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PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania – If 30 anti-Israel protesters at Columbia University are bold enough to occupy Hamilton Hall this fall, they can explain to the judge that they have no criminal past.

The same message was conveyed to Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Kevin McGrath last Thursday, June 20, before he dropped trespassing charges against the worst enemies of the Palestinian people when they occupied Hamilton Hall in late April. Those arrested claim to be standing up for the Palestinians, but they diminish sympathy because their behavior over the past nine months has exposed their slimy and often illegal tactics.

“No police officer was injured, so it would be extremely difficult for (prosecutors) to prove any charge other than trespassing in court,” said Assistant District Attorney Stephen Millan.

According to The New York Daily News, their lack of criminal records was also a factor in prosecutors’ decision to request that the charges be dismissed. Additionally, the 30 alleged criminals – er, those former alleged criminals – facilitated other crimes by their illegal presence, even if they themselves did not damage property or injure anyone.

So if they occupy a building again and are suspected of causing chaos, they can fall back on their innocent and wholesome past. If the judge acquits them on that basis, they can simply use that defense to avoid punishment for future crimes.

“This is turnstile justice,” said Michael Nussbaum, a 25-year member of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. “This is a green light for chaos, a green light for the destruction of property.”

“Terrible result,” wrote conservative academic Steven McGuire, who also supports Donald Trump, as Newsweek reports. He argues that “the student intifada” is “full of radical revolutionaries who want to destroy Israel.”

With the exception of McGuire, a number of Trump supporters posted the usual psychotic messages blaming President Biden for the chaos on campus and everything else that is going wrong in the world.

Deterrence is critical to ending the criminal behavior of Palestinian representatives. If they commit a crime and are not held accountable, as is the case here, they may continue to break the law because they expect to get away with it. They have been misbehaving on college campuses, near Jewish institutions and elsewhere for years, though not as extensively as since the October 7 Hamas attack that killed 1,200 people in southern Israel. They have rarely been brought to justice by the police and have maintained their criminal behavior.

Their campaign has gained even more momentum in the past week. On Sunday, violent clashes broke out between Israeli and Palestinian representatives outside an Orthodox synagogue in Los Angeles. I stayed in a hotel in this area a few years ago. According to reports, 50 synagogues in Florida have received threatening letters in the last few days.

So it’s puzzling why the prosecution is running this caseload in this way. Prime suspects: District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg Jr. in particular and the leadership of the Democratic Party in general. The Democrats are under pressure from progressives who are threatening to effectively suspend the November 5 presidential election because they accuse Biden of supporting Israel’s killing of Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

Dropping relatively minor charges won’t hurt in convincing protesters to vote for Biden, and it could help Bragg prepare for future campaigns, such as for the Senate or governorship. Bragg made history on May 30 when his prosecution of Trump in a hush-money case led to the former president’s conviction. But a tough stance against the former defendants could alienate him from progressive voters.

Conversely, Trump’s supporters have posted messages accusing Bragg of using the courts as a weapon against Republicans and excusing Democrats. It’s a stretch to say that. Trump is lucky he hasn’t been convicted or charged with far more serious crimes. But these anti-Israel protests are just as real and need to be taken more seriously by law enforcement.

Millan claimed that the prosecution had too much difficulty investigating more serious offenses than the Hamilton Hall trespass.

However, a criminal prosecution for trespassing sounds like a no-brainer. While it’s not as exciting as assault or vandalism, trespassing is a crime. You can make any argument you like, but a criminal record would probably deter most of them from doing something like that again. Of course, without a criminal record, they could try to avoid one if their protests go too far when universities fully reopen in the fall.

The firings came amid the occupation of Hamilton Hall, in which police arrested 46 protesters who had barricaded themselves in Hamilton on April 30 and cleared a weeks-long tent encampment on a lawn near Columbia, Reuters reports. All 46 were initially charged with third-degree trespassing, a misdemeanor.

Millan told the court that his office would not prosecute 30 defendants, who were students and two employees of Columbia University at the time of their arrests. Charges against another student were dropped in early June.

The assistant district attorney said protesters wore masks and covered surveillance cameras and there was insufficient evidence that any individual damaged property or injured anyone.

This is a vicious circle that surpasses all other vicious circles. Crimes even more serious than trespassing have been committed, and these occupiers – who accuse Israel of illegal occupation – have made it impossible for the prosecution to investigate.

However, prosecutors will continue to file trespassing charges against 13 other people, two of whom were also students and most of the others are former students.

According to Reuters, Bragg’s office had already proposed releasing the other 13 from responsibility through a clause in state law that allows the proceedings to be discontinued and concluded after six months if they are not arrested for another crime in the meantime. A fairly generous offer, which was accepted by 14th Protester earlier this month. This person showed that he has brains.

Lawyers for the hapless 13 are seeking to have their cases dismissed. Perhaps their clients want the freedom to break the law again within the next six months.

Columbia can certainly prevent further chaos through disciplinary action or threats of severe disciplinary action, but what if they don’t? The police may believe that prosecution is not necessary to prevent future offenses, but they have no control over the powers of local universities. Columbia can break its promise to enforce disciplinary action, and these students and staff will repeat their offenses without qualms.