President Biden condemns violent anti-Israel protests, won’t call up National Guard

President Biden broke his silence on Thursday regarding the anti-Israel demonstrations that are roiling colleges and universities around the nation, condemning the violence that has broken out and saying that “order must prevail.”

“We are not an authoritarian nation where we silence people or squash dissent. The American people are heard. In fact, peaceful protest is in the best tradition of how Americans respond to consequential issues. But neither are we a lawless country. We’re a civil society and order must prevail,” Biden said at the White House.

Biden, who has been facing mounting media and political pressure to speak out, made the comments Thursday morning as he departed the White House.  On his way out, he noted that he would not be calling in the National Guard to quell the protests.

“Throughout our history, we’ve often faced moments like this because we are a big, diverse, free-thinking and freedom-loving nation. And moments like this are always those who rush in to score political points. But this isn’t a moment for politics. It’s a moment for clarity,” Biden also said.


“So let me be clear… Violent protest is not protected. Peaceful protest is. It’s against the law when violence occurs. Destroying property is not a peaceful protest. It’s against the law. Vandalism. Trespassing. Breaking windows. Shutting down campuses. Forcing the cancellation of classes and graduations. None of this is a peaceful protest,” Biden continued. “Threatening people. Intimidating people. Instilling fear in people is not peaceful protest. It’s against the law.  

“Dissent is essential to democracy. But dissent must never lead to disorder or to denying the rights of others so students can finish a semester and their college education,” the president added.

On the other side of the country, dramatic scenes are unfolding on the campus of UCLA, where police have been removing barricades surrounding a pro-Palestinian encampment and are detaining protesters. 


Biden also said Thursday that “There should be no place on any campus, no place in America for anti-Semitism or threats of violence against Jewish students. There is no place for hate speech or violence of any kind, whether it’s antisemitism, Islamophobia, or discrimination against Arab-Americans or Palestinian Americans. It’s simply wrong. There’s no place for racism in America. It’s all wrong. It’s un-American.”

Yesterday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that “The president is being kept regularly updated on what’s happening” when asked why he hasn’t spoken out recently about the demonstrations. 

“He is monitoring the situation closely. So is his team,” she added. “And I would just add that no president, no president has spoken more forcefully about combating antisemitism than this president.”  

Jean-Pierre also claimed that Biden is “not doing a both sides scenario here” when it comes to addressing supporters of Israelis and Palestinians. 

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