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As pro-Palestinian protests spread, members of US Congress call on Biden to protect Jewish students

Republican Senators call for deployment of National Guard to protect Jewish Americans

Republican Rep. Mike Lawler in an interview on News Nation after he called on Shafik and other university leaders to resign, April 2024 (Photo: Screenshot from Mike Lawler Social media 𝕏).

As pro-Palestinian protests spread to universities across the United States beyond just Columbia University in New York City, several members of Congress visited the Columbia campus on Monday to address antisemitic rhetoric and incidents.

The protests at Columbia and other university campuses across the U.S. have sparked a national debate about free speech, following the university leadership's call to dismantle the pro-Palestinian encampment on campus due to multiple reports of antisemitic threats from demonstrators.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators have called for Columbia to cut all ties with Israel as part of the Boycott, Divest, Sanction (BDS) movement over supposed human rights violations against Palestinians. 

On Tuesday, the university announced that many classes would move online as a result of the sometimes violent protests and the inability of the school to prevent disruptions to learning routines from the demonstrations.

Some members of Congress called for Columbia University President Minouche Shafik to resign over her handling of the situation. 

Republican Rep. Mike Lawler called on Shafik and other university leaders to resign. 

“Every single one of these college and university presidents who refuse to take action should immediately resign in disgrace and if they don’t resign, [they] should be thrown out,” Lawler told reporters during his visit to the campus. “I have never seen a more disgraceful act than what we are seeing on college campuses right now.” 

Lawler has sponsored bills designed to combat antisemitism on college and university campuses, including one bill that would remove federal funding for institutions that promote or allow antisemitic events on their campuses. 

The Republican representative was joined by several colleagues in a news conference at Columbia, including Anthony D’Esposito, who helped sponsor one of the antisemitism bills in the House, along with Sid Rosenberg, Bruce Blakeman and Michael Rapaport. 

“Here’s the reality: Hate is taught. It is taught in the schools of Gaza and unfortunately, it is being taught here in the United States,” Lawler told the reporters.

“Enough is enough. We have a responsibility to act and ensure our students are safe from the Hamas apologists in our own country.” 

Meanwhile, several Republican senators called on U.S. President Joe Biden to mobilize the National Guard to protect Jewish students on college campuses. 

Missouri Senator Josh Hawley sent a letter to Biden on Monday, urging him to take action to match his Passover statement. 

Noting that “Jewish Americans are at risk” on campuses across the nation, Hawley addressed Biden: “In your statement on Passover, you stated that ‘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.’ Now you must take action to match those words.” 

“You must immediately mobilize the National Guard and any other authorities necessary to ensure the safety of Jewish American students and citizens,” Hawley continued. 

Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton joined Hawley in calling for the use of the National Guard while attacking New York leaders. 

“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,” Cotton wrote on 𝕏. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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