Jewish Student Needs Police Escort To Enter MIT Anti-Israel Encampment

Shabbos Kestenbaum told the anti-Israel students that they should be ashamed of themselves
Shabbos Kestenbaum entering MIT’s anti-Israel encampment on May 3, 2024. (Photo: Kassy Akiva/The Daily Wire)

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — A Jewish university student needed a police escort to enter the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s anti-Israel encampment on Friday.

Shabbos Kestenbaum, a student at Harvard Divinity School, spoke at a pro-Israel rally across the street from the encampment hosted by the Israeli American Council before deciding to cross the street and enter the encampment.

Kestenbaum walked up to the encampment and was denied entry by a keffiyeh-wearing man blocking the perimeter of the protest. Police eventually agreed to escort him into the encampment, according to video taken by The Daily Wire. 

“I want to let all of you know that you’re not going to intimidate Jewish people,” he told the campers. “You can hide behind your masks as long as you want, we will not be scared.”

“All of you should be ashamed of yourselves,” he added. “This is the state of being Jewish in America, I need police to exercise my First Amendment right.”

Kestenbaum is a student at Harvard University, but spoke at the MIT counter-demonstration in support of Jewish students there.

“After delivering a speech imploring Jewish students not to be afraid of their antisemitic classmates, I crossed the road to exercise my First Amendment rights and enter the pro-Hamas encampments,” Kestenbaum told The Daily Wire. 

“Protestors formed a human chain to keep me out, and initially refused to allow me in even after police asked them to,” he added. “Eventually, I required a personal police escort to walk through the encampment, all the while being followed by pro-Hamas terrorist students.”

Kestenbaum, along with other Harvard University students filed a lawsuit against the Ivy League in January, accusing it of selectively enforcing its policies to avoid protecting Jewish students from harassment and enabling anti-Semitism.

“Whether it’s Harvard, MIT, Columbia, or anywhere else, antisemitic thugs have taken over college campuses,” Kestenbaum said. “They have no respect for the First Amendment or religious freedom and should be immediately thrown out of any university they currently illegally occupy.”

MIT erected fences around the encampment ahead of the pro-Israel rally across the street and had a heavy police presence on Friday afternoon near the encampment. Outside of the encampment, Jewish demonstrators sang songs, and waved American and Israeli flags.

Many pro-Israel and pro-America flags were hung on the new fences around the encampment, as well as signs mocking the encampment. One such sign read, “In this camp they believe: Propaganda is truth, resistance is justified, rape is resistance, harassment is free speech, Israelis are not human, martydom is glorious.”

Inside the encampment, students had many of their own signs, including labels on tents with locations in Israel including Tzfat, Jaffa, and Haifa. 

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Jewish Student Needs Police Escort To Enter MIT Anti-Israel Encampment