OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre refused to label anti-Israel protesters on college campuses across the United States as “extremists,” despite antisemitic rhetoric, violence, and rising fear among Jewish students.
During a press briefing at the White House, Fox News’ Peter Doocy asked Jean-Pierre if President Joe Biden considered the protestors to be “extremists.”
Jean-Pierre also dodged when Doocy asked whether Biden saw the protests as youth just getting involved or if he thought the next generation was “doomed.”
Below is a transcript of the exchange:
DOOCY: “Thank you, Karine. Does President Biden think the anti-Israel protesters in this country are extremists?”
Jean-Pierre: “What I can say is, we’ve been very clear about this. When it comes to anti-Semitism, there’s no place — we have to make sure that we speak against it very loud and be — 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, where he saw neo-Nazis marching down the streets of Charlottesville with vile anti-Semitic, just hatred, and he 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, this kind of rhetoric.”
DOOCY: “We hear you guys, though, talk about extremists all the time, it is usually about MAGA extremists. So, what about these protesters who are making Jewish students feel unsafe on college campuses? Are they extremists?”
Jean-Pierre: “I’ve been very, very clear — I’ve been very, 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. And let — and let me be very clear. This is a president that has continued to have that fight in his office in this administration. When he repealed Trump’s Muslim ban on his very — in first day in office. That is something that this president did. He also established an inter-policy committee to counter islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and related forms of bias and discrimination. We have taken this very, very, very seriously, from the president all the way on down.”
DOOCY: “Does President Biden look at these anti-Israel protests on college campuses and think, it’s nice to see that the country’s youth are so involved, or does he think the next generation is doing it?”
Jean-Pierre: “Here’s the thing: There’s no place for hate in America.”
DOOCY: “But [inaudible] —“
Jean-Pierre: “No, no, no. I’m telling you, there’s no place for hate in America and we condemn any anti-Semitic threat or incident in the strongest terms. And you heard me say at the top. We — I gave a message to students who are feeling, who are feeling under threat right now, right? We’re tracking these threats very closely. We are there for them. No student should have to be able to go to class, live on campus in fear. And, you know, these incidents, these reported anti-Semitic incidents at schools and on campuses, that should not be. We have to condemn them. We have to condemn them.”