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25 Apr, 2024 17:07

US campus protesters akin to 1930s Nazis – Netanyahu

The Israeli Prime Minister has denounced as anti-Semitic the growing surge of pro-Palestine protests at American universities
US campus protesters akin to 1930s Nazis – Netanyahu

Pro-Palestinian protests sweeping across university campuses in the US are anti-Semitic and must be stopped, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said, claiming that mobs have been attacking Jewish students and faculty members.

His comments come after US police arrested more than 80 protesters on Wednesday in a crackdown on the pro-Palestine demonstrations taking place at some 21 universities in states like Massachusetts, California and New York, among others.

The students have been demanding that the US government cease all funding for the Israeli military and “stop giving them any more money to continue this genocide,” referring to the ongoing Israeli offensive against Hamas militants in Gaza.

In a video published on his X account on Wednesday, Netanyahu said that the protests on America’s college campuses are “horrific” and claimed that “anti-Semitic mobs have taken over leading universities” and are calling for “the annihilation of Israel.”

“This is reminiscent of what happened in German universities in the 1930s. It’s unconscionable. It has to be stopped. It has to be condemned and condemned unequivocally,” the prime minister said, in an apparent reference to the Nazi Student League, which persecuted German students and university faculty members who were not of Aryan descent or were considered political opponents of the Nazi regime.

The Israeli leader also slammed what he called the “shameful” response of some university presidents to the protests. “More has to be done,” Netanyahu urged, saying there has been an “exponential rise of antisemitism throughout America and throughout Western societies.”

The Israeli leader also claimed the student protesters “want to kill Jews wherever they are” and are chanting slogans like “Death to the Jews.”

Earlier this week, Rabbi Elie Buechler urged Jewish students of New York’s prestigious Columbia University to stay home, claiming they were no longer safe amid ongoing pro-Palestinian protests. That was after a group of Jewish counter-protesters on Sunday got into an altercation with demonstrators from a Gaza Solidarity Encampment on university grounds.

The White House has denounced any “calls for violence and physical intimidation targeting Jewish students and the Jewish community.”

Activists, however, have denied that the protests are anti-Semitic and say many Jewish students and organizations are involved in organizing the demonstrations. Hundreds of Columbia faculty members staged a walkout on Monday to criticize the university leadership and to express their solidarity with the protesters, after the university president called police to the campus.

History professor Christopher Brown branded the move as “unprecedented, unjustified, disproportionate, divisive and dangerous.”

A surge of demonstrations followed the deadly attack on Israel by the Palestinian armed group Hamas last October. The students are protesting Israel’s relentless retaliatory bombardment of Gaza, which has caused unprecedented destruction in the enclave and has left more than 34,000 dead, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.