Organization Trends

Chicago Campus Protestors Announce Terror Campaign Against the U.S.

Anti-Israel protestors who took over the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics last week called for launching a nationwide insurgency and domestic terrorism campaign, regrettably fulfilling a prediction I made earlier this month on The Glenn Beck Program.

A forthcoming CRC study of the protesting groups also forecasts that the most militant elements would push the movement toward a broader campaign of violent and destructive activism that would meet the definition of domestic terrorism.

The protestors seized Chicago University’s Institute of Politics on Friday, May 17. The institute’s director, former Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-SD), refused to surrender to their demands that she leave. She said she didn’t feel she was in any physical danger and recalled trying to reason with them while hearing them destroying furniture. The protestors disobeyed the police’s orders to leave but fled through the windows when the police forcibly entered.

The “Liberated Casbah of Basel Al-Araj”

Shortly after the building was taken over, a declaration and a statement of principles appeared on social media and was proliferated by pro-terrorism and anarchist supporters of the protestors. The demonstrators announced they had renamed the Institute of Politics as “the Liberated Casbah of Basel Al-Araj” in honor of a Palestinian terrorist.

Basel al-Araj was arrested with five co-conspirators by the Palestinian Authority in 2016 for illegally acquiring weapons and planning terrorist attacks on Israel. He was killed in 2017 when he violently resisted an Israeli counterterrorism operation to arrest him for leading a terror cell that was planning attacks. Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) subsequently honored him.

Al-Araj praised what he called the “guerilla warfare” of the “Palestinian resistance” fighting Israel in 2014. He boasted that Arabs and Muslims have “become masters” of guerilla warfare by fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Gaza. The fighters he was complimenting (but not naming) were the Taliban and its allied terrorist groups attacking the Afghan government and U.S.-led coalition, terrorist/insurgent groups attacking the Iraqi government and the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Hamas in Gaza.

A Declaration of War

The extremist protestors’ published statement is titled “Bring the Intifada Home.” The intifadas are Palestinian terror campaigns that have targeted Israeli civilians, as well as many Palestinians. It is a clear call for a violent uprising.

The statement explicitly says they are now launching a broader militant campaign aimed at destroying what it sees as the infrastructure of oppression and U.S. involvement with Israel. Named targets include the police and defense contractors and complicit universities, lawyers, and politicians. It justifies the seizure of the institute by pointing to its founder, David Axelrod, who was President Barack Obama’s top political strategist.

The remarks leave no room to deny their violent intentions:

Those who make war do not deserve peace. The Palestinian resistance continues to escalate against the zionist state and its institutions, and so are we. We take this building because we refuse to allow normal life to continue while violence is done to our communities here and everywhere.

Their statement of principles is even clearer about their intentions. Here are some highlights:

  • “We must escalate our actions against all governments, institutions and corporations who participate in, profit off of, and enable genocide. There must be consequences to their property income, reputation, privacy, and safety.
  • “We embrace many methods of attacking our enemies. Whatever is effective, destructive, fun, creative, creates leverage, disrupts power, or changes minds is welcome. We refuse to police and surveil each other and remember the enemies are the state, the pigs, and the war profiteers.”
  • “We support engagement in individual and collective self-defense. Under conditions of domestic warfare, settler-colonialism, and fascist violence, engaging in self defense is necessary for maintaining our survival. We cannot allow the state or its functionaries to have a monopoly on violence.”

The statement also refers to the U.S. as “Turtle Island,” a term used by the revolutionary far Left to assert that the U.S. is an occupier of Native American land and therefore has no right to exist. In other words, they seek to wipe the U.S. off the map just as they and their Hamas colleagues seek to wipe Israel off the map.


The leading suspects in the building takeover should be the groups involved in setting up the original encampment at the University of Chicago that was dismantled. The two groups that took the most credit for the encampment were UChicago United for Palestine and UChicago Jews for a Free Palestine. They denied involvement taking over the building and claimed the perpetrators were part of an “autonomous” group.

However, as WBEZ Chicago pointed out, UChicago United for Palestine publicly supported the takeover and declared the Institute of Politics to have been renamed as the “Liberated Casbah of Basel Al-Araj.” It seems almost certain that the group is merely trying to avoid being linked to the attack and the perpetrators’ declaration of a nationwide campaign of violence and destruction.

UChicago United for Palestine also endorsed Shut It Down for Palestine in November, which expresses its adoration for the terrorist groups attacking Israel:

Failing on the battlefield, Zionist forces are compensating by punishing the Palestinian people. And yet, resistance remains strong. 150 days of genocide, and a people’s resistance endures in the rubble of their cities, still fighting to defend their territory, with no sign of abating. In the Lebanese hills north of the occupied lands too, resistance forces are striking Israeli war infrastructure and its soldiers’ staging posts. The Yemeni resistance continues its counter blockade. From Iraq, daily drone attacks continue on Zionist installations. Meanwhile a quietly rising giant is also making its voice heard. Operations in the cities of the West Bank are increasingly becoming more sophisticated, despite execution campaigns and mass arrests. The youth of Palestine and the region have chosen to shake the yoke of imperialism. We must, as people of conscience, recognize that the process of liberation will be led by the Palestinian people themselves. [Original emphasis]

Another likely participant is the Chicago Coalition for Justice in Palestine, which openly supported Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza in 2021, calling them “resistance groups.” In testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee in 2016, terrorism-financing expert Jonathan Schanzer explained that Ghassan Barakat, the group’s president, is a Palestine Liberation Organization official and the group’s coordinator, Senan Shaqdeh, was a fighter for the PFLP terrorist group and is a co-founder of Students for Justice in Palestine. Students for Justice in Palestine not only supported the Hamas-led attacks on October 7, 2023, but declared itself to literally be a part of Hamas, not just a supporter.

Developing Trend of Violence

The declaration of war by the unnamed protestors is indicative of how major parts of the anti-Israel protest movement are morphing into a broader seditious insurgency that is intent on committing acts of domestic terrorism.

Another example is DePaul University, where a protest encampment was dismantled earlier this month. The school wisely justified its actions by posting a collection of screenshots, videos, and images showing how the protestors had armed themselves with knives, cement bricks, a bowling ball, a pellet gun, and boards with long nails and screws. Other posted items showed protestors engaging in battery, gesturing death threats, expressing support for the October 7 attacks, voicing anti-Semitism including blatantly threatening the safety of Jews, exalting the spokesman for Hamas, and calling for the murder of billionaires.

Altogether, DuPaul University documented over 1,000 formal complaints that included 77 reports of individuals feeling their safety was threatened, 34 reports of anti-Semitism, 25 academic disruptions, 16 instances of intimidation, 13 allegations of harassment, 12 instances of criminal destruction of property, 4 allegations of battery, 4 credible threats of violence, and 1 death threat.

These incidents are part of a trend. As I said on the Glenn Beck Program earlier this month:

They [the militants within the anti-Israel protest movement] are passing around descriptions and guides on how to do every conceivable violence and act of sabotage that you can think of. Their debate and their argument is that…we’re doing so well right now that we should broaden out our campaign and not make it about influencing opinion and policy, but imposing our will. Let’s dismantle the nationwide infrastructure that enables the U.S. and Israeli military alliance and capitalism.… It’s no longer a debate. We just make you follow our orders…

…They [the militants] are all envisioning a large number of small attacks over a short period of time, and they see that as their most likely way forward, as opposed to a resource-intensive operation like a 9/11 that has a higher chance of failure.

The U.S. is entering a new heightened threat environment, and militants’ capabilities are likely to quickly grow.





Ryan Mauro

Ryan Mauro is an investigative researcher for Capital Research Center. He is also an adjunct professor at Regent University and the former Director of Intelligence…
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