Speaker Mike Johnson Backs Jewish Students During Visit to Columbia

GOP Speaker of the House Mike Johnson of Louisiana defended Jewish students at Columbia University during a Wednesday visit to the private Ivy League school’s New York campus.

Pro-Palestinian encampments have engulfed Columbia on campus grounds amidst Israel’s war against Hamas terrorists backed by Iran in the Gaza Strip, and there have been numerous reports of antisemitic incidents at Columbia as well as other college campuses across the United States.

“In this building behind us, Columbia University once awarded Winston Churchill an honorary degree, and it was Churchill who said it is manifestly right that Jews should have a national home where they may be reunited,” said Johnson outside the Arthur W. Diamond Law Library, where he was heckled and booed throughout his speech. ‘We believe in that principle, and today, I’m here to proclaim for all those who gnash their teeth and demand to wipe the state of Israel off the map and attack our innocent Jewish students, this simple truth: neither Israel nor these Jewish students on this campus will stand alone.”

Speaker Johnson said he plans to call President Joe Biden “after we leave, share with him what we have seen, and demand he take action.”

“There’s executive authority that would be appropriate,” said Johnson. “If this is not contained quickly and if these threats and intimidation are not stopped, there is an appropriate time for the National Guard. We have to bring order to these campuses. We cannot allow this to happen. We are better than this. I will ask the president to do that and will tell him the same thing.”

Speaker Johnson repeated his call for the Columbia president to step down

The speaker repeated his earlier call for Minouche Shafik, Columbia president, to resign if she cannot take control of the situation and said Hamas had endorsed the campus protesters. 

“They called them the future leaders of America,” said Johnson. “It is detestable. …A growing number of students have chanted in support of terrorists, chased down Jewish students, mocked and reviled them, shouted racial epithets, and screamed at those students bearing the Star of David. They have told Jewish students to leave the country, and shamefully, some professors and faculty have joined the mob.”

Speaker Johnson was joined by Republican Representative Virginia Foxx of North Carolina, House Education and Workforce Committee chair, and GOP New York Representatives Anthony D’Esposito, Michael Lawler, and Nicole Malliotakis. He said, “The virus of antisemitism has spread across other campuses” and added that as many as 200 universities have similar protests.

“The madness has to stop,” said Johnson. “We left a meeting with students who told us of the heinous acts of bigotry they have experienced simply because of their faith. Their bravery is much more inspiring than some of the activities we see here. They should never have to confront such hate on an American college campus, such as a revered institution. Antisemitism has been growing in America, and it’s clear why. Powerful people have refused to condemn it, and some have peddled it themselves.”