House Speaker Johnson faces down hostile anti-Israel mob

House Speaker Johnson faces down hostile anti-Israel mob

House Speaker Mike Johnson addressed a hostile anti-Israel crowd at Columbia University’s campus. During his address, he called University President Minouche Shafik a “weak and inept leader,” calling on her to resign “if she cannot bring order to this chaos.” He demanded she stamp out “the virus of antisemitism.” He demanded drastic measures.

At various points in his speech, the crowd chanted, “Mike, you suck,” “Free, free Palestine,” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” a phrase that was classified by the House of Representatives as antisemitic last week.

“This is dangerous. This is not the First Amendment, this is not free expression,” Johnson said. “If this is not contained quickly and if these threats and intimidation are not stopped, there is an appropriate time for the National Guard,” he said.

Johnson faced off against the Gaza Solidarity Encampment, which took over the campus over one week ago and forced the University to announce hybrid classes for the rest of the semester. Shafik called on police to deal with the situation, leading to about 100 arrests. Similar demonstrations broke out at NYU, Yale, MIT, and other institutions.

“My message to the students inside the encampment is go back to class and stop the nonsense,” Johnson said. “Stop wasting your parents’ money.”

On Monday, President Biden was ambiguous in his response to a question about the protests.

“I condemn the antisemitic protests. That’s why I have set up a program to deal with that,” Biden said. “I also condemn those who don’t understand what’s going on with the Palestinians.”

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