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In Passover address, Biden slams Columbia University protests, calls them ‘blatant antisemitism’

Columbia has recently see increase in anti-Israel protests

U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House in Washington, DC, Jan. 7, 2022. (Photo: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

In a statement released on Sunday regarding the Passover holiday, U.S. President Joe Biden slammed recent “violence and physical intimidation targeting Jewish students” at Columbia University during recent protests.

While the White House statement also addressed the war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, it had particularly harsh words regarding recent unrest targeting Jewish students. 

The statement, released just hours after a rabbi reportedly advised Jewish students at Columbia University to leave campus and stay home over the Passover holiday, did not specifically mention the university. However, its timing and context strongly suggested it was addressing the situation there.

There have been ongoing protests at Columbia University since the start of the war. However, a group of pro-Palestinian demonstrators recently set up tents on campus to protest against Israel leading to increased demonstrations. University leaders called on the New York City Police Department to help dismantle the tents and disperse the protesters. 

In his statement, Biden referred to his “ironclad” commitment to Israel's security.

“My commitment to the safety of the Jewish people, the security of Israel, and its right to exist as an independent Jewish state is ironclad,” Biden wrote. 

He also claimed to be working to free the hostages in Gaza. 

“My administration is working around the clock to free the hostages, and we will not rest until we bring them home.” 

Biden then turned to address “the alarming surge of antisemitism.” 

“The ancient story of persecution against Jews in the Haggadah also reminds us that we must speak out against the alarming surge of antisemitism – in our schools, communities, and online.” 

Biden added: “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.” 

The U.S. president referenced his plan for a national task force to combat antisemitism, which he announced last year.

“My administration will continue to speak out and aggressively implement the first-ever National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism, putting the full force of the federal government behind protecting the Jewish community.”

A bill recently introduced in Congress aims to establish a domestic "National Coordinator to Counter Antisemitism" within the White House. This role would act as a presidential advisor for national policy to combat antisemitism.

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

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