Lawmakers Condemn Anti-Semitism at Columbia University Amid Ongoing Protests

Lawmakers Condemn Anti-Semitism at Columbia University Amid Ongoing Protests
Students and pro-Palestinian activists face police as they gather outside of Columbia University to protest the university's stance on Israel in New York City on April 18, 2024. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

A number of lawmakers have denounced the discrimination against Jewish students at Columbia University and the university has shifted classes to online platforms due to an ongoing anti-Israel solidarity assembly on campus.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke out on X, formerly Twitter, on April 22, saying, “Tonight, in the midst of an alarming surge in anti-Semitism, millions of Jews across America and the world will gather in peace to celebrate the beginning of Passover.

“Horrific episodes like the recent violence at Columbia University are a reminder to all of us to reaffirm that the world’s oldest form of hate has no place in our society.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) voiced his condemnation for the turn of the protests on April 21, saying in a press release, “College campuses must be places of learning and discussion. Every American has a right to protest, but when protests shift to antisemitism, verbal abuse, intimidation, or glorification of Oct. 7 violence against Jewish people, that crosses the line. Campuses must remain safe for all students.”

Since protests erupted at the 270-year-old university in the Manhattan borough of New York City on April 17, New York police arrested more than 100 pro-Palestinian demonstrators after they set up an encampment made of tents.

The protests at Columbia, reminiscent of the demonstrations against the Vietnam War at Columbia more than 50 years ago, are the latest in a series of protests disrupting university campuses, bridges, and airports since the Oct. 7 attack against Israel.

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)

Call for Biden to Step In

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) weighed in, saying in a social media post, “Eisenhower sent the 101st to Little Rock,” referencing former President Eisenhower’s move to call in the 101st Airborne Division to Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957 to ensure the safety of nine African-American students enrolled at Central High School.

“It’s time for [President Joe] Biden to call out the National Guard at our universities to protect Jewish Americans,” Mr. Hawley said of the Columbia protests.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) also asserted that the president should step in, saying on X, “The nascent pogroms at Columbia have to stop TODAY, before our Jewish brethren sit for Passover Seder tonight. If Eric Adams won’t send the NYPD and Kathy Hochul won’t send the National Guard, Joe Biden has a duty to take charge and break up these mobs.”

Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) went to Columbia University on April 22 with a group of Jewish Democrats as the university deals protests on campus.

“We are all standing here today as Jewish members of Congress to make one thing clear, Jewish students are welcome here at Columbia. And while the leadership of Columbia may be failing you, we will not,” Mr. Gottheimer said at a press conference from the university grounds.

“We will do everything in our power to keep you safe and do everything in Washington we can to make sure that you feel welcome at this university or any university across the United States of America,” he continued. “And Columbia University, if they don’t follow through, will pay the price.”

From the Education Committee

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) also denounced the events taking place at the Ivy League university. Ms. Foxx, who serves as the chairwoman of the Education and Workforce Committee, sent a letter to Columbia President Dr. Minouche Shafik Columbia, asking for a resolution on April 21.

“This situation is unacceptable, and it is imperative that Columbia’s leaders restore order and safety without further delay, in line with their commitments before the Committee at its April 17 hearing. … Columbia is failing to deliver on these commitments, as Jewish students are being harassed, assaulted, threatened, and intimidated to the point where they are departing campus for safer environments.”

Ms. Foxx also asserted that, “The students, faculty, and staff responsible for this mayhem, including members of the groups Students for Justice in Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace, Columbia University Apartheid Divest, and Faculty and Staff for Justice in Palestine, repeatedly and flagrantly have violated multiple University rules, and in many cases, federal law.

The lawmaker called for the university to move to “decisively hold them accountable in a manner commensurate with the severity of their offenses, including expulsion and termination of employment.”

President Joe Biden condemned the recent behavior at U.S. campuses in a message for Passover, which is a major Jewish holiday that starts on April 22.

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.”

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!”

Lorenz Duchamps contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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