". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


Violent Anti-Israel Encampments ‘Can’t Be Allowed under First Amendment,’ Congressman Says

April 30, 2024

As anti-Israel protests continue to rise, some authorities have decided it’s time for the campus chaos to meet a campus crackdown. Many of these demonstrations have become violent and disruptive. Some universities such as Columbia and Georgetown have students cluttering school grounds with encampments and pro-Palestine signs promoting ceasefires and anti-Semitic sentiments. And as further evidence of these disruptive protests, University of Southern California (USC) recently announced the cancellation of their May commencement ceremony due to safety concerns.

But amid the cries of anti-Israel protestors, some are starting to say enough is enough. USC’s encampment led to the arrest of 93 students as well as off-campus activists. After protestors at Columbia were warned that their encampments went against university policies, NYPD entered the scene, setting up barricades. But according to The Daily Signal’s Jarrett Stepman, who witnessed the NYC protests outside the Ivy League school, the crowd still remained chanting two hours after their deadline to stop. In response, on the following Monday, the university released a statement that said the school had “begun suspending students as part of this next phase … to ensure safety on … campus.”

In addition, Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) said “no encampments will be allowed” at the University of Texas and that “arrests are being made.” There also continue to be arrests at other university demonstrations across the country. But as CBS News highlighted, “Not all universities have responded … with arrests.” The U.S. watches “as university officials grapple with a crisis, really, of their own making,” said Family Research Council President Tony Perkins.

What is really behind these demonstrations? This question was raised on Monday’s episode of “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins,” and as far as Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) is concerned, it can be tied to the way the Biden administration has failed to take charge since the October 7 attacks. “I think the lack of leadership coming from the top at the White House … has enabled this to take place,” he argued.

Walberg went on to observe that three years ago, at the inauguration, President Joe Biden “said he was going to be a president for all the people, and he was going to unite this country.” But “this country is divided more than ever,” Walberg asserted. While demonstrations on college campuses are “part of college life,” he insisted, what we’re seeing are “violent” demonstrations “that make certain students, in this case, Jews, fear for their lives and their academic careers. … It’s an atrocious time on campus. It has to stop.”

Perkins noted these most recent demonstrations are not the first examples “we’ve seen [of] college administrators … fostering an environment for this type of lawlessness.” And it’s because of this lawlessness, he elaborated, that House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and some of his colleagues went to Columbia to emphasize that Congress should consider how “billions of dollars in taxpayer money” is being used at these universities whose “administrations cannot get their acts together.”

Walberg agreed, highlighting that “removing funds” may be “the only tool that we have that might get their attention.” These universities have “a total lack of leadership,” he added, which makes them “unwilling to follow the rules from the get-go.” And as a result, “[W]e have [protests] escalating all across the country.” While Walberg admitted there are some universities that have “significantly stood up,” there are still many cases of colleges and their leadership “propagandizing [students] to be not only anti-Israel and anti-Semitic, but anti-American as well.” To Walberg, this is not only “a danger,” but “something that can’t be allowed under First Amendment liberties.”

Perkins agreed. “We’ve seen … the pressure put on some of these institutions” from various sources, and that pressure has led to “hearings delving into these issues,” some of which have “actually led to results.” But as Walberg emphasized, what’s occurring on campus is largely related to the “propaganda that’s coming in from Russia, from China, and certainly from Iran.”

He continued, “When Iran says that Israel is ‘the little Satan’ and the United States is ‘the big Satan,’ and both should be wiped off the face of this earth, we ought to believe … that they will do what is necessary to break us down.” He explained that Iran knows Israel won’t stop fighting, as their survival is threatened. But there’s something the U.S. should be aware of, as Walberg put it, because if Iran “can break down America from the inside, what a great victory that could be” for them.

The destruction is meant to be incremental. The goal for the opponents of America is to break down college campuses which leads to “breaking down the families, breaking down … our morality, [and] breaking down the areas of education that are supposed to be fostering this great” country. “We have to keep our eyes open,” Walberg warned.

Perkins added that one way conservatives can fight back is by “shining a light on” the destructive nature of these protests, especially by those in Congress. Even if some lawmakers don’t “have the authority to stop it,” he concluded, they “can create the pressure by exposing it.”

Sarah Holliday is a reporter at The Washington Stand.