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The ’68th Sense

1968 Democratic National Convention DNC
Here we have a Democratic nominee, out of touch with a younger generation furious over a foreign war, accepting his party’s nomination in the same city that spiraled into violence in 1968. Photo: Pictorial Parade/Archive Photos/Getty Images
Peter Hamby
May 6, 2024

In a week or so, something very mundane and decidedly unrevolutionary is set to take place on the college campuses where students have been passionately demonstrating in support of the people of Gaza: summer break. Yes, despite the intoxicating allure of television cameras and the righteousness of the cause, the end of the academic year means that most students will clear out—they’ll go home, get an internship, maybe travel, maybe start their first job. That includes many, if not most, of the young demonstrators who have commanded media attention in recent weeks, demanding their schools divest from Israel, clashing with Jewish students accusing them of antisemitism, or taking a beating from police officers. Sure, some hardcore activists will remain on campuses during break, trying to keep the flame lit. But for the vast majority, summer calls.

There might even be a ceasefire deal coming into view as I write this, which would satisfy a key demand of the activists who have been raging against Israel for seven months now and promising not to vote for “Genocide Joe” in November. Hamas said Monday it has accepted a ceasefire proposal from Egypt and Qatar to halt the war. Israel is reviewing the matter, and the State Department is approaching the news with caution. Don’t hold your breath.