Latest updates on Israel-Hamas war: UN official calls for urgent action to help Gaza

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that protests at U.S. universities against Israel’s war in Gaza were “horrible” and should be stopped, making his first public comments on the issue. used to criticize student demonstrators and portray them as anti-Semitic.

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s comments could further deepen divisions over the protests. It also could give ammunition to Republican leaders who have criticized protesters and accused university administrators and Democrats of failing to protect Jewish students from attacks.

“What is happening on American university campuses is horrific,” Prime Minister Netanyahu said. “Anti-Semitic mobs have taken over leading universities. They are calling for the annihilation of Israel. They attack Jewish students. They attack Jewish faculty.”

Students who were not organized into a single group could not be asked to respond immediately.

Relatively small numbers of students have been protesting for months at universities across the country to protest Israel’s war efforts in Gaza, which began after Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, killing about 1,200 people. It is carried out. More than 200 other people were taken hostage. Since then, Gazan authorities have said Israeli airstrikes and fighting have killed more than 34,000 people, the majority of them women and children.

The protesters’ main policy demand is for the US government to stop sending military aid to Israel. Some students have called on universities to divest from investments in arms manufacturers and divest or divest holdings in funds and businesses they say are profiting from Israel’s invasion of Gaza and occupation of Palestinian land. Ta.

Organizers of many campus groups leading protests across the country said they condemned the violence and anti-Semitism. But some demonstrators used anti-Semitic and anti-Israel slurs and other threatening language, and some Jewish students said they felt unsafe. Some demonstrators have expressed sympathy for Hamas, which ruled Gaza before the war and vowed to destroy Israel.

Protests have escalated in recent days at some of the country’s most prestigious academic institutions, including Columbia University, Yale University, Cornell University, and the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Police responded, arresting in some cases hundreds of people.

One effect is that university leaders have to decide how far to tolerate protests, which are broadly protected as free speech, given that some protesters have used anti-Semitic language. It is to force others to suffer. Some Jewish students and leaders say they view the demonstrations themselves as anti-Semitic or promoting anti-Semitism.

By portraying anti-war demonstrators as anti-Semitic, Netanyahu joined university leaders and some Republican leaders who have harshly criticized the Biden administration for doing too little to crack down on the protests. We are keeping pace.

Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke by video link with Senate Republicans during a private luncheon last month and criticized the Democratic majority leader, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York. Schumer, who is Jewish, said in his speech on the Senate floor that Netanyahu was an obstacle to peace in the Middle East and called for new elections to replace him.

On Wednesday, conservative Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson visited Columbia University in New York, one of the most prominent sites of student protests. Johnson said President Biden should take action, possibly including deploying the National Guard, to quell protests in Colombia that he says have turned violent and anti-Semitic.

The demonstrations have become a political headache for President Biden, as student demonstrators and other left-wing Democrats who sympathize with them are a key constituency for Biden as he seeks re-election in November.

By portraying the protests in such harsh moral terms, Israeli leaders could tighten Biden’s political grip.

Prime Minister Netanyahu appears to equate protests against the government’s prosecution of the Gaza war with hatred of Jews. He said the protests on American campuses were “reminiscent of what happened at German universities in the 1930s,” an apparent reference to ideologically militant pro-Nazi student groups. said. holocaust encyclopediacollaborated with the security forces to carry out Hitler’s plans.

“It’s unconscionable,” he said. “That has to stop.”

Shortly after coming to power in 1933, the Nazis passed laws that led to the dismissal of many Jewish university teachers and encouraged the deployment of student groups. violence and intimidation to Jewish faculty and students.

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