White House Comments On Protests

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In recent days, a wave of radical anti-Israel protests has swept across college campuses in the United States, leaving Jewish students feeling unwelcome, unsafe, and targeted. At the forefront of these protests is Columbia University, where a pro-Palestinian encampment has taken over the campus, leading to a standoff between students and university officials.

What began as a peaceful protest has quickly turned into a breeding ground for hate speech, antisemitism, and calls for violence against the Jewish community. At Columbia, students have reported being told to “go back to Poland,” “stop killing children,” and even being physically assaulted and threatened with death. The campus has become a hotbed for extremist rhetoric, with protesters calling for an “intifada” and the death of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

While every American has the right to peaceful protest, these protests have crossed the line into dangerous and antisemitic territory. The White House has condemned these actions in the strongest terms, calling them “blatantly antisemitic, unconscionable, and dangerous.” It is a sad state of affairs when the leader of our nation has to speak out against violence and intimidation targeting the Jewish community on American college campuses.

“While every American has the right to peaceful protest, calls for violence and physical intimidation targeting Jewish students and the Jewish community are blatantly antisemitic, unconscionable, and dangerous – they have absolutely no place on any college campus or anywhere in the United States of America,” White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates said. “And echoing the rhetoric of terrorist organizations, especially in the wake of the worst massacre committed against the Jewish people since the Holocaust, is despicable. We condemn these statements in the strongest terms.”

Despite this, the protests have continued, with the university’s president, Minouche Shafik, testifying before Congress about the antisemitism on campus while the protests rage outside. While she has condemned antisemitic language and behavior, she has not taken any concrete actions to protect Jewish students. In fact, the campus rabbi has recommended that Jewish students return home for their own safety.

This is a disgraceful situation. Students should not have to fear for their safety and well-being on their own college campus. Yet, instead of taking swift and decisive action, the university has allowed the protests to continue, seemingly appeasing the protesters and their extreme demands.

Even worse, it seems that these protests have now spread to other campuses, with students at The New School starting their own unauthorized encampment and demanding divestment from “Israeli apartheid.” It is a concerning trend that these radical ideologies are being embraced on college campuses, where young minds should be encouraged to engage in open and respectful dialogue, not spew hate and division.

Thankfully, some are speaking out against these protests and calling for action. Governor Kathy Hochul of New York has condemned the threats against Jewish students as “antisemitism” and has instructed the NYPD to investigate any violations of law. New York City Mayor Eric Adams has also expressed his disgust and horror at the situation, urging the university to improve communication with the police and ensure the safety of students and staff.

Ultimately, this is not just about free speech but about the safety and well-being of students. It is time for Columbia University, and all universities, to take a stand against these dangerous and hateful protests. As Mayor Adams said, “In this moment of heightened tension around the world, we must stand united against hate.”