Fetterman decries college campus ‘pup tents for Hamas’

Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) ripped into the pro-Palestinian protests roiling college campuses, calling the encampment demonstrations “pup tents” for the militant group Hamas.

“Now, of course, it’s a great American value to protest, but I don’t believe living in a pup tent for Hamas is really helpful,” Fetterman said in an interview on NewsNation’s “The Hill Sunday.”

Protests calling for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza and a halt in U.S. military aid to Israel have persisted for more than a week at a swath of college campuses across the country. Some protesters — including those at Columbia University, where the recent wave of demonstrations began — set up encampments on campus in defiance of school administrators.

Several schools called in local and state police to disperse the protests and encampments, leading to the arrest and suspension of hundreds of students across the country.

“I will say this, that it’s very clear, there is a very germ of antisemitism in all of these protests. And then sometimes, it flares up and again,” Fetterman added.

He then pointed to a student protest leader at Columbia University who was heard in a recently resurfaced video from earlier this year saying “Zionists don’t deserve to live” and that people should “be grateful that I’m not just going out and murdering Zionists.” Columbia banned the student last week.

The student, Khymani James, claimed the comments were edited without context.

“And then he defended himself by saying, ‘Well, those were taken out of context.’ And I’m like, ‘Well, that’s very similar to the way that college presidents … that same kind of language and those kinds of monocultures that create situations and that replicates,” Fetterman said. “And it’s no surprise that when you’re kind of seeing this manifest in a campus like this.”

While many of the protests have been reported to be peaceful, concerns were raised about the safety of students and the proliferation of antisemitic rhetoric. The U.S. saw an uptick in antisemitism following Hamas’s Oct. 7 attacks against Israel, and several protest groups pushed back against characterizations of their recent demonstrations as antisemitic.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli government called the protests antisemitic and “pro-terror” last week.

Fetterman was among a group of lawmakers last week who called on the president of Columbia University to do “her job or resign” amid the ongoing unrest.

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