Biden blasts ‘alarming surge of antisemitism’ amid anti-Israel protests at Columbia

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

US President Joe Biden blasts recent anti-Israel protests that have been taking place at Columbia University in a statement marking the upcoming Passover holiday.

“Even in recent days, we’ve seen harassment and calls for violence against Jews. This blatant antisemitism is reprehensible and dangerous – and it has absolutely no place on college campuses or anywhere in our country,” the president says. “The ancient story of persecution against Jews in the Haggadah also reminds us that we must speak out against the alarming surge of antisemitism – in our schools, communities, and online. Silence is complicity.”

Biden also acknowledges the hardship families of the Israeli hostages are enduring, as they prepare to mark the Jewish holiday of Passover, which is meant to celebrate freedom, and asserts his administration is working “around the clock” to bring their loved ones home.

“As Jews mark Passover with storytelling, songs and rituals, they will also read from the Haggadah how, in every generation, they have been targeted by those who would seek to destroy them. This year, those words carry deeper resonance and pain in the wake of Hamas’ unspeakable evil on October 7th – the deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust,” Biden says in a statement wishing Jews a happy Passover, which begins Monday night.

“Jews around the world are still coping with the trauma of that day and its aftermath,” he acknowledges.

“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,” he says, adding that he’s working to secure an “immediate and prolonged ceasefire” as part of a hostage deal that would see a surge of humanitarian aid into Gaza.

“We will continue to work toward a two-state solution that provides equal security, prosperity and enduring peace for Israelis and Palestinians. And we are leading international efforts to ensure Israel can defend itself against Iran and its proxies, including by directing the US military to help defend Israel against Iran’s unprecedented attacks last weekend,” Biden says.

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