Rutgers students who stood up to anti-Israel protests with USA chant speak out: ‘Fed up with anti-Americanism’

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Rutgers students who went viral for waving American flags at a student rally responded to the school administration caving to demands from student protesters.

Anti-Israel protesters on campus at Rutgers University were countered by a large group of patriotic students waving an American flag and chanting “USA!” on Thursday.

Video from Thursday afternoon showed two competing groups of students chanting pro-American and pro-Palestinian slogans on Voorhees Mall in New Jersey.


Rutgers University students and Stephen Wallace split image

Rutgers students who went viral for waving American flags at a student rally responded to the school administration caving to demands from pro-Palestinian protesters in interviews with Fox News Digital Friday. (Courtesy of Stephen Wallace)

As the anti-Israel group yelled “Free, Free Palestine!” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” the patriotic group could be heard repeatedly chanting “USA! USA! USA!”

Two students who were present at the rally and were seen on video waving American flags spoke to Fox News Digital about their experiences. 

Stephen Wallace, a junior at Rutgers, said that students are tired of anti-American rhetoric on college campuses. 

“We’re tired of it,” he said in a video interview with Fox News Digital. “We’re fed up with the anti-Americanism. We just want to be patriotic again and that’s what I hope for the rest of this country.” 

Wallace said that he was glad that the protests at Rutgers have been peaceful and that he hopes that all demonstrations across the country can also be civil. But he explained that the school administration needs to take charge of the school and not capitulate to the demands of a vocal minority of students. 

“It’s good that the school is listening to its students. However, I will say that you cannot just let a bunch of students run the whole show,” Wallace said. “If the general population of students here at Rutgers either don’t care, don’t have an opinion or are pro-American, why are we capitulating to people who don’t really care about this country?”

Vice President of Rutgers College Republicans, Michael Joseph, told Fox News Digital in a phone interview that the debate over the Israel-Hamas war has divided students on campus. 

Joseph, who visited the rally to cover the demonstrations, said that he found the protest to be “peaceful.” He also responded to reports that Rutgers agreed with a majority of demands from anti-Israel protesters.

“They didn’t get the divestment demands met,” Joseph said, explaining that student protesters were granted other demands, including scholarships for Gazans to become students at Rutgers. 

The anti-Israel protesters agreed to end their demonstration by 4 p.m. on Thursday after coming to an agreement with university administrators, according to a statement from Rutgers. A variation of eight of the protesters’ ten demands were met by Rutgers administrators, according to the statement. The university did not immediately agree to divest from firms tied to Israel and said it would not be terminating its partnership with Tel Aviv University.

“That’s the reason why it probably ended peacefully,” he said. 

But in total, Joseph said that he did not believe that the students won a significant victory against the administration. “I’m not too bothered one way or another with their demands because they say it was a great victory with 8 out of 10 demands [met].”

“It wasn’t,” he said.  

“The whole point of the tent state was to be in solidarity with the other protesters across the country,” Joseph explained. “On the Rutgers level, it was to force the administration to accept the divestment from what they consider ‘Zionist’ companies and also divestment from Tel Aviv University. They didn’t get that. Every other demand was mostly just fluff.” 

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Large anti Israel protest at Rutgers University

Rutgers students occupied tents and held rallies outside Murray Hall as part of their protest in support of Palestinians affected by the war in Gaza. (Alexander Lewis / MyCentralJersey / USA TODAY NETWORK)

“I don’t consider this a victory for them,” he said. 

Writer Steve McGuire reported that the Rutgers administration conceded to “8/10 of the protestors demands after they forced the university to postpone 28 final exams” on Thursday. 

Billionaire investor Bill Ackman responded to the news on X. 

“This is crazy,” Ackman wrote. “If you reward protesters who violate the rules or worse, you will get more protests and more extreme rule violations. This will not end well for Rutgers.”

Rutgers did not respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital

Fox News’ Elizabeth Pritchett contributed to this report.


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