Columbia University protest: Joe Biden calls ‘anti-semitism’ in US colleges ‘reprehensible and dangerous’ - Hindustan Times
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Columbia University protest: Joe Biden calls ‘anti-semitism’ in US colleges ‘reprehensible and dangerous’

Apr 22, 2024 09:27 AM IST

Joe Biden has issued a statement condemning purported anti-semitism in US Colleges as several Columbia University protest continues for 5th day.

US President Joe Biden, for the first time, spoke out against anti-semitism on college campuses amidst ongoing tensions surrounding student protests. At Columbia University, where pro-Palestinian demonstrators have been protesting for five days, demands are being made to sever financial ties with Israel, a key US ally.

Pro-Palestinian activists protest outside Columbia University in New York City on April 20, 2024. (Photo by Leonardo Munoz / AFP)(AFP)
Pro-Palestinian activists protest outside Columbia University in New York City on April 20, 2024. (Photo by Leonardo Munoz / AFP)(AFP)

The protesters, camping out on campus, are urging the university to boycott all activities associated with Israel due to the conflict with Hamas and the resulting humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

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White House statement on anti-Israel protest in US campuses

"Even in recent days, we've seen harassment and calls for violence against Jews. This blatant anti-Semitism is reprehensible and dangerous -- and it has absolutely no place on college campuses, or anywhere in our country," Biden said in a statement ahead of the Jewish holiday of Passover, which begins Monday night.

In a statement ahead of the Jewish holiday of Passover, Biden condemned recent incidents of harassment and calls for violence against Jews, stating that such blatant anti-Semitism has no place on college campuses or anywhere in the country.

Growing episodes of anti-Semitism in US campuses

The cultural debate in the US has intensified since the October 7 Hamas attack and Israel's response in Gaza, with many students' pro-Palestinian stances being accused of anti-Semitism. Several universities including Harvard, University of Pennsylvania and

Concerns over safety led a rabbi associated with an Orthodox Jewish student organization at Columbia to advise Jewish students to go home. However, another Jewish organization, Hillel, urged students to stay on campus while calling for increased safety measures.

Instances of anti-Semitism were reported during a pro-Israel counterprotest at the campus landmark, the Sundial, and tensions peaked when 108 protesters were arrested on Thursday, prompting condemnation from New York Mayor Eric Adams.

The situation at Columbia comes amidst wider scrutiny of college campuses for issues of anti-Semitism, with Harvard's president recently resigning after concerns were raised about the issue there as well.

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