update deskU.S. News

Kaine responds to anti-Israel activists: ‘This crisis has spiraled out of control’

The senator received a request for an end to aid for Israel and amnesty for student protesters.

Sen. Tim Kaine
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) in 2019. Credit: U.S. Senate Official Portrait.

A group of so-called “peace activists” that delivered an open letter to Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) received a reply last week deflecting their demands.

Anti-Israel activists asked Kaine to support university administrators meeting with students; denounce police action against protesters on April 29; and insist on disclosures of and divestments from the school’s investments in Israeli companies.

The letter concluded with a call for Kaine to end U.S. aid to Israel.

Kaine responded on May 9, saying that “Israel has a right and responsibility to defend itself from Hamas and from Iran—which launched a direct attack on Israel last month—and others that share a stated goal of destroying Israel.”

He told the potential boycotters that “this crisis has spiraled out of control, putting civilians, U.S. servicemembers and aid workers throughout the region at serious risk.” He vowed to “continue to call for a deal to release the hostages held by Hamas, establish a ceasefire and deliver more humanitarian aid into Gaza.”

Kaine did not commit to the activists’ demands for intervention on state campuses in their favor.

“Ultimately, decisions regarding college and university leadership and policy should be made by school administrators, boards, students and parents—not by Congress,” the senator wrote. “Absent extreme circumstances, campus security departments are well-suited to handle campus protests.”

In a statement to JNS, a Kaine spokesperson emphasized that the senator insisted on protests conforming to policies and laws that “include protections against hate crimes, discrimination and harassment.”

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