Cornell University professor says Hamas attack on Israel was 'exhilarating' - Hindustan Times
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Video shows Cornell University professor saying Hamas attack on Israel was 'exhilarating' and 'energising'

BySumanti Sen
Oct 17, 2023 09:40 PM IST

Russell Rickford said that the attack “shifted the balance of politics and punctured the illusion of invincibility” of Israel

A viral video shows a professor of Cornell University saying that the Hamas attack on Israel was “exhilarating” and “energising.” Russell Rickford, an associate professor of history at the school in Ithaca, New York, made the comments at a pro-Palestinian protest.

Russell Rickford, an associate professor of history at the school in Ithaca, New York, made the comments at a pro-Palestinian protest (@samaberman screenshot/X)
Russell Rickford, an associate professor of history at the school in Ithaca, New York, made the comments at a pro-Palestinian protest (@samaberman screenshot/X)

Since the October 7 attack, over 1,400 Israelis have been killed, most of them civilians, according to officials. Several others were taken hostage by the terrorists.

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‘It was exhilarating, it was energising’

Russell said that the attack “shifted the balance of politics and punctured the illusion of invincibility” of Israel. The country has imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip since Hamas seized power in 2007. “That’s what they’ve done. You don’t have to be a Hamas supporter to recognize it,” he said.

Russell went on to say that Palestinians who witnessed oppression were “able to breathe for the first time in years” in the hours after the attack. “It was exhilarating. It was exhilarating, it was energising. And if they weren’t exhilarated by this challenge to the monopoly of violence, the shifting of the violence of power, then they would not be human. I was exhilarated,” he is heard saying as the crowd chanted “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

The Hamas attack on Israel over the last weekend claimed the lives of hundreds of civilians.The worst of the attacks, perhaps, was launched at a music festival in Israel. The party descended into chaos when the terrorists attacked the site, killing at least 260 people and abducting many more. Thousands of people attended the party, near Kibbutz Re'im close to Gaza. Palestinian gunmen attacked the site and shot people down as they tried to escape.

Who is Russell Rickford?

Russell specialises in African-American political culture after World War II, the Black Radical Tradition, and transnational social movements, the Cornell University website says.

“His book, We Are an African People: Independent Education, Black Power, and the Radical Imagination, received the 2016 Hooks Institute National Book Award and the 2017 OAH Liberty Legacy Foundation Award. He is currently working on a book about Guyana and African American radical politics in the 1970s,” it adds.

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