President Joe Biden, in an unscheduled speech at the White House Thursday, tried to walk a fine line between advocating for the free speech rights of pro-Palestinian protesters at college campuses while condemning the occupation of buildings and threats and intimidation reported toward Jewish students.

Biden in his address to the nation said it was a “moment for clarity.”

“Violent protest is not protected; peaceful protest is,” he said. “It is against the law when violence occurs. Destroying property is not a peaceful protest. It’s against the law. Vandalism, trespassing, breaking windows, shutting down campuses, forcing the cancellation of classes and graduation: none of this is a peaceful protest.”

The president said there is no room for hate speech “whether it’s antisemitism, Islamophobia, or discrimination against Arab Americans or Palestinian Americans.” He also condemned racism.

After his remarks, Biden responded briefly to shouted questions from the members of the media who had hastily assembled.

Asked if he would be reconsidering U.S. policy toward Israel in light of the protests, he responded, “No.”

Asked if he thought the National Guard should intervene in the protests, he also replied, “No.”


©2024 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Visit at Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.