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'This is like a crucible': spectre of 1968 looms over US campus protests

The protesters were massed outside the gates of Columbia University, separated by a metal barrier and a few police. On one side, a young woman waved a large Palestinian flag, taunting her foes with chants for «intifada revolution». On the other side, a man draped in an Israeli flag blew on a piercing whistle and barked back at her and her comrades: «Fuck you, Jew-haters . . . Suck it!»

Within hours, New York City police clad in riot gear and toting stun grenades would breach Columbia's Hamilton Hall to clear protesters in a scene reminiscent of 1968, when the same building was seized by students opposing the Vietnam war.

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