Statement on Biden's Failure to Protect Students


White House’s Irresponsible Denialism and Vilification of Pro-Palestine Student Activists Endangers Their Safety & Campus Free Speech

AMP condemns the escalating attacks on pro-Palestinian students by local police, campus authorities, and Zionist groups. President Joe Biden’s speech earlier today was an inadequate response to the growing violence against peaceful Gaza solidarity camps at over a hundred universities, where students, from all different backgrounds including Jewish students, are facing brutality and arrests. Rather than addressing the sources of violence and heeding calls for immediate federal action to protect student activists and uphold their rights to free expression and assembly, President Biden has misplaced the blame on the peaceful student activists. Doing so sets a dangerous precedent for students across the United States, making them open targets for attacks by police, administrators, and extremist Zionist groups.

In recent weeks, student-led protests have emerged on college campuses nationwide. “Liberated zone” encampments call for universities to divest from Israel in response to the ongoing genocide in Gaza and universities’ intransigence to condemn or divest from the ongoing violence. Clear documentation shows these demonstrations have been peaceful but have been met with disproportionate force from law enforcement and counter-protesters. Students and faculty have faced arrests, violence, and intimidation for exercising their First Amendment rights by their Universities and fellow students.

President Biden's speech was a glaring example of denialism and a dangerous attempt to publicly re-write the narrative about these students’ peaceful protest, implicating and endangering our communities and our students. President Biden claimed the students were guilty of  “vandalism, trespassing, breaking windows” but the facts show that it has been police deployed on students who have destroyed property, broken down doors and windows, and who have been shooting protestors in the face with rubber bullets, among other violence. Instead of holding accountable law enforcement and university administrations for their repression of these peaceful protests, his speech was a shameful attempt to deflect responsibility and undermine legitimate concerns.

It's disheartening that the U.S. government is only emphasizing the rise of anti-Semitism while it neglects to address the rampant anti-Palestinian racism and Islamophobia that pervade our society which dismisses the over 14,500 children, among over 33,000 people, killed in Israel’s war aided and abetted by both this administration and university investments. Biden’s negligence to state the facts and protect students undermines our democracy and academic freedoms. 

President Biden must not prioritize political interests over human rights and justice. Accountability and meaningful action to protect the rights of all marginalized communities, including Palestinians and our allies is long overdue.

AMP calls on President Biden to:

  • Publicly condemn the violence against student protesters and affirm their right to peaceful assembly and free speech.
  • Direct the Department of Justice to investigate instances of excessive force and civil rights violations by law enforcement against student activists.
  • Engage with university administrators to ensure that students are not facing disciplinary action or academic consequences for participating in peaceful protests.
  • Allocate resources to support and protect student activists facing threats, harassment, or violence from counter-protesters.
  • End all ongoing complicity of the administration in the genocide and demand and facilitate an immediate, permanent ceasefire. 

AMP urges all those who believe in human rights, democracy, and freedom of expression to join in calling on the Biden administration to take decisive action to protect pro-Palestinian student activists and uphold their constitutional rights.