Mon 22 Apr 2024 5:57 pm - Jerusalem Time

The White House condemns pro-Palestinian demonstrations on American universities

The White House on Sunday condemned what it called "blatantly anti-Semitic" statements during ongoing student protests against the war in Gaza.

As the protests at Columbia University entered their fifth day, deputy press spokesman Andrew Bates said that students have the right to peacefully protest. But he denounced "calls for violence and physical intimidation targeting Jewish students."

More than 100 students at New York University were arrested this week.

The arrests came after police cleared a protest camp at the university, which is considered one of the seven elite universities in the United States.

Universities across the United States have been witnessing protests for months.

Activists who are demonstrating peacefully for a ceasefire and stopping the massacre of Palestinians considered that Al-Abyad’s statement, and the congressional hearings that spoke of the panic of Jewish students at universities, come as attempts to suppress the voice supporting Palestinian rights in the United States.

The White House statement on Sunday came after videos posted online showed some protesters expressing support for the October 7, 2023, attacks.

“While every American has the right to peacefully protest, calls for violence and physical intimidation targeting Jewish students and the Jewish community are blatantly anti-Semitic, unreasonable, and dangerous,” the statement read.

He added: "Repeating the rhetoric of terrorist organizations, especially in the wake of the worst massacre committed against the Jewish people since the Holocaust, is despicable."

Separately, President Joe Biden also denounced “blatant anti-Semitism” on college campuses, without directly referring to any single university.

“Even in recent days, we have witnessed harassment and calls for violence against Jews,” he said in a statement marking the anniversary. “This blatant anti-Semitism is reprehensible and dangerous — and has absolutely no place on college campuses, or anywhere in our country.” Jewish holiday of Passover.

New York Mayor Eric Adams said he was "horrified and disgusted by the anti-Semitism being unleashed on and around the Columbia campus." The mayor of New York said that the New York Police will arrest anyone proven to be violating the law.

CNN reported on Sunday that a rabbi associated with the university sent a letter to 300 Jewish students advising them to stay away from campus in light of the unrest.

“It pains me deeply to say that I strongly recommend that you return home as soon as possible and stay home until the reality on and around campus improves significantly,” the letter said, according to CNN.

Columbia Barnard Hillel — a Jewish university organization associated with Columbia and its sister college Barnard that works in coordination with pro-Israel organizations — said it did not believe Jewish students should leave the university.

But it called on the university and city authorities to make more efforts to protect students.

Columbia University President Dr. Nemat Shafik, of Egyptian origin, described the evacuation of the protest camp on Thursday as an “extraordinary step” and said it was necessary to provide a safe environment.

Among those participating in the protest was the daughter of Minnesota politician Ilhan Omar, who was suspended from her college.


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The White House condemns pro-Palestinian demonstrations on American universities