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White House condemns 'blatantly antisemitic' protests amid ongoing unrest at Columbia

The White House on Sunday condemned the calls for “violence and physical intimidation targeting Jewish students” as protests continue at colleges in the U.S., including the latest demonstration at Columbia University in New York.

“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 — they have absolutely no place on any college campus, or anywhere in the United States of America,” White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates said in a statement shared with The Hill.

“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. We condemn these statements in the strongest terms,” he continued.

The statement came shortly after reports circulated Sunday that a rabbi associated with Columbia University sent a message to 300 Jewish students to leave campus, return home and remain there ahead of the start of Passover, the Jewish holiday that begins Monday night.

The campus Hillel countered this statement, writing on the social platform X, “We do not believe that Jewish students should leave @Columbia. We do believe that the University and the City need to do more to ensure the safety of our students.”

Protests have been ongoing at Columbia University since last week, when dozens of pro-Palestinian demonstrators set up an encampment of dozens of tents on campus. Columbia University President Minouche Shafik later authorized the New York Police Department to help remove the encampment.

More than 100 protesters were taken into custody, NBC News reported last week.

All university students involved in the demonstration were told they are suspended, according to school officials.

Among those suspended was Isra Hirsi, the daughter of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.). Hirsi is a student at Barnard College, which is connected to Columbia but has some independence.

A series of U.S. colleges have faced an uptick in demonstrations and protests in the months that followed Hamas’s Oct. 7 attacks, which left about 1,200 people dead in southern Israel and about 250 others taken hostage.

Israel has responded with a bombardment of Gaza, which has killed more than 34,000 Palestinians, according to the Health Ministry in the enclave.

Source: The Hill

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