Biden Spox Likens Today’s Anti-Israel Protesters to Racists at Charlottesville

The White House press secretary tries to blame a Republican for the leftists turning on Jews on American campuses.

AP/Steve Helber, file
Demonstrators and counter demonstrators on August 12, 2017, at Charlottesville, Virginia. AP/Steve Helber, file

For a glimpse of the way President Biden lately is shrinking from a direct confrontation with the current wave of campus antisemitism, feature the White House news briefing yesterday. The moment was set up, as it often is at such briefings, by Peter Doocy in respect of Fox News. “Does President Biden,” he asked, addressing the press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, with an apt question, “think the anti-Israel protesters in this country are extremists?” 

“We’ve been very clear about this,” Ms. Jean-Pierre responded, “When it comes to antisemitism, there is no place. We have to make sure that we speak against it very loud and be, uh, and be very clear about that. Remember, what the president decided — when the president decided to run for president, is what he saw in Charlottesville in 2017. He saw neo-Nazis marching down the streets of Charlottesville with vile, antisemitic, just hatred.” 

Mr. Biden, she added, “was very clear then, and he’s very clear now. He’s taken actions against this over the past two years and he’s continued to be clear. There is no place, no place for this type of vile and despite — despite — this kind of rhetoric.” Upon which Mr. Doocy said in his followup: “So what about these protesters who are making Jewish students feel unsafe on college campuses? Are they extremists?”

Ms. Jean-Pierre: “I’ve been very clear. We are calling out any form of hate. Any form of hate. It is not acceptable, it should not be acceptable here, and we are going to continue to call that out,” declared Jean-Pierre. “And let me be very clear, this is a president that has continued to have that fight in his office, in this administration, you know, when he repealed Trump’s Muslim ban on his very first day in office.”

Rattled on she: “That is something this president did. He also established an inter-policy committee to counter Islamophobia, antisemitism, and related forms of bias and discrimination. We’ve taken this very, very seriously, from the president all the way down.” For President Biden’s spokeswoman to bring up Charlottesville in this context is an attempt to draw scrutiny away from the left wing of Mr. Biden’s party and toward the right. 

The rally in Charlottesville in 2017 was not what Mr. Doocy was asking about. Nor does the hostility to Jews on campus today have anything to do with Islamophobia. Or with President Trump’s closing our borders to Muslims from terrorist countries with inadequate domestic security. What is happening on our campuses is highly educated students — and professors — wheeling on their Jewish and Zionist classmates or students.

Ms.  Jean-Pierre’s remarks Monday were a missed opportunity for a wake-up call to the left wing of the Democratic party. NBC News reports that many Jewish liberals feel “abandoned” by those on the left  “they thought were friends” but who have shown “little sympathy for the Israelis killed” and who were “focusing instead on the plight of Palestinians.” It’s a “long-stifled debate” in the Democratic party, NBC says, “now spilling into public view.”

Coming into view, NBC suggests, is an “antisemitism that has been allowed to fester on the left for years.” Mr. Biden has been in some ways exemplary, but not in exploiting the Charlottesville rally to warn that re-electing Mr. Trump would “fundamentally alter the character of this nation.” The protests today suggest that the moral danger stems from leftist factions of Mr. Biden’s own Democratic party. To which we can but say — politician, heal thyself.


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