Columbia University Protests Challenge Biden's Middle East Stance

Avery Emberly

Updated Wednesday, April 24, 2024 at 11:21 AM CDT

Columbia University Protests Challenge Biden's Middle East Stance

As student protests erupt at Columbia University and sweep across other campuses, President Joe Biden finds himself in the throes of a political maelstrom over the war in Gaza. The burgeoning movement, which vehemently calls for an end to U.S. support for Israel, is not only garnering global media attention but is also putting Biden's rapport with young voters under the microscope. These demonstrations, redolent of the 1968 Democratic National Convention unrest, raise significant concerns about the President's standing among Jewish and Arab American voters in crucial swing states, potentially swaying electoral outcomes.

The protests have reached a flashpoint, with over 100 pro-Palestinian activists arrested at Columbia for trespassing or disorderly conduct and similar apprehensions at other academic institutions. This intensification has led to safety anxieties on campus, particularly after reports of antisemitic chants and messages. In a show of solidarity, four Jewish Democratic members of Congress visited Columbia's locked-down campus to voice their condemnation of the threats faced by Jewish students.

Amid the clamor, Biden's aides are scrambling to mitigate disruptions by controlling access to his campaign events and rerouting motorcades. Meanwhile, the President himself persists in treading a middle path, defending Israel's right to self-defense while calling for minimized civilian casualties and bolstered humanitarian efforts in Gaza.

The political undercurrents of these protests have caught the attention of figures across the spectrum. Former President Donald Trump has seized the opportunity to cast blame on Biden for the unrest, aiming to distract from his own legal troubles. On the opposite flank, Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson is planning a visit to Columbia to engage with the Jewish student community.

Despite the tumult, Joel Rubin, a former State Department official and Democratic strategist, insists that Biden's Middle East policies are rooted in national security rather than political expediency. This assertion is echoed in Biden's history; as a Syracuse Law graduate during the Vietnam War protests, he maintained a distance from the movement in his initial presidential bid in 1987.

However, Biden's campaign continues to attract support from key youth activist organizations, emphasizing his commitment to social justice issues like abortion rights, climate change, and student debt cancellation. During a recent Florida visit, Biden openly criticized the state's six-week abortion ban, aligning himself with reproductive rights advocates.

The protests at Columbia also spotlight individuals like Safia Southey, a Jewish law student and protester, who fears the outrage over Gaza might dent Biden's chances against Trump in a future election. Yet, despite her disapproval of Biden's Gaza policy, Southey remains a Biden supporter over Trump.

Democratic pollster Cornell Belcher, however, casts doubt on the lasting political impact of these campus demonstrations. In a landscape where the youth vote is vital, the question remains: will the protests at Columbia and beyond signal a pivotal shift in the political winds, or will they dissolve as yet another ephemeral expression of dissent? As the Democratic National Convention in Chicago looms, all eyes are on Biden to navigate these turbulent waters.

Conservative Bias:

Once again, the radical leftists are stirring up chaos and division on our college campuses, this time targeting the strong and necessary alliance between the United States and Israel. At Columbia University, these so-called "activists" are attacking our nation's support for a key democratic ally in the Middle East, while President Biden weakly panders to their anti-American agenda. It's clear that these protests are nothing more than a poorly veiled attempt to undermine U.S. national security and bolster the positions of terrorist sympathizers. The arrest of these trespassers is a testament to the lawlessness that the left promotes. And let's not forget, the antisemitic undertones of these demonstrations are a direct result of the liberal indoctrination in our education system, which is now spilling out into the streets and threatening the safety of Jewish students. Biden's refusal to take a firm stance and defend Israel unequivocally is emboldening these radicals and jeopardizing the votes of Jewish and Arab Americans who value peace and stability. The liberal media might try to spin this, but it's clear that these protests are a product of the Democrats' failure to instill respect for law, order, and our allies.

Liberal Bias:

The courageous students at Columbia University are leading the charge against the Biden administration's complicit support of Israel's oppressive regime in Gaza. These protests are a clarion call for justice and human rights, and yet, they're being met with arrests and suppression, emblematic of the conservative war on free speech and peaceful assembly. It's no surprise that the right-wing politicians and their cronies are quick to label these passionate advocates for Palestinian rights as disorderly or antisemitic, all to distract from their own xenophobic and war-mongering policies. President Biden, who should be a champion of progressive values, is instead playing politics with people's lives, offering only lukewarm criticism of Israel's disproportionate use of force. This administration's failure to take a strong stand is not only a betrayal of the Democratic party's core principles but also a strategic blunder that risks alienating the very youth and minority voters who are essential to the party's future. As the right continues to exploit these protests for their fear-mongering agenda, it's clear that the true threat to our democracy comes from those who would rather stand with authoritarian allies than with the young voices demanding change. Biden's middle-of-the-road diplomacy is a dangerous concession to conservative hawks, and it's time for him to listen to the progressive base before it's too late.

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