Biden Condemns ‘Anti-Semitic Protests’ and Those Who ‘Don’t Understand’ the Palestinian Situation

President Joe Biden said Monday that he condemns “anti-Semitic protests” across the country and those who lack understanding of the Palestinian situation amid the ongoing pro-Palestine protests at Columbia University in New York City.

“I condemn the anti-Semitic protests.  That’s why I’ve set up a program to deal with that,” President Biden told reporters in Triangle, Virginia, on April 22.

“I also condemn those who don’t understand what’s going on with the Palestinians,” he added.

When asked whether he thinks Columbia University’s president, Minouche Shafik, should resign in light of the escalating pro-Palestinian protests on campus, President Biden said he was uncertain about that.

“I didn’t know that. I’ll have to find out more about it,” the president replied.

This came a day after he released a statement commemorating the Jewish Passover holiday, in which he reaffirmed his “ironclad” support for Israel and denounced the “blatant antisemitism” on college campuses.

In his statement, the president pointed to the “alarming surge of Antisemitism” in U.S. schools, communities, and online. He didn’t, however, specifically mention the events at Columbia University.

“Silence is complicity. Even in recent days, we’ve seen harassment and calls for violence against Jews,” President Biden said. “This blatant antisemitism is reprehensible and dangerous, and it has absolutely no place on college campuses or anywhere in our country.”

Pro-Palestinian protests erupted at Columbia University and other university campuses in response to the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, triggered by Hamas’ deadly attack on Israeli territory on Oct. 7, 2023.

More than 100 people on Columbia University’s campus were arrested on April 18 after protesters set up an encampment on campus to protest Israel’s military actions against Hamas in Gaza.

Columbia’s president has moved all classes to virtual learning in response to the ongoing protests, saying the action was taken to “deescalate the rancor and give us all a chance to consider next steps.”

“During the coming days, a working group of Deans, university administrators, and faculty members will try to bring this crisis to a resolution,” Ms. Shafik said in a statement on Monday.

“That includes continuing discussions with the student protestors and identifying actions we can take as a community to enable us to peacefully complete the term and return to respectful engagement with each other,” she added.

Ms. Shafik said there have been too many cases of intimidation and harassing behavior occurring on campus recently, pointing out that demonstrators using “antisemitic language” to hurt and frighten people is “unacceptable, and appropriate action will be taken.”

Several lawmakers have called on Ms. Shafik to resign amid the ongoing protest. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.) said Columbia’s move to switch to virtual learning proves that Ms. Shafik “is unable to stop the antisemitic activity on her campus & keep her students safe.”

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) stated on social media platform X that Ms. Shafik should step down immediately “for allowing students to turn their campus into a breeding ground for hatred.”

NTD Photo
Pro-Palestinian supporters set up a protest encampment on the campus of Columbia University in New York City on April 22, 2024. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

“What’s happening at Columbia University is a disgrace to the core values of our nation. Our Jewish brothers and sisters have my unwavering support as we combat antisemitism at home and abroad,” he stated.

Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) also called on Ms. Shafik to resign, saying the protest at Columbia University’s campus was “antisemitic, unconscionable, and dangerous.”

“Add some tiki torches and it’s Charlottesville for these Jewish students. To @Columbia President Minouche Shafik: do your job or resign so Columbia can find someone who will,” he stated on X.

Former President Donald Trump also weighed in on the violence, commenting on the police presence at his legal hearing in a post on Truth Social.

“The Palestinian Protests at Columbia University have CLOSED THE COLLEGE DOWN,” President Trump said. “But the area surrounding the Courthouse, in Downtown Manhattan, is closed up like a drum, with New York City’s Finest (Police) all over the place.

“Why not send some to Columbia to protect Jewish Students, and others. The University would then not have to Shut Down. Republicans want the right to protest in front of the Courthouse, like everyone else!”

Savannah Hulsey Pointer and Reuters contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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