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SAUNDERS: Note to Hamas fans in college: antisemitism is not a major

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden stuck close to the White House on Wednesday while House Speaker Mike Johnson ventured to Columbia University amid out-of-control protests that effectively shuttered university classrooms.

In the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist massacre in Israel that left 1,200 dead, the progressive left has decided to protest the Jewish state, not Hamas. The movement has spread to campuses and cities across America.

So when Johnson showed up, protesters booed and shouted “We can’t hear you.” They even told the Louisiana Republican, “Mike, you suck.”

As the adult in New York, Johnson responded, “It does not matter who shouts in our faces. We’re going to do what’s right for America.”

“Go back to class and stop the nonsense,” the GOP speaker advised “the mob.” (His term, and he’s on the money.)

And: “Stop wasting your parents’ money,” as Rep. Mike Lawler, R-N.Y., had suggested.

According to the Department of Education, the cost of a year at Columbia University was $86,097 in 2021-22.

The poverty level in America is $52,720 — for a family of 8.

Most working stiffs probably wouldn’t even think of blocking college classes. Sadly, they lacked the opportunity to learn all there is to know about antisemitism, intimidation and mob rule. They didn’t benefit from the lectures of Columbia faculty members who formed a chain to keep journalists out of the encampment, according to National Review’s Zach Kessel.

News Nation anchor Dan Abrams railed against the pro-Palestinian encampments on campus and Columbia faculty who joined in the mayhem. “I think they should get fired for walking out on their jobs if they left,” the Columbia Law graduate said of participating teachers.

And: “I wholeheartedly support the arrest of the students, professors and outside agitators preventing everyone else from attending classes.”

Johnson entertained the idea of bringing in the National Guard as he called on Columbia President Nemat Minouche Shafik to resign if she couldn’t end the chaos. When you consider what she allowed to happen at Columbia, it’s hard to argue against him.

President Joe Biden has a problem. Asked his views on the protests, he delivered the sort of formulaic waffle of a response that falls flat:

“I condemn the antisemitic protests,” quoth Biden. “That’s why I have set up a program to deal with that. I also condemn those who don’t understand what’s going on with the Palestinians.” Biden will be in New York on Thursday, but no one expects him to address the hostile crowd as Johnson did.

In Texas, unlike New York, there will be consequences for protesters who broke the law.

“Arrests being made right now & will continue until the crowd disperses,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted about arrests at the University of Texas, Austin campus.

“These protesters belong in jail. Antisemitism will not be tolerated in Texas. Period. Students joining in hate-filled, antisemitic protests at any public college or university in Texas should be expelled.”

This isn’t a free speech issue. Students are free to say whatever they want. But they don’t have the right to shut down the academy and deprive others of an education they value. At least not in Texas.

Contact Review-Journal Washington columnist Debra J. Saunders at dsaunders@reviewjournal.com. Follow @debrajsaunders on X.

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