White House Slams Antisemitism in Student Protests

WASHINGTON - The White House is condemning "blatantly antisemitic" statements during ongoing pro-Palestinian student protests against the ongoing war in Gaza.

As protests at Columbia University enter a fifth day, White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates said students have the right to peaceful protest. But he denounced "calls for violence and physical intimidation targeting Jewish students". Many of the protesters are calling for the slaughter of all Jews and for the extermination of the nation of Israel.

More than 100 students were arrested at the New York university this past week. The arrests came after police cleared a protest encampment at the elite institution. College campuses across the US have been rocked by demonstrations for months.

The White House statement comes after videos posted online appear to show some protesters expressing support for the 7 October attacks when Hamas terrorists murdered 1200 Israeli civilians, raping dozens of women and taking hundreds of hostages.

"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," the statement read. "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."

Separately, President Joe Biden also denounced "blatant antisemitism" on college campuses, without directly referencing any one university. "Even in recent days, we've seen harassment and calls for violence against Jews. This blatant antisemitism is reprehensible and dangerous - and it has absolutely no place on college campuses, or anywhere in our country," he said in a statement marking the Jewish Passover holiday.

New York Mayor Eric Adams said he was "horrified and disgusted with the antisemitism being spewed at and around the Columbia University Campus". The mayor said New York police will arrest anyone found to be breaking the law. A rabbi associated with the university sent a message to 300 Jewish students advising them to keep away from campus in light of the unrest.
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