Biden education chief slams 'anti-Semitic' and 'anti-Muslim' hate, silent on protecting Jewish students

As anti-Israel protests on the Columbia University campus turned into anti-Jewish hatred, President Biden's Department of Education spoke out Tuesday after days of silence.

Since last week, demonstrators on the New York campus have spent days protesting Israel's war against Hamas terrorists, forcing authorities to arrest more than 100 agitators. Incidents included a young woman holding a sign with an arrow pointing at Jewish students reading “Al-Qasam's next targets” and anti-Israel agitators shouting “We are Hamas” and “We don't want no Zionists here.”

A campus rabbi sent a message to students warning that the weekend's events made clear that Columbia University Public Safety and the New York City Police Department “cannot guarantee the safety of Jewish students face extreme anti-Semitism and lawlessness,” and urged Jewish students to stay home. “until the reality on and around campus improves significantly.”

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, who recently touted his agency's harsh crackdown on two of the nation's largest Christian universities, addressed the unrest Tuesday in an article on on college campuses is unacceptable” and that he is “deeply concerned about what is happening at Columbia University.


Miguel Cardona

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona remained silent as anti-Israel protests on the Columbia University campus turned into anti-Jewish hatred. (Getty Images)

“Hate has no place in our schools. All education leaders must definitively oppose hatred, anti-Semitism, anti-Arab and anti-Muslim sentiments,” Cardona said.

When asked by Fox News Digital if he would call for protections for Jewish students on campus who feel unsafe or what steps his office would take to address the problem, Cardona's office did not immediately respond.

“Universities perform at their best when they foster the respectful exchange of diverse viewpoints and constructive debate. Our Office for Civil Rights interprets the civil rights laws we enforce consistent with the freedom of expression and other rights protected by the First Amendment But we will not tolerate hatred or harassment that targets students because of who they are or who they are perceived to be,” Cardona said in the statement.


The organizers of the protest – Columbia University Apartheid Divest and Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine – held what they called a “Gaza solidarity encampment” on campus and closed off a central lawn of the university.

Protesters called on Israel to end its war against Hamas in Gaza and for the university to divest from companies with ties to Israel.

Monday morning, the unrest worsened to the point of leading the university president to make all classes virtual. President Biden said Monday he condemns “anti-Semitic protests,” as well as “those who don't understand what's happening with the Palestinians.”

By Monday evening, the unrest had spread to other campuses. The NYPD made several arrests of anti-Israel agitators at New York University, where some demonstrators could be heard chanting “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” – a slogan many consider a call for genocide. Others were seen marching on the Israeli flag.

President Biden said he would “implement the first-ever national strategy to combat anti-Semitism, putting the full force of the federal government into protecting the Jewish community.”

But on Tuesday, more than two dozen Republican lawmakers told Cardona and Attorney General Merrick Garland they must do more to quell the protests, calling on agency heads to prosecute those who make threats, revoke the visas for non-citizens participating in the “promotion of terrorism” and holding school administrators accountable.

Anti-Israel agitators build encampment on Columbia University campus

Anti-Israel agitators build an encampment on the campus of Columbia University in New York, Monday, April 22, 2024. (Pierre Gerber)

Monday evening marked the first day of Passover, a major Jewish holiday.

“What we are witnessing on and around campus is terrible and tragic,” Rabbi Elie Buechler, director of the Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus, told his students in a message Sunday.

“May we soon see better days on campus,” he said.


At Yale University, 60 people were arrested for refusing to voluntarily leave part of the Connecticut campus, the school's president announced Monday evening.

Last year, the Ministry of Education opened investigations into at least six middle and primary and secondary schools for anti-Semitism or Islamophobia. The list of schools included three Ivy League colleges: the University of Pennsylvania, Cornell University and Columbia.

“While we cannot comment on ongoing investigations, every student deserves to feel a sense of safety and belonging at school,” Cardona said Tuesday.

Last week, Cardona vowed to shut down one of the nation's largest Christian schools, Grand Canyon University, after fining it $37.7 million following allegations that The Arizona-based higher education institution allegedly misled students about the cost of its doctoral programs for several years. years.

The university has strongly denied the allegations. School officials told Fox News Digital that the agency's crackdown was rooted in “deep-seated bias.”

Anti-Israel agitators gather on the campus of Columbia University in New York

Anti-Israel agitators gather on the campus of Columbia University in New York, Monday, April 22, 2024. (Pierre Gerber)

Arizona State Superintendent Tom Horne spoke out against Cardona's actions, calling them “unjustified and unfair.”

“In the United States, anyone accused of wrongdoing is presumed innocent and entitled to their trial. Secretary Cardona's threat is contrary to these constitutional guarantees and unworthy of his position,” Horne told Fox New Digital.

Last month, the Department of Education fined Liberty University – another of America's largest Christian universities – $14 million for violating the Jeanne Clery Public Policy Disclosure Act. Campus Security and the Campus Crime Statistics Act, or Clery Act, particularly with respect to its published crimes. statistics and treatment of sexual assault survivors.


The amount LU is ordered to pay is the largest fine ever imposed for violations of the Clery Act.

Liberty officials claimed the agency “used a completely different standard” when investigating the school's compliance with federal college campus security standards. An official told Fox News Digital that the review was “unprecedented” and lacked a basis for “imposing such excessive fines given the department's long-standing precedent.”

Louis Casiano, Danielle Wallace, Julia Johnson and Jamie Joseph of Fox News Digital contributed to this report.


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