Lawmakers Call for Accountability Over Pro-Hamas Campus Violence

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(Casey Harper, The Center Square) Pro-Hamas demonstrations on college campuses have become increasingly intense, and even violent in recent days, pushing lawmakers to call for a change.

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., sent a letter this week to the Columbia University Board of Trustees with an ultimatum: “take action against anti[-S]emitism or lose federal funding.”

“The anti-Israel mobs that have taken over Columbia University in New York City are as disturbing as they are un-American,” Scott said in the letter. “Jewish students no longer feel safe on Columbia’s campus given the persistent threats of violence. One student was assaulted by a pro-Hamas demonstrator over the weekend. This is not a peaceful demonstration supporting a social or civil cause.”

Scott’s letter comes after a Jewish student on Yale’s campus was reportedly stabbed in the eye by a Palestinian flag at a pro-Hamas demonstration. New York University students and faculty conducted a walk-out to protest the pro-Hamas protests. Police arrested about 150 pro-Hamas protesters at NYU and Yale, according to media reports.

New England Patriots team owner Robert Kraft publicly announced he was ending his donations to Columbia over the antisemitic protests.

The on-campus protests kicked off after the Hamas terror group invaded Israel Oct. 7 and killed over 1,000 people, including many civilians, some of whom were also raped, as well as children who were killed by Hamas. Israel has responded with a prolonged bombing of Gaza, targeting Hamas members. Now, though, Iran and Israel have exchanged fire, escalating tensions in the region.

As The Center Square previously reported, video of the protests on Columbia’s campus show protesters chanting calls for violence.

  • “We say justice, you say how? Burn Tel Aviv to the ground!”

  • “Hamas we love you. We support your rockets too!”

  • “Red, black, green, and white, we support Hamas’ fight!”

  • “It is right to rebel, let Hamas give them hell!”

Scott has, along with U.S. Sen. Tim Scott., R-S.C., introduced the Stop Antisemitism on College Campuses Act, which would end federal funding for colleges and universities “that support, authorize, or facilitate events that promote antisemitism.”

“As members of the Board of Trustees for Columbia University, you must use the power of your position to demand action from the administration, or remove the current leadership and put in place an administration that will ensure the safety of your students. If you fail to do this, Congress will act,” the letter said. “We will not sit silently while American students are threatened by terrorist sympathizers that call for the eradication of Jewish people and the destruction of Israel.”

In a similar move, a coalition of senators sent a letter to the Biden administration calling on the U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of Education to restore order on the campuses.

“You need to take action to restore order and protect Jewish students on our college campuses,” the letter said. “President Biden issued a statement on Sunday, purporting to condemn the outbreak of anti-Semitism. If that statement was serious, it must be accompanied by immediate action from your departments.”

House Speaker Mike Johnson called on the president of Columbia University to resign for shutting down classes after letting pro-Hamas protests get out of hand, the latest development in chaos unfolding on campuses nationwide.

Johnson joined Jewish students on Columbia’s campus and called on Columbia University President Minouche Shafik to resign, calling her a “weak leader.”

“They cannot even guarantee the safety of Jewish students?” Johnson said on the Hugh Hewitt show. “They are expected to run for their lives and stay home from class? It’s maddening. …

“What we’re seeing on these college campuses across the country is disgusting and unacceptable, and every leader, every political official, every citizen of good conscience has to speak out and say that this is not who we are in America, and we have got to have accountability, and that’s what me and my colleagues are going to be working on.

Even Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called out the antisemitism on American campuses.

“Anti-Semitism on campuses in the United States is reminiscent of what happened in German universities in the 1930s,” he said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. “The world cannot stand idly by.”

Columbia University did not respond to a request for comment.

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