update deskAntisemitism

White House: ‘Not going into specifics’ about tearing hostage posters

Also on Tuesday, Sen. John Fetterman said he will display posters until every hostage is returned, and King Charles condemned Hamas’s “barbaric acts of terrorism.”

Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, during a press conference on Nov. 7, 2023. Credit: YouTube/White House.
Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, during a press conference on Nov. 7, 2023. Credit: YouTube/White House.

When Peter Alexander, of ABC, asked whether the Biden administration condemns ripping down posters that show Hamas hostages in Gaza, Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, dodged the question on Tuesday.

“I hear you. I’m just not going to,” Jean-Pierre said. “I’m just not going to go into specifics on that particular thing. What I can say: There are real violent protests and threats that are happening right now. … That is something that we’re focused on, right?”

Also on Tuesday, Sen. John Fetterman (D-Penn.) shared a video of hostage posters lining his office. “In my front office, I have displayed the posters of the innocent Israelis kidnapped by Hamas,” he wrote. “They will stay up until every single person is safely returned home.”

Opening British Parliament for the first time in London on Tuesday, King Charles condemned Hamas’s “barbaric acts of terrorism against the people of Israel.”

In other antisemitism-related news, hundreds of anti-Israel protesters, who called for a ceasefire, staged a sit-in at the Statue of Liberty on Monday, shutting the landmark down. Led by anti-Israel group Jewish Voice for Peace and clad in all black, the activists unfurled banners stating “The whole world is watching” and “Never Again for anyone.”

Zohran Mamdani, a member of the state assembly who joined the protest, said that the United States is “allowing for a genocide to take place” and referred to “our supposed commitments to universal values of liberty and freedom.” (A socialist, Mamdani was arrested last month for protesting outside Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s home.)

The conservative actor Jon Voight disagreed with estranged daughter Angelina Jolie, who accused Israel of a “deliberate bombing of a trapped population who have nowhere to flee.” Also in California, people yelled “Heil Hitler” and flashed a Nazi salute as they drove by a pro-Israel rally.

In New York, Victoria Ruiz, a public defender who was filmed ripping down posters of Israeli hostages, resigned. (Another recent New York resignation was that of Jazmine Hughes, a former New York Times Magazine staff writer, who violated the company’s no-protests policy by signing a statement accusing Israel of genocide.)

On campuses, the FBI was alerted after University of Pennsylvania staff members received antisemitic emails threatening violence, and a masked protester carried the Hamas flag during a Students for Justice in Palestine rally at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.

Overseas, a vandal painted “death” and Stars of David on a kosher restaurant in Lyon, France (where a Jewish woman was stabbed in her home over the weekend), and someone wrote “Jews out” and “No Jews allowed” in French on a Paris storefront and on the sidewalk. In Strasbourg, someone painted swastikas and wrote “A good Jew is a dead Jew” and “Death to Jews” in French on a kindergarten wall. 

In Sweden, protesters burned an Israeli flag in front of a synagogue, and in Copenhagen, protesters chanted “Palestine is occupied. It must be solved with Jihad.” In Haarlem, Netherlands, someone stuck stickers on a wall reading in Dutch “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas” and “Hamas, Hamas, Zionists to the gas.”

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