Using antisemitic trope, Khamenei welcomes US student protesters to ‘Resistance Front’

Iran's supreme leader says campus demonstrators are part of Iranian alliance that includes terror groups; accuses US of 'police brutality' and asserts Jews control global media

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks in meeting a group of families of the Revolutionary Guard members in Tehran, Iran, May 19, 2024. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

Iran’s supreme leader has offered praise to students who roiled US university campuses with anti-Israel protests, and appended the antisemitic claim that Jews manipulate global media.

In an open letter to US university students, Ali Khamenei said the students have “now formed a branch of the Resistance Front,” referring to a loose alliance of Iran-backed terror groups and militias around the Middle East seeking to destroy Israel and kill American troops, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Yemen’s Houthis, Iraq’s Islamic Resistance, and the Hamas terror group that rules Gaza.

The letter was dated May 25, though segments were shared Wednesday on Khamenei’s official account on social platform X.

Campus demonstrations spread across US colleges in recent months with protest encampments set up to show support for the Palestinians and condemn Israel amid the ongoing war against the Palestinian terror group Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Some Jewish students said the protests made them feel unsafe and pro-Israel supporters said the rhetoric at times veered into antisemitism.

At many locations, law enforcers were called in to clear camps that refused college administrators’ orders to disperse, leading to some violent clashes and over 2,000 arrests across the US.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators continue their encampment at Library Mall on the campus of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin, May 1, 2024. (Samantha Madar/Wisconsin State Journal via AP)

“The greater Resistance Front which shares the same understandings and feelings that you have today, has been engaged in the same struggle for many years in a place far from you,” Khamenei said. “The goal of this struggle is to put an end to the blatant oppression that the brutal Zionist terrorist network has inflicted on the Palestinian nation for many years.”

Khamenei also noted that “The global Zionist elite… owns most US and European media corporations or influences them through funding and bribery,” hitching a ride on the age-old antisemitic trope that Jews control the media.

“The support and solidarity of your professors is a significant and consequential development. This can offer some measure of comfort in the face of your government’s police brutality and the pressures it is exerting on you,” he wrote.

File – New York City Police Department officers arrest anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian protesters outside a student-led encampment at New York University on April 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Noreen Nasir)

Advising students to “become familiar with the Quran,” Khamenei said, “The Quran’s lesson for human relations is: “Do not oppress and do not be oppressed.”

War erupted on October 7 when Hamas led a cross-border attack in which some 1,200 were killed in Israel, and 252 taken as hostages. Israel responded with a military offensive to destroy Hamas and free the hostages.

Iran was rocked by widespread demonstrations sparked by the September 2022 death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd who had been arrested for allegedly violating the strict dress rule for women based on Islamic sharia law.

Anger over her death rapidly expanded into weeks of taboo-breaking protests in an open challenge to the Islamic Republic’s system of government under Khamenei.

In April, a UN fact-finding mission concluded Tehran’s violent crackdown on peaceful protests and discrimination against women and girls triggered serious rights violations, many amounting to crimes against humanity.

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