The anti-Israel protests that have captured college campuses nationwide have come to Texas, with hundreds of students marching and gathering at the University of Texas at Austin in support of Palestine.

The protests, organized by the Palestine Solidarity Committee, saw students reciting anti-Israel chants such as “Free Palestine” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”—a call for the end of Israel as a nation.

Such demonstrations have heated up in recent months following the October 7 surprise attack by Hamas against Israeli civilians, killing more than 1,200 people.

Officers from the Department of Public Safety were sent to contain the protests, resulting in several arrests.

On Wednesday afternoon, Gov. Greg Abbott vowed that the arrests would continue until the crowd dispersed.

“These protesters belong in jail. Antisemitism will not be tolerated in Texas. Period. Students joining in hate-filled, antisemitic protests at any public college or university in Texas should be expelled,” said Abbott.

State Sen. Brandon Creighton (R–Conroe), who chairs the Senate Education Committee, noted in light of the protests nationwide that the First Amendment does not protect violence or harassment.

“Let’s be real: if campuses witnessed protests with anti-LGBTQ+, anti-Asian, or anti-Hispanic slogans, the backlash would be fierce and immediate. Yet, when protests challenge Israel’s existence, they’re often waved off as acceptable political speech. It’s an unacceptable double standard, one that’s been fueled significantly by DEI programs,” he wrote in a post on X.

Creighton was the author of the state’s ban on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programs and departments on college campuses that went into effect earlier this year.

“And let’s not forget what Israel is fighting against —Hamas, a known terrorist organization, carried out the Oct. 7th attack—the worst attack on Jewish people since the Holocaust. This isn’t about politics; it’s about recognizing and condemning terrorism and violence,” Creighton added.

A spokesperson for the UT Division of Student Affairs said, “UT Austin does not tolerate disruptions of campus activities or operations like we have seen at other campuses. This is an important time in our semester with students finishing classes and studying for finals and we will act first and foremost to allow those critical functions to proceed without interruption.”

The protest on the UT Austin campus comes on the heels of a group of Democrat lawmakers in the Texas House encouraging President Joe Biden to end “unconditional support” to Israel.

Brandon Waltens

Brandon serves as the Senior Editor for Texas Scorecard. After managing successful campaigns for top conservative legislators and serving as a Chief of Staff in the Texas Capitol, Brandon moved outside the dome in order to shine a spotlight on conservative victories and establishment corruption in Austin. @bwaltens