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Campus Unrest Doesn’t Shift Biden’s Stance on Israel Policy, Remarks President

Biden's 2024 campaign (Credits: CNN)

US President Joe Biden addressed the ongoing pro-Palestinian protests on college campuses across the country on Thursday, stating that the demonstrations have not swayed his policy stance on Israel and Gaza.

In his most direct and forceful comments yet on the escalating unrest, Biden criticized some of the protests as “not peaceful,” citing instances of disruption to classes and upcoming graduation ceremonies, as well as vandalism, trespassing, and occupation of campus buildings.

Joe Biden (Credits: The Hill)

While emphasizing his commitment to defending free speech, Biden clearly distinguished between peaceful and violent protest. “Violent protest in America is not protected. Peaceful protest is,” he asserted at the White House.

Biden did not specifically name the colleges or universities where protests occurred. Still, his remarks came a day after nearly 300 protesters were arrested at Columbia University and the City College of New York, and pro-Palestine encampments were cleared from Columbia’s lawn.

The previous night, protesters had broken into a Columbia University building and barricaded themselves inside, prompting a robust response from law enforcement.

President Biden (Credits: Common Dreams)

Despite the tensions, Biden reassured that he will “always defend free speech” and reiterated that the United States is “not an authoritarian nation where we silence people or squash dissent.” He also ruled out deploying the National Guard to shut down the campus protests, opting for a more measured approach to managing the situation.

Biden’s comments mark a remarkable escalation in his administration’s response to the protests, which have spread across numerous college campuses in recent weeks. As the situation continues to reveal, it remains to be seen how the President’s stance will impact the trajectory of the protests and the broader debate on Israel and Gaza

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