A Republican lawmaker from New Jersey praised Speaker Mike Johnson’s decision to visit Columbia University in response to the anti-Israel protests on campus and blasted President Biden’s leadership on the issue that has spread to campuses nationwide.

October 7th should have been the absolute wake-up call as to what Hamas and company are all about, Iran too, so Speaker Johnson did a magnificent job,”Smith told Fox News Digital this week about Speaker Johnson’s visit to Columbia’s campus contrasted with President Biden’s leadership on the issue.

“Not so with the president. The president has been nowhere to be found. He’s been AWOL. He’s been enabling. He’s so worried about losing Dearborn, Michigan votes that he has thrown Jews and the Israeli people under the bus and I think it’s shameful. Shameful. And he needs to get his voice and speak out boldly. Zero tolerance for antisemitism.

Michigan is seen by many as a “must win” state for Biden this November after he narrowly won there by less than 3 points. In recent months, a growing number of Palestinians in Dearborn, Michigan and other places in the state have suggested they will drop their support of him if he continues to support Israel’s military operations in Gaza. 


L – Protester breaks window at Columbia University R – Joe Biden (Getty Images)

We can hope but I think it’s hope that’s probably not going to happen,” Smith said when asked if he believes Biden should visit one of the many college campuses experiencing anti-Israel protests.

Fox News Digital asked Smith what he hopes to see the Biden administration do going forward.

“To speak out on behalf of the Israelis, to support the Israelis in their all-out effort to rid themselves of the Hamas cancer. Hamas, again, is committed to one thing, killing Jews. Even when you read the Hamas charter it says don’t enter into peace conferences. They want to kill. They want to commit genocide and that’s what they are in the process of doing. That’s what Iran is all about under its misguided leadership.”

“I thought, here we go again,” Smith told Fox News Digital when asked about Columbia University’s recent decision to cancel its graduation due to the anti-Israel protests that led to violence, harassment, and arrests on its campus in recent weeks.

People who are committed, that is to say, the Students for Free Palestine and others, to Hamas, which is a terrorist organization and a organization that promotes genocide against Jews and Israel,” Smith said. “To think that they’ve now canceled the graduation exercises. The fact that they have, in my opinion, not just there, but throughout the country, including at Rutgers in my state, they’re spewing a creed of hatred and antisemitism that puts students at risk and raises the prospects of violence, to a very, very high level.”


A student protester parades a Palestinian flag outside the entrance to Hamilton Hall on the campus of Columbia University, Tuesday, April 30, 2024, in New York.  (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, Pool)

Smith visited Rutgers University in his home state of New Jersey last week in response to an anti-Israel protest on that campus where students listed demands including the schools divestment from Israeli entities.

We just had a situation at Rutgers where there was another encampment like we’re seeing all over,” Smith explained. “It’s all organized. It’s nothing sporadic about this. It’s all organized. And they made ten demands. They called it requests of the administration and we’re told that eight of those requests have already been given and two of them are under serious consideration.”

Smith said divestment is one of the demands being considered by Rutgers and he believes that BDS is simply an effort to “delegitimize Israel” and turn it into a “pauper state.”

” The president has been nowhere to be found. He’s been AWOL. He’s been enabling. He’s so worried about losing Dearborn, Michigan votes,” Rep. Chris Smith said to Fox News Digital. (Rep. Chris Smith’s Office)

“It’s a terrible, terrible movement and yet Rutgers has said, well, let’s talk about it,” Smith continued.  “They have agreed to set up this cultural center which I think will become potentially a haven for antisemitic hatred. The president is asked to apologize for the Israeli genocide. He ought to be asking Hamas and the students to apologize for supporting, beginning on October 7th but also before that and now after that, a genocidal regime.”


Biden has been heavily criticized for his response to the anti-Israel protests across the country and many took issue with his decisions to wait 9 days before giving an on-camera comment and declining to send in the National Guard to restore order.

“So let me be clear,” Biden said last week. “Violent protest is not protected. Peaceful protest is. It’s against the law when violence occurs. Destroying property is not a peaceful protest. It’s against the law. Vandalism. Trespassing. Breaking windows. Shutting down campuses. Forcing the cancelation of classes and graduations. None of this is a peaceful protest. Threatening people. Intimidating people. Instilling fear in people is not peaceful protest. It’s against the law.”

Fox News Digital reached out to the White House for comment.

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