The White House issued a statement in response to the ongoing anti-Israel protests and encampment taking place at Columbia University, describing them as being, “Antisemitic, unconscionable, and dangerous.”

White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates issued a statement on Sunday acknowledging that American citizens have the “right to peaceful protest,” while adding that “calls for violence and physical intimidation” against the Jewish community are unacceptable.

In his statement, Bates said:

While every American has the right to peaceful protest, calls for violence and physical intimidation targeting Jewish students and the Jewish community are blatantly Antisemitic, unconscionable, and dangerous – they have absolutely no place on any college campus, or anywhere in the United States of America. And echoing the rhetoric of terrorist organizations especially in the wake of the worst massacre committed against the Jewish people since the Holocaust, is despicable. We condemn these statements in the strongest terms.

Bates’ statement comes as anti-Israel protests at various universities have popped up over the course of the past few days. Several pro-Palestinian student groups at the University of North Carolina, Boston University, and the Ohio State University announced they would hold rallies and protests in support of the encampment at Columbia University.

“Gaza Solidarity Encampment” demonstration is held on South Lawn of Columbia University campus with more than 100 students who were demanding that Columbia divest from corporations with ties to Israel in New York on April 17, 2024. (Selcuk Acar/Anadolu via Getty Images)

On early Wednesday morning, protesters reportedly set up an anti-Israel encampment on the lawn of Columbia University. On Thursday, several students, including Isra Hirsi, the daughter of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), were suspended from Barnard College over their involvement in the encampment.

More than 100 pro-Palestinian protesters involved in the encampment, including Hirsi, were also arrested on Thursday.

Despite the arrests, protesters were recorded placing tents in the encampment on Sunday.

Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA), who has come out in support of Israel and criticized anti-Israel protesters, wrote in a post on X that he agreed “with the White House” labeling the protests as antisemitic, unconscionable, and dangerous.

“Add some tiki torches and it’s Charlottesville for these Jewish students,” Fetterman added, calling for Columbia University President Minouche Shafik to do her job “or resign.”

President Joe Biden also issued a statement ahead of the upcoming Passover Jewish holiday.

In his statement, Biden wrote:

As Jews mark Passover with storytelling, songs, and rituals, they will also read from the Haggadah how, in every generation, they have been targeted by those who would seek to destroy them. This year, those words carry deeper resonance and pain in the wake of Hamas’ unspeakable evil on October 7th – the deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust. More than 1,200 people were brutally massacred. Women and girls were subjected to appalling sexual violence. More than 250 innocents were taken hostage, including Americans. We can never forget the horror of Hamas’ despicable atrocities.

Biden continued on to call out the “alarming surge of Antisemitism” happening in “schools, communities, and online.” He continued, “Silence is complicity. Even in recent days, we’ve seen harassment and calls for violence against Jews. This blatant Antisemitism is reprehensible and dangerous – and it has absolutely no place on college campuses, or anywhere in our country.”