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Biden Gives Nod to Campus Protest in Morehouse Speech, Lawmakers Push to Protect Jewish Students

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President Biden delivered the commencement speech at Morehouse College in Atlanta on Sunday, marking his first appearance at a college amid the unrest and anti-Israel protests being stirred on campuses across the country.

Biden addressed the Israel-Hamas war head-on, giving a nod to pro-Palestinian sentiment among Morehouse students and faculty.

"I support peaceful, nonviolent protest," he told students at the historic Black, all-male college, some of whom wore keffiyehs, or Palestinian scarves, around their shoulders on top of their black graduation gowns. "Your voices should be heard, and I promise you I hear them."

Biden told graduates he is pushing for an "immediate ceasefire to stop the fighting and bring the hostages home." 

So far, the president has limited his public comments on the college campus protests, saying he upholds the right to peaceful protest.

Meanwhile, lawmakers in Washington D.C. are working to protect Jewish students who have come face to face with violent protesters. 

The House passed a bill this month that would redefine antisemitism under federal law. 

If approved by the Senate, the measure would expand the definition to include the "targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity." 
Supporters say it would provide a reliable framework for the Department of Education to investigate and punish discrimination against Jews.

"In every generation, the Jewish people have been scapegoated, harassed, evicted from their homeland, and murdered," said Rep. Mike Lawler (R-NY) who introduced the legislation. "The Jewish people need our support now...They need action now."

However, critics say the move stifles free speech and conflates anti-Semitism with criticism of Israel. 

More than 1,000 Jewish professors released a statement from the Concerned Jewish Faculty Against Antisemitism blasting the bill saying, "criticism of the state of Israel, the Israeli government, policies of the Israeli government, or Zionist ideology is not — in and of itself — anti-Semitic."

"Making Jewish students and Jewish faculty feel safe is a separate issue from free speech," Dr. David Frankfurter, a Boston University professor, told CBN's Faith Nation. "There are many ways of disciplining both students, in mild ways, if they are saying stupid things, and faculty if they are saying offensive things but we do not have to make it an issue of antisemitism. This is not what antisemitism is."

Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) co-author of the legislation, says passing the "bill is a critical step to take the action we so desperately need to stand against hate."

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About The Author


Talia Wise has served as a multi-media producer for, CBN Newswatch, The Prayer Link, and CBN News social media outlets. Prior to joining CBN News she worked for Fox Sports Florida producing and reporting. Talia earned a master’s degree in journalism from Regent University and a bachelor's degree from the University of Virginia.