NO, JOE: Biden Condemns Something That Never Happened | Steve Berman

After an extended silence while Jew hatred burned on American campuses, funded and planned by the propaganda arms for Hamas, President Joe Biden finally chimed in for the rule of law. Thank you.

In a short speech to the press in the White House Roosevelt Room, the president condemned violent protest. “We are a civil society, and order must prevail,” he said. “Threatening people, intimidating people, instilling fear in people is not peaceful protest. It’s against the law.” Good words, and true. But forgive me if I’m not completely impressed, or satisfied.

Biden went on, “Look, it’s basically a matter of fairness.”

“People have the right to get an education, the right to get a degree, the right to walk across the campus safely without fear of being attacked.” What people was Biden talking about?

But let’s be clear about this as well.  There should be no place on any campus, no place in America for antisemitism 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.

Oh, he’s talking about violence against Jewish students, and also “Islamophobia, or discrimination against Arab Americans or Palestinian Americans.” Of course, Biden is right. There is no place for it. But the president spent seven words of a very short speech mentioning violence against Jews, and eight words defending the right of Arab or Palestinian Americans to live hate-free.

Yet only one group is suffering violence against students, and in fact hate crimes of all kinds. Let’s be clear about this: nowhere in America are there violent protests against Palestinian Americans or Arabs. There is no campus facing a shutdown or sending in police in riot gear because Jews are occupying buildings and then demanding to be fedby the school they’re protesting.

Statista published the chart of 2022 hate crimes by religion. There were more hate crimes against Jews than against all other religions, combined. There were a total of 158 hate crimes reported against Muslims, which is seven times less than the 1,122 reported against Jews. And it hasn’t gotten better: it’s gotten much worse.

So why did Biden spend half his speech talking about free speech rights, and that the right to live without threat of violence targeted at a specific group extends to everyone, when we all know that “what’s going on on our college campuses here” (his words) is about protests against Israel that have morphed (not surprisingly) into violent mobs chasing Jews out of their own quad, and forcing universities to cancel commencement activities due to threats against Jews.

The current problem on campus isn’t Islamophobia. Of course, Islamophobia is wrong, and the jingoistic, and false, claims made by Donald Trump in his 2016 campaign about how they celebrated in New Jersey (and how he was helping in New York, also false), are dead wrong. But that’s not what is in play here.

All President Biden had to say is that the current violence against Jews, and the current unlawful violent protests against Israel on campuses is to be condemned. It would have been nice to add a sentence noting that the violence on campus is nothing compared to what Hamas did on October 7th, but I can live without that.

Peaceful protests against Israel would be legitimate free speech. As much as I hate seeing crowds with Palestinian flags and bullhorns marching on the streets of my own city, I realize that as long as they’re not violent (and under the watchful eye of many police officers), they are within their First Amendment rights to say what they want. But when those crowds agree with the Palestinian man who visited the Auschwitz-Berkenau Holocaust Memorial Museum and called on Jews to return there, it ceases to be a protest against Israel, and it becomes a strident call for genocide against Jews.

When protesters start chanting certain things, the character of their words stops being some kind of political statement, and shoots into the realm of overt racism. When they say “go back to Poland,” we Jews hear “drop dead, Jew.” When they engage in victim-blaming, or Holocaust-justification, it’s not political free speech. It’s hate.

Nowhere on American college campuses do you see crowds chanting for Israel to finish off the Palestinians in Gaza. Make no mistake, if Israel wanted to do that, they could. It’s bad enough that Israel has wiped most of the urban areas in Gaza down to a pile of rubble. I can’t justify Israel’s heavy hand. But a heavy hand is not genocide. Israel is at war, because Hamas committed an act of war against Israel. You might not think it’s fair that Hamas is at war against a foe that has an enormous military advantage; but in 1982, Argentina went to war against England over the Falkland Islands. That wasn’t fair either, but Argentina started it and England finished it.

We didn’t see Argentinian-Americans burning Queen Elizabeth II in effigy on campuses in 1982. The war was far away and we watched the slow steaming of the Royal Navy to the bottom of the world with detached curiosity and little apprehension. There would be no excuse if Argentinian students took over a campus and grabbed Brits who happened to walk by. I know it’s an extreme example, but here we are with an ally fighting a war 10,000 kilometers away, and we are doing everything we possibly can, politically, and diplomatically, to bring a cease-fire to that war, and to bring the remaining hostages held by Hamas back to their families.

Jew-hatred in America, out in the open and quite violent, is not helping Israelis see their enemies in a better light. It’s only illuminating how quickly the world can move from “never again” to “go to the ovens” while Holocaust survivors still walk the earth.

President Biden missed a giant opportunity to give Jews something to help us believe that he really does care, beyond going for “political points.” I thank Biden for standing with Israel, and for all the aid, military presence, and moral support he and the U.S. government have given. But…that speech was not an unequivocal condemnation of antisemitism. It was a politically-calculated speech that spend more words condemning something that isn’t happening to please people who support the students who are actually threatening Jews.

Mr. President, thanks but no thanks.

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevengberman.

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