Biden supports students protesting war in Gaza… but says 'there is no right to chaos'

President Joe Biden defended the right of American students to protest against the war between Israel and Hamas, but considered that they should be carried out peacefully since this will allow “order to prevail.”

“There is a right to protest, but there is no right to cause chaos,” Biden said at the White House.

“Vandalism, trespassing, breaking windows, closing campuses, forcing the cancellation of classes and graduations, none of this is a peaceful protest,” he added.

The US president considered that the protests have led him to analyze his approach to the war. However, This situation could represent a threat to his re-election..

The clashes have highlighted growing discontent among progressives, young people and Muslim and Arab Americans over the war, and the deep rift within the Democratic Party itself over its handling of the issue. Even the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza has become a burden on Biden's political positionas it exposes him to attacks from both sides and with polls showing that voters are losing confidence in his approach.

Pro-Palestinian encampments have so far spread to at least 100 universities in 30 states and Washington, D.C., since protesters first erected tents on the Columbia Quad on April 17.

Even President Biden tried to find a balance between what he said were “two fundamental American principles,” the right to free speech and “the rule of law.”

“Both must be defended. We are not an authoritarian nation where we silence people or crush dissent. But we are not a lawless country either. “We are a civil society and order must prevail,” he mentioned.

Asked whether the National Guard should intervene as some Republicans have suggested, Biden said “no.” It was also launched against anti-Semitic intimidation, against Jewish students or threats against Muslims.

“There should be no place on any campus, no place in the United States for anti-Semitism or threats of violence against Jewish students,” he said.

“There is no place for hate speech or violence of any kind, whether anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, or discrimination against Arab Americans or Palestinian Americans,” he added.

Police repression in the US

University administrators have struggled to address the protests, facing criticism from donors and politicians on both sides of the debate. Some They consider that police repression is a heavy-handed response Young activists and others accuse schools of turning a blind eye to Jewish students who they say are being threatened by anti-Semitic bullying.

Protests on US campuses have intensified in recent weeks, in solidarity with Columbia University students who were arrested after building an encampment that administrators say broke multiple school policies and intimidated students. Jews.

Evidently this did not intimidate the protesters, as they even risked expulsion to barricade themselves in a building. However, the movement ended in a police raid on Tuesday night and the arrest of 119 people.

For his part, the mayor of New York City, Eric Adams, noted that students have been influenced by “professional external agitators” to become increasingly violent. Police have also been concerned about a “mainstreaming of rhetoric” associated with terrorism, Deputy Commissioner Rebecca Weiner for Intelligence and Counterterrorism told reporters.

The protests have been a personal challenge for Biden, as will have to convince young and progressive voters dismayed by their support for Israel to strengthen your possibilities in the November general election rematch with Republican Donald Trump.

Additionally, Republicans have seized on the images to criticize Biden and paint a picture of a nation they say has seen lawlessness and disorder grow under his administration. Even last Tuesday night, Trump called into Fox News as police entered the Columbia campus, saying that Biden had eroded bipartisan support for Israel.

For now, Biden has been pressing Israel and Hamas to agree to a ceasefire, a first step toward resolving their conflict, and to get more aid into Gaza to ease the humanitarian crisis, measures that could help address the backlash. internal politics.

Israel has waged a nearly seven-month war after Hamas, a group designated a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union, launched an attack that killed 1,200 people. While authorities in Gaza, administered by Hamas, say that more than 34,000 Palestinians have been killed.