Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu denounces ‘antisemitic mobs’ at American universities

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu condemned the ongoing college campus protests in the United States, asserting that they are directed towards Jewish students and faculties and are fueled by anti-Semitism.

“So, the situation on America’s college campuses is absolutely horrifying. Leading universities have been infiltrated by mobs with strong antisemitic views. These individuals not only advocate for the complete destruction of Israel but also actively target Jewish students and faculty members. It’s a disturbing parallel to the events that unfolded in German universities during the 1930s,” expressed Netanyahu passionately in a video address on Tuesday.

Protests demanding a halt to the Israel-Hamas conflict have erupted at various college campuses across the United States in the past few days. These demonstrations have led to the arrest and suspension of several students, and have also attracted a significant police presence.

Concerns have been raised over the safety of students and the proliferation of antisemitic rhetoric, despite most of the protests being reported as peaceful. Following Hamas’s Oct. 7 attacks against Israel, the United States experienced an increase in antisemitism. However, some protest groups have denied the claims that their recent demonstrations were antisemitic.

In a statement released on Sunday, protest leaders expressed their frustration with the media’s focus on inflammatory individuals who they believe do not represent them. They emphasized that their members have been wrongly identified by a politically motivated mob.

“We firmly denounce all forms of hate or prejudice and remain vigilant against any non-students who try to disrupt the unity that is being fostered among students,” they emphasized. “Our community encompasses individuals from diverse backgrounds, including Palestinians, Muslims, Arabs, Jews, Blacks, and those who support the Palestinian cause, representing the rich tapestry of our nation.”

The protest groups have highlighted the significant presence of Jewish individuals among the protesters. On Monday, a large group at the Columbia University protest camp even held a Passover Seder.

In a recent statement, Netanyahu expressed his concern about the increasing levels of antisemitism in America and Western societies. According to him, there has been an exponential rise in such incidents. He emphasized the need for school administrators to play a more active role in addressing this issue.

“It’s absolutely unacceptable and must be halted immediately. There is no room for ambiguity in condemning such actions,” he emphasized. “However, that’s not what occurred. The reaction from numerous university presidents was disgraceful.”

“We have witnessed throughout history that acts of antisemitism were always preceded by the spreading of false accusations and malicious lies against the Jewish community, which may seem unfathomable, yet were believed by many,” he later emphasized. “It is crucial for all of us who hold our values and civilization dear to unite and declare that we have had enough.”

On Monday, the Israeli government took to the social platform X to share a video of the Columbia protests. In their post, they referred to the demonstrators as “terrorists” who openly support terror.

School administrators are currently grappling with the challenge of balancing the promotion of free expression and the creation of safe and inclusive campuses for students.

Columbia University and its administration found themselves at the center of national attention last week when hundreds of students took over the campus in a call for a cease-fire and an end to U.S. military aid to Gaza. University officials called in the New York police, resulting in the arrest of over 100 student demonstrators and escalating the already tense situation.

Columbia President Minouche Shafik is under pressure from various factions to step down, with some criticizing her for excessive efforts to suppress the protests and others accusing her of not taking sufficient action.

Earlier this week, there were concerns regarding the safety of Jewish students. A campus rabbi reportedly urged Jewish students to return home “as soon as possible” in light of the upcoming Jewish holiday of Passover, which starts on Monday. As a result, the school has decided to switch to hybrid learning for the rest of the semester.

Isra Hirsi, the daughter of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), was one of the individuals who were arrested last week. During an interview on MSNBC, when asked about the impact of the protests and encampment, she expressed that it has created a strong sense of community within the space.

FBI Director Christopher Wray announced on Tuesday that the agency is collaborating with colleges and universities to alert them about potential threats on campus. While the bureau does not actively monitor college protests, it is committed to sharing information with educational institutions as soon as it becomes aware of any possible threats.

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