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At Holocaust event, Biden, Johnson, Jeffries condemn antisemitic protests in US

“We told the world that Israel and the Jewish people are not alone,” the House Speaker said.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., as part of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Days of Remembrance on May 7, 2024. Credit: U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

U.S. President Joe Biden and House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) condemned the antisemitic campus protests that have proliferated across the United States while at a Holocaust remembrance ceremony on Tuesday.

Speaking at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s annual days of commemoration event at the Capitol building in Washington, Biden compared the denial of the murder of 6 million Jews in the Holocaust to ongoing efforts to deny Hamas’s massacre in Israel on Oct. 7.

“Here we are, not 75 years later but just seven and a half months later, and people are already forgetting,” Biden said. “They’re already forgetting that Hamas unleashed this terror, that it was Hamas that brutalized Israelis, that it was Hamas who took and continues to hold hostages. I have not forgotten, nor have you, and we will not forget.”

Biden noted that Jewish students on campuses across the country had been “blocked, harassed, attacked while walking to class” and been met with slogans calling for the destruction of the Jewish state.

“Too many people denying, downplaying, rationalizing, ignoring the horrors of the Holocaust and Oct. 7, including Hamas’s appalling use of sexual violence to torture and terrorize Jews,” Biden said. “It’s absolutely despicable, and it must stop.”

Johnson (R-La.) issued a similar warning, saying that it is time to “put an end to this madness” of Jew-hatred on college campuses.

“The very campuses that were once the envy of the international academy have succumbed to an antisemitic virus,” he said. “Students who were known for producing academic papers are now known for stabbing their Jewish peers in the eyes with Palestinian flags. Faculty who once produced cutting-edge research, are now linking arms with pro-Hamas protesters and calling for global intifada.”

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) also decried Jew-hatred at Tuesday’s event, saying that it must be confronted along with other forms of bigotry.

“We must crush antisemitism along with racism, sexism, Islamophobia, xenophobia, homophobia and all other forms of hatred together,” he said. “That’s the American way. Together. And together, we will defeat antisemitism with the fierce urgency of now. That’s a moral necessity.”

Johnson also touted the House’s passage of a $95 billion supplemental foreign aid package in April with billions in military aid for Israel.

“The reason that act was so significant, the reason that our vote was so important is because as a Congress, together, we sent a message,” Johnson said. “We bore witness to the past, and we told the world that Israel and the Jewish people are not alone.”

Biden reiterated his position on Tuesday that U.S. support for Israel is “ironclad” while at the same time acknowledging that there are times when Washington and Jerusalem “disagree.”

He added that his administration is “working around the clock” to free the remaining hostages who have been held captive by Hamas for exactly seven months.

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