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WATCH: AOC Praises Anti-Israel Campus Protests While Jewish Students Get Harassed  

Free Speech or Hate Speech? AOC Commends Anti-Israel Campus Demonstrations


Earlier this week, Rep. Alexandria Ocascio-Cortez (D-NY) made an appearance with President Joe Biden at a public event in Virginia in honor of Earth Day. However, she steered the focus away from the President’s strategies on environmental issues to heap accolades on the anti-Israel protests that are happening throughout higher education institutions across our great nation.

‘This day underscores the incredible potential we have when we join forces – young citizens, champions of the climate cause, workforce planners, and workers from an array of backgrounds, agitating en masse for a future they’re entitled to,’ the congresswoman from New York put forth. ‘It is particularly salient today as we appreciate the effect young people have on molding America, especially in light of peaceful protests led by diligent scholars at universities such as Columbia, Yale, Berkeley, and many more,’ Ocasio-Cortez added.

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Her remarks come in the wake of concerns voiced by Orthodox Rabbi Elie Buechler, who co-directs Columbia’s Jewish Learning Initiative. Through a WhatsApp broadcast to upwards of 250 Jewish students over the previous weekend, he cautioned that their university was no longer a haven in light of rising anti-Semitic demonstrations.

The events that have been unfolding on and around the campus in recent days are unsettling and heartbreaking, the rabbi relayed in his message. He particularly pointed out the previous night’s happenings as evidence that the university’s Public Safety department, coupled with the New York Police Department’s efforts, does not guarantee the security of Jewish students amidst the onslaught of heightened anti-Semitic sentiments and chaos.


According to Rabbi Buechler, ‘The upsetting reality permeating our campus has led me to firmly recommend that you head home at your earliest convenience and stay there until substantial improvements are recorded in the environment within and around the campus.’ He expressed deep sadness at dispensing such advice.

In the rabbi’s closing remarks, he appealed for better times, ‘Let us hope we soon experience more tolerant days on campus.’ He reasserted his sense of distress, stating that it shouldn’t be the responsibility of the Jewish students to secure their own safety. The amount of hate being experienced is unbearable for anyone, especially within an educational context.

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Videos capturing the events at the campus showed protestors voicing anti-Semitic slurs. Jewish scholars were told to ‘return to Poland’ and were insultingly labeled as ‘pigs’, coupled with death threats. These instances of blatant hostility did not escape the notice of the highest office in the nation.

However, despite the display of undisguised animosity towards Jewish students at Columbia, President Biden made a statement condemning not just the protestor’s actions but also those individuals who ‘fail to empathize with the Palestinian cause’.

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Rewriting the original narrative of these events, we must again underline the worrying tone of AOC’s speech. Rather than focusing on the environmental issue at hand, she diverts attention to praise campus protests which have escalated into a scene of hate and distrust.

Fanning the flames, she indiscriminately praises these student-led protests, casting a dangerous cloak of validation over them. It bears questioning whether this aligns with upholding the democratic values that our nation is revered for.

In an attempt to unify individuals for a common cause, she unintentionally or otherwise, stokes the fires of division, particularly concerning the anti-Israel sentiment that has been prominently displayed at institutions such as Columbia.

This divisive rhetoric creates an unsettling environment for Jewish students who are facing discrimination in an environment that should be promoting diversity, understanding, and education. These situations are particularly distressing considering they are occurring in institutions designed to shape young minds and encourage intellectual and social growth.

Biden’s response to these protests also bears unpacking. Though he condemns the anti-Semitic actions displayed at the protest, he also criticizes those who appear to be out of step with the thoughts on Palestine. This statement could be seen as playing both sides of the issue, a move that could cast doubts on his decisiveness and leadership.

Overall, this article’s events highlight a nation grappling with two significant issues – the need for climate policy reform and a painful crisis of anti-Semitic sentiment in places of higher learning. Politicians like AOC should be mindful that their rhetoric doesn’t endorse hate under the guise of protesting for a noble cause.

Further, it would be beneficial for President Biden to provide a more decisive stance on the issue, ensuring the safety of Jewish students and reinforcing a condemnation of any form of hate speech. Addressing environmental issues should not be used as a platform to indirectly condone school hostility.

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