Hawley Presses Biden To Mobilize National Guard To Protect Jewish Students
Senator Josh Hawley, a Republican from Missouri, during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations hearing in Washington, DC, US, on Wednesday, April 17, 2024.
(Graeme Sloan/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) asked President Joe Biden on Tuesday to mobilize the National Guard in response to pro-Palestinian protests that have led to safety concerns for Jewish students at Columbia University and other colleges across the country.

The lawmaker sent a letter to Biden with the message after a Columbia rabbi urged Jewish students to go home following displays of “extreme antisemitism” around the New York City campus and the university shifted to remote learning on Monday.

“On college campuses across the United States, Jewish Americans are at risk,” Hawley said, adding that “most alarmingly, in-person classes at Columbia University have been cancelled” right as the Jewish holiday of Passover was set to begin.

Hawley referred to Biden’s Passover message that said, “In recent days, we’ve seen harassment and calls for violence against Jews. This blatant Antisemitism is reprehensible and dangerous – and it has absolutely no place on college campuses, or anywhere in our country.”

“Now, you must take action to match those words,” Hawley said, adding later, “You must immediately mobilize the National Guard and any other authorities necessary to ensure the safety of Jewish American students and citizens.”

Protesters have insisted Columbia meet their demands, including divestiture from companies that have ties to Israel as the country fights a war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The demonstrations have led to arrests and suspensions, but the protest activity has persisted.

Other Republicans in Congress have called for steps to lower tensions on campus as protests pop up at other universities, including Yale and MIT.

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), chairwoman of the Education and the Workforce Committee, called on Columbia to expel any students and faculty members found to have been harassing Jewish students.


The House Republican delegation from New York, led by House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY), demanded the resignation of Columbia President Minouche Shafik over a lack of confidence in her leadership.

Some Democrats also took a stand for Jewish students at Columbia, including Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-FL), who showed up on campus on Monday with other members of his caucus.

“To the Columbia President, DO NOT make the same choice as the Presidents of UPenn and Harvard. Protect your students,” Moskowitz said in a post to X, alluding to other university presidents who stepped down amid controversy.

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