UNITED STATES NEWS

Biden condemns antisemitism at college protests of Gaza war at Holocaust remembrance event

May 7, 2024, 6:00 PM | Updated: 9:21 pm

antisemitism on college campuses Holocaust remembrance...

President Joe Biden speaks at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's Annual Days of Remembrance ceremony at the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, May 7, 2024 in Washington. Statue of Freedom stands behind. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Tuesday decried a “ferocious surge” in antisemitism on college campuses and around the globe in the months since Hamas attacked Israel and triggered a war in Gaza, using a ceremony to remember victims of the Holocaust to also denounce new waves of violence and hateful rhetoric toward Jews.

Biden said that on Oct. 7, Hamas “brought to life” that hatred with the killing of more than 1,200 Israelis, mostly civilians, and warned that, already, people are beginning to forget who was responsible.

The president used his address to renew his declarations of unwavering support for Israel in its war against Hamas even as his relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has grown increasingly strained over Israel’s push to invade the southern Gaza city of Rafah, which would surely worsen the already dire humanitarian crisis for Palestinians.

A senior administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive matter, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the U.S. paused a shipment of bombs to Israel last week over concerns about Israel’s decision on Rafah.

Antisemitism on college campuses focus of Biden Tuesday speech

Biden has struggled to balance his support for Israel since the attack by Hamas — the deadliest day for Jews worldwide since the Holocaust — with his efforts to protect civilian life in Gaza.

While acknowledging the ceremony was taking place during “difficult times,” Biden made no explicit reference to the deaths of more than 34,700 Palestinians since the attack by Hamas led Israel to declare war in Gaza. The tally from the Hamas-run health ministry includes militants, but also many civilians caught up in the fighting.

“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, even when we disagree,” Biden said.

“We’re at risk of people not knowing the truth,” Biden said of the horrors of the Holocaust, when 6 million Jews were systematically killed by Nazi Germany and its collaborators. “This hatred continues to lie deep in the hearts of too many people in the world.”

Biden steered clear of the upcoming presidential election in his speech. But it played out in counterpoint to former President Donald Trump’s criticism of the incumbent for not doing more to combat antisemitism. Trump has a long personal history of rhetoric that invokes the language of Nazi Germany and plays on stereotypes of Jews in politics.

Backdrop of pro-Palestine protests as Biden speaks on Holocaust remembrance event

Biden’s remarks at the Capitol played out as pro-Palestinian protests — some of which have involved antisemitic chants and threats toward Jewish students and supporters of Israel — rock college campuses across the country.

“As Jews around the world still cope with the atrocity and trauma of that day and its aftermath, we’ve seen a ferocious surge of antisemitism in America and around the world,” Biden said.

“Not 75 years later, but just seven and a half months later, and people are already forgetting, they’re already forgetting, that Hamas unleashed this terror that it was Hamas that brutalized Israelis, that it was Hamas that took and continues to hold hostages,” Biden said. “I have not forgotten, nor have you. And we will not forget.”

The Capitol event, hosted by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, also featured remarks from House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York. Holocaust survivors, local youth and elected officials took part in the remembrance ceremony, which included a recitation of the Jewish prayers for the dead.

The campus protests have posed a political challenge for Biden, whose coalition has historically relied on younger voters, many of whom are critical of his public support for Israel.

President condemns lawlessness, violence and hate on American campuses

Biden said “There’s no place on any campus in America” or any place in America for antisemitism or threats of violence. He added, “We’re not a lawless country — we are a civil society.”

In conjunction with Biden’s speech, his administration was announcing new steps to combat antisemitism on colleges campuses and beyond. The Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights was sending every school district and college in the nation a letter outlining examples of antisemitism and other hate that could lead to federal civil rights investigations.

The Department of Homeland Security was moving to educate schools and community groups about resources and funding available to promote campus safety and address threats. And the State Department’s special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism was meeting with technology companies on how to combat the rise in hateful conflict online.

On Monday, Doug Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris and the first Jewish spouse of a nationally elected American leader, met with Jewish college students at the White House about the administration’s efforts to combat antisemitism. He heard students describe their own experiences with hatred, including threats of violence and hate speech, his office said.

As Biden condemns antisemitism on college campuses, what is Trump saying?

Trump’s campaign on Monday released a video on Yom Hashoah, Israel’s Holocaust remembrance day, that aimed to contrast the 2024 presidential candidates’ responses on antisemitism.

The video shows images of Trump visiting Israel and speeches he has given pledging to stand with Jewish people and confront antisemitism, while showing footage of the protests on campuses and clips of Biden responding to protesters upset with his administration’s support for Israel in its war against Hamas.

One of the clips shows Biden saying, “They have a point,” but it does not include the next sentence in which Biden said, “We need to get a lot more care into Gaza.”

Biden campaign spokesman James Singer said in response that “President Biden stands against antisemitism and is committed to the safety of the Jewish community, and security of Israel — Donald Trump does not.”

United States News

Associated Press

Appeals court panel refuses to delay Trump ally Steve Bannon’s 4-month contempt prison sentence

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal appeals court panel on Thursday rejected longtime Donald Trump ally Steve Bannon’s bid to stay out of prison while he fights his conviction for defying a subpoena from the House committee that investigated the U.S. Capitol attack. Bannon is supposed to report to prison by July 1 to begin serving […]

25 minutes ago

Associated Press

2 killed in helicopter crash in Washington state, authorities say

BLUESTEM, Wash. (AP) — Two men died in a helicopter crash in eastern Washington state, authorities said. Lincoln County Fire District 6 Chief Brandon Larmer told KREM-TV that the helicopter had two people aboard when it crashed Wednesday afternoon. The men who died were identified Thursday as 68-year-old Ryan Sandvig, of Spokane, and 63-year-old Mark […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Gold bars and Sen. Bob Menendez’s curiosity about their price takes central role at bribery trial

NEW YORK (AP) — Prosecutors showed jurors at Sen. Bob Menendez ’s trial on Thursday multiple instances when he researched the value of gold as he tried to help a New Jersey businessman who authorities say bribed him with gold and cash. The evidence about the Democrat’s online searches was prominently displayed to a New […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Bill allowing doctor-assisted suicide in Delaware fails in Senate

DOVER, Del. (AP) — A bill allowing doctor-assisted suicide in Delaware failed to win approval in the state Senate on Thursday after narrowly clearing the House earlier this year, but it could come back next week. The legislation failed in the Democrat-led Senate in a 9-9 tie after three members of the Democratic caucus spoke […]

5 hours ago

Associated Press

Amtrak trains suspended from Philadelphia to New Haven by circuit breaker malfunction

NEW YORK (AP) — Amtrak trains were temporarily suspended Thursday afternoon from Philadelphia to New Haven, Connecticut, by a circuit breaker malfunction, the national rail service said. The technical issue led to a widespread loss of power on the tracks between Penn Station in New York City and Union Station in Newark, New Jersey at […]

6 hours ago

Associated Press

Witnesses say Ohio man demanded Jeep before he stabbed couple at a Nebraska interstate rest area

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) — Witnesses say they heard an Ohio man demand the keys to a Jeep that was being towed behind a Missouri couple’s RV before he brutally stabbed them both and killed the man at an Interstate 80 rest area. James Thompson Jr., 22, was formally charged with first-degree murder and 10 […]

6 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

Biden condemns antisemitism at college protests of Gaza war at Holocaust remembrance event