arab, or connected to the region and this war. I also reiterated our university’s expectations for acting and comporting ourselves when discussing or debating difficult topics. These messages of compassion and understanding remain the foremost priority for this university.
The right to free speech, assembly, and debate is the foundation on which our nation and our university are built, and members of the GW community, including our student organizations, have the right to be vocal and engaged within the boundaries of the law and our university policies. However, we are also a shared community, and I not only condemn terrorism, but I also abhor the celebration of terrorism and attempts to perpetuate rhetoric or imagery that glorifies acts of violence. Such messages do not speak on behalf of me, our administrators, or GW.
The George Washington University is a community of current and future world leaders with deep expertise and lived experiences rooted in this crisis. We know there is a long and complex history associated with this conflict. Still, this does not justify the evil we have collectively witnessed.
Granberg wrote on October 9 (excerpt):
“Absolutely everyone deserves to feel welcome and safe on our campuses. Violence, discrimination or harassment against any member of the Jewish, Israeli, Palestinian, Arab or Muslim communities will not be tolerated at GW.”
Excerpt from the Wikipedia entry on the Gelman Library:
“The seven-story library building contains over two million volumes. It is constructed in the Brutalist architectural style of the 1970s. It features a concrete façade punctuated by windows that are divided by projecting vertical slabs. For most of the year, parts of the library are open 24 hours per day, seven days per week for use by students, faculty and staff. The seventh floor is home to the National Security Archive, a research institution that publishes declassified U.S. government files concerning selected topics of American foreign policy. It was a National Security Archive Freedom of Information Act request that eventually made the Central Intelligence Agency’s so-called “Family Jewels” public.
The seventh floor is also home to the Special Collections Research Center, Kiev Library, and Global Resources Center. Special Collections offers researchers a wide array of primary and secondary resources, as well as a large Washingtonia collection. Specializing in Hebrew and Judaica, the Kiev Library houses the leading collection of modern Judaica, rare books, maps, and archival materials related to Judaic studies among universities in the Washington, D.C. area. The Global Resource Center has numerous sources focusing on the twentieth century to present day that analyze political, socio-economic, historical, and cultural aspects of countries and regions from around the world.
The Gelman’s base floor contains a Starbucks. The library is at the corner of 22nd and H Streets and is adjacent to Kogan Plaza.
With the death of Estelle Gelman on October 23, 2009, the library honored a promise made to the Gelman family to rename the Melvin Gelman Library with its new name, the Estelle and Melvin Gelman Library. On September 28, 2010, a small family gathering with remarks by President Steven Knapp celebrated Estelle Gelman’s life and formally rededicated the building.
Source material can be found at this site.