Karine Jean-Pierre, the press secretary for the White House, wouldn’t say anything bad about the pro-Palestine activists who have been tearing down posters of Israeli hostages in cities across the country.
After the terrorist attack by Hamas on Israel on October 7, pro-Palestine activists tore down old Jewish American posters depicting hostages and kidnapped Israelis. People who are against the posters have called them “disgusting” and “bait.”
Peter Alexander, the chief White House correspondent for NBC, asked Jean-Pierre if the White House thought these kinds of actions were wrong or if they saw them as a way to protest peacefully.
“Look, I — I’ve sorta, kinda seen the reporting here and there. I think it was from last week,” Jean-Pierre responded before Alexander added that there were “30 million videos” that have gone around of such incidents.
“I’m just not going to go into specifics on that particular thing. What I can say is that there are real, violent protests and threats that are happening right now, and senior administration officials are aware of these reports which are deeply concerning. That is something we are focused on,” Jean-Pierre said.
“To be clear, it’s deeply concerning that people would be pulling these things down?” Alexander followed up, clearly getting frustrated as he added, “I’m asking you a question.”
“As it relates to a lot of reporting out there about violent protests and threats, I can speak to that. I can speak to how the FBI is tracking an increased volume. I can speak to the frequency of threats that we are seeing to the Jewish community, to the Arab American community, and to the Muslim communities in the United States since October 7.”
“That is something I can speak to, and obviously DOJ and FBI are working with local law enforcement on those threats, and of course that is deeply concerning to us, so that is what we are going to work on, focusing on that,” the press secretary concluded.
KJP made headlines last week when she 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 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 action 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 who has continued to have that fight in his office in this administration.
When he repealed Trump’s Muslim ban on his very — the 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, and 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.”