Biden Vows to Combat Campus Antisemitism, Highlights Peaceful Protest Limits

President Biden delivered a strong message against antisemitism on Holocaust Remembrance Day, addressing the increase in anti-Israel protests and harassment of Jewish students and faculty on college campuses. During the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Annual Day of Remembrance Celebration at the U.S. Capitol, Mr. Biden criticized the “ferocious surge of antisemitism in America and across the world.”

He highlighted the challenges faced by Jewish students on college campuses, including being blocked, harassed, and attacked while walking to class, as well as the presence of antisemitic posters and slogans calling for the annihilation of Israel. Mr. Biden emphasized the importance of distinguishing between peaceful protest and hateful rhetoric, stressing that while America respects the right to free speech, there is no place for antisemitism, hate speech, or violence on any campus or in the country.

The president also addressed the recent pro-Palestinian protests on U.S. college campuses, which led to numerous arrests and the cancellation of some graduation ceremonies. He condemned violent attacks and property destruction, asserting that such actions are against the law and do not align with the principles of a civil society. The White House announced new actions to counter the rise of antisemitism in the United States, building on the U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism released last year.

These actions included the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights sending a letter to 5,000 higher-education institutions, providing examples of antisemitic discrimination and reaffirming that Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits certain forms of antisemitism. This clarification aimed to address incidents where Jewish students were harassed on campus and told to “go back to Poland.” The administration also emphasized that antisemitism, Islamophobia, and related forms of discrimination are prohibited under Title VI.

President Biden’s remarks and the subsequent actions announced by the White House demonstrate the government’s commitment to addressing antisemitism and protecting the rights of Jewish students and faculty on college campuses.

Written by Staff Reports

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