White House condemns antisemitism at college protests

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The White House criticized what it called “blatantly antisemitic” remarks made during student protests against the war in Gaza, particularly at Columbia University. Deputy press secretary Andrew Bates said while students have the right to protest peacefully, he condemned any calls for violence or intimidation against Jewish students. Over 100 students were arrested during protests at Columbia University, prompting the White House to speak out.

Videos circulating online suggested that some protesters at Columbia University were expressing support for attacks that occurred on October 7. The White House statement emphasized that while peaceful protest is a right, any violence or intimidation targeting Jewish students is unacceptable and dangerous, especially in the aftermath of significant violence against the Jewish community.

President Joe Biden also condemned antisemitism on college campuses, emphasizing that it has no place in the country. New York Mayor Eric Adams expressed horror at the antisemitic behavior around Columbia University and vowed that the police would arrest anyone breaking the law.

Amid the unrest, a rabbi associated with the university advised 300 Jewish students to stay away from campus until the situation improves. However, the Columbia Barnard Hillel, a Jewish campus organization, disagreed, urging Jewish students to stay and calling for more protection from the university and city authorities.

Columbia University cleared a protest encampment, with its president stating that it was necessary to ensure safety. The daughter of Minnesota politician Ilhan Omar, who participated in the protest, was suspended from her college.

Despite the ongoing protests against the war in Gaza across the US, incidents of pro-Palestinian protesters blocking major roads have occurred, causing disruptions at airports and landmarks.

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