Biden says he ‘absolutely’ hears anti-Israel student protests but no place for antisemitism

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

US President Joe Biden is asked in the CNN interview whether he hears the message being shouted against his Israel policy at campus protests across the country.

“Absolutely,” he responds before reiterating the point he’s made twice this month. “There’s a legitimate right to free speech and protest… There’s not a legitimate right to use hate speech; there’s not a legitimate right to threaten Jewish students; there’s not a legitimate right to block people’s access to class. That’s against the law.”

Biden then appears to begin an argument that the anti-Israel campus protests are not as representative as some have portrayed.

“If you look at the data, these demonstrations are real, but they’re not nearly…” Biden says before shifting his response to reference the speech he gave earlier this week condemning the antisemitic undertones of the campus protests.

“I made a speech on Holocaust Day and pointed out that it took seven decades to get to the place where after the Holocaust occurred, and there’s still antisemitism. Look what’s happened in seven [months]… Everybody’s sort of forgotten about what happened in Israel. Those 1,200 young kids murdered. I saw pictures… [of] a mother and her daughter being roped together and then kerosene poured and burned to death. Nothing like this has happened to the Jewish community since the Holocaust,” he says.

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