The hallmark of campus demonstrations by pro-Palestinian groups has been the construction of “encampments” where protesters can listen to radical speakers, present demands to campus administrators, and practice the latest chants.

The hint of rebellion and the whiff of danger in the encampment can be a heady experience for immature kids and will draw some from the fringes toward the center of the fight against Jewish imperialism, and other alleged evils.

From the perspective of the encampment organizers, if some students are arrested and expelled from school, all the better. Such students are now likely to be pulled away from their past lives into a new world of radical politics and political violence. The Nazis understood this idea when they created Hitler Youth camps. Whatever else they do, university administrators cannot let the encampments stand.

But how university presidents dismantle these forcing beds of radicalism matters.

In conservative areas such as Texas, campus administrators and state officials should have no qualms about dispatching the police to clear the encampments.

In more politically progressive locales, such as New York and Los Angeles, the encampments are protected by support on the campus and in the community. Here, a hands-off approach is best. If ignored by the authorities, encampments can become boring and irrelevant and wither on the vine. The media lose interest and students begin to drift away. If this occurs, the activist hard-core will often seek to up the ante by becoming increasingly provocative—even at the risk of losing the community’s sympathy, a victory for the cause of law and order. That can happen even in a deep Blue city like New York. If they remain patient, the authorities can eventually call the police and clear away the protesters.

This strategy was, at one time, called the “Levi plan,” named for University of Chicago President Edward Levi. In 1968, anti-war protesters seized the university’s administration building. (An undergraduate there at the time, I witnessed the insurrection firsthand). Not wishing to increase sympathy for the perpetrators, Levi refused to summon the police and, instead, isolated the building and ignored the student radicals. After several weeks the occupiers sought to regain the initiative by systematically looting and destroying the building. At this point, the college community turned against the protesters. Levi now had them removed from the building and expelled.

This seems to be the plan followed by Columbia President Minouche Shafik. After some false starts, Ms. Shafik waited for demonstrators to trash Hamilton Hall and take a janitor hostage—which offended most reasonable people—before calling the police and having the building’s occupiers arrested. Ms. Shafik has been severely criticized for what appeared to be several weeks of dithering, but she was demonstrating prudence and patience in a politically hostile environment.

Many Americans ask when all this will end. The answer is that it will not. Some protesters would be satisfied to see Israel erased from the map. For others and their backers, Israel is merely pretextual. These have adopted the Iranian view that Israel is the Little Satan while America is the Great Satan that must be brought to its knees.

This is likely to be a long war—and, as graduation ceremonies approach, and with the 2024 Democratic National Convention in Chicago (shades of 1968) looming, a very long, violent spring and summer.