Lance Lokas, a GWU student, displayed statements extolling Hamas, which are connected to almost 1,400 fatalities.
In addition to this event, Lokas has been charged with causing property damage.
He has been vocal in his opposition to Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.
In a startling event that occurred recently at George Washington University, some students projected slogans celebrating Hamas terrorists who are accountable for over 1,400 killings onto a school library building. Lance Lokas, the president of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and a student at George Washington University, is one of the individuals participating in this unsettling act.
George Washington University – students are projecting horrifying messages onto a school library building glorifying Hamas terrorists that beheaded babies, raped teenage girls, and murdered 1400+ people.
— StopAntisemitism (@StopAntisemites) October 25, 2023
The event with the light projection is a sobering reminder of the divisive environment surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian issue on college campuses.
Who is Lance Lokas?
According to the Twitter account @StopAntisemites, Lance Lokas, the president of SJP, has been the subject of controversy even outside of the most recent light projection incident. He was forced to appear at two sessions on December 2, 2022, as a result of accusations made against him and SJP for causing damage to a concrete bench outside of Hillel, the school Jewish student group. These instances highlight a trend of activity that crosses the line into nonviolent protest.
Lokas’s advocacy has extended beyond singular incidents. He has defended Israel’s treatment of Palestinians outspokenly, associating himself with a narrative that might exacerbate tensions on campus. The instances involving Lokas prompt inquiries on the strategies SJP uses to further its goals and the effects these activities have on the larger campus community.
The current incident has its background in the heightened tensions that followed an approximately 1,500-strong surprise assault on Israel by terrorists from Hamas and Islamic Jihad. An estimated 1,400 persons were killed in this incident, and captives were taken to Gaza. Israel retaliated by launching an extensive campaign of airstrikes and a land invasion with the goal of destroying Hamas. There have been thousands of Palestinian fatalities from the battle, as well as huge protests, pleas for a truce, and unfortunately, incidents of antisemitic threats.
It is imperative to distinguish clearly between supporting Palestinian rights and condoning Hamas’s activities. Although supporting the Palestinian cause is a legitimate kind of activity, openly endorsing a group that has been labeled as a terrorist organization presents grave moral dilemmas. The way the university responds to these instances will be crucial to resolving these issues and preserving an inclusive, respectful, and open-minded campus community.