Israel’s president issues strong statement on antisemitism at US universities: ‘Resurgence of hatred’

Israel’s president weighed in on the massive antisemitic encampments that have sprouted up at universities across the United States, condemning the “masked cowards” who “smash windows and barricade doors.” President Isaac Herzog addressed those in the Jewish community on these campuses and around the world that feel victimized by the demonstrations. “In the face of violence, harassment, and intimidation, as masked cowards smash windows and barricade doors, assault the truth and manipulate history, together, we stand strong,” President Herzog said in a video address. “As they chant for infitada and genocide, we will work together to free our hostages held by Hamas and fight for civil liberties of the entire free world and our right to believe and belong and the right to live proudly, peacefully and securely as Jews and as Israelis anywhere,” he added. Herzog’s address comes as a multi-agency group of law enforcement officers on Thursday moved onto the University of California, Los Angeles campus to remove an anti-Israel encampment that was declared unlawful. “We see prominent academic institutions, halls of history, culture and education, contaminated by hatred and antisemitism fueled by arrogance and ignorance, driven by moral failings and disinformation,” Herzog said. “We watch in horror as the atrocities of Oct. 7 against Israel are celebrated and justified. We hear you. We recognize your heroic effort. We are with you. We are here for you.” “Dear sisters and brothers, to our friends on campuses and in Jewish communities across the United States and all over the world, to those who stand by and defend the Jewish people and the state of Israel, to all people of good will, the people of Israel are with you,” he continued. “We hear you.” Herzog added: “We see the shameless hostility and threats. We feel the insults, the breach of faith and breach of friendship. We share the apprehension and concern. His comments come just days before Holocaust Remembrance Day, which will be recognized on Monday, May 6. “Together we will overcome this resurgence of antisemitism. Do not fear. Stand proud. Stand strong for your freedom. Israel stands with you. Israel cares for you,” Herzog concluded. In contrast, Iran has expressed support for anti-Israeli demonstrations that have erupted across elite U.S. colleges and universities. Last month, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian defended the hundreds of students who have been arrested at UCLA, the University of Southern California, UT-Austin and others for disrupting campus facilities and trespassing. “The suppression and harsh treatment of the American police and security forces against professors and students protesting the genocide and war crimes of the Israeli regime in various universities of this country is deeply worried and disgusted by the public opinion of the world,” the foreign minister said on X, according to a translation. He added: “This repression is in line with the continuation of Washington’s full-fledged support for the Israeli regime and clearly shows the dual policy and contradictory behavior of the American government towards freedom of expression.” Police at UCLA faced off against a left-wing mob on Thursday morning, when officers dismantled an anti-Israel encampment and took agitators into custody. Officers wearing riot gear knocked down a plywood barrier surrounding UCLA’s Dickson Plaza, where the encampment was being held, entered the area and began conducting arrests throughout the morning.