Republicans demand deportations, defunding over antisemitism while Democrats seek dialogue

Scott also said that people who protest in support of the "killing of Americans and Israelis should be considered unemployable."

Published: October 29, 2023 11:12pm

Republican presidential candidates are responding to antisemitism and anti-Zionism by calling to deport foreign nationals who support such movements and demanding that Congress defund schools that allow antisemitic demonstrations.

Democrats, meanwhile, appear to  only offering  discussions on the topic. 

Antisemitic incidents have increased nearly 400% since the Hamas terror attack on Israeli civilians on Oct. 7, according to data from the Anti-Defamation League last week. After several high-profile incidents occurred on college campuses, multiple candidates speaking at the Republican Jewish Coalition Summit over the weekend demanded that student visas be revoked and funding be withdrawn.

Former President Donald Trump, the leading GOP candidate, said in addition to bringing back his travel ban to prevent immigrants from certain countries from entering the United States, he would institute other measures to screen immigrants for radical ideology.

"I'll also be implementing strong ideological screenings for all immigrants coming in. If you hate America, if you want to abolish Israel, if you sympathize with jihadists, then we don't want you in our country and you're not going to be getting into our country," Trump said. "I will cancel the student visas of Hamas and sympathizers on college campuses. The college campuses are being taken over and all of the resident aliens who joined in the pro-jihadist protest this month, nobody's ever seen anything like it. Come 2025, we will find you and we will deport you."

He also touted how he signed an executive order fighting antisemitism on college campuses stating that discrimination against Jewish students would be punished as aggressively as a civil rights violation.

"When I get back into office, I will put every single university and college president on notice. The American taxpayer will not subsidize the creation of terrorist sympathizers on American soil. ... They will lose their accreditation and every last penny of federal student loans will not be paid to them." 

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., took a similar, albeit less forceful approach to fighting antisemitism on college campuses.

"Let me speak to any student who is advocating for murder and terrorism: 'You should be expelled from the campus.' And to any student on a foreign visa who calls for genocide should be deported. You're gone!" Scott said Saturday. "And any university, and I mean any, any university that lets itself become a megaphone for evil should lose every single dime of federal money. Your tax dollars should not support that crap."

Scott also said that people who protest in support of the "killing of Americans and Israelis should be considered unemployable" and that "any member of Congress who gives one ounce of aid, comfort or support to terrorist killers through their words, their actions or their affiliation ... should be expelled from office."

Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis, who deactivated Students for Justice in Palestine chapters at public schools in his state and organized flights to bring hundreds of Americans home from Israel, expressed a similar point of view during the Republican Jewish Coalition Summit on Saturday. 

"When I'm president, if you are in our country on a student visa and you're making common cause with Hamas I am canceling your visa and I'm sending you home where you belong," DeSantis said. 

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, a known defender of Israel who is tied with DeSantis for second place according to the latest McLaughlin and Associates survey, expressed support for giving military assistance to Israel. 

"We need to commit ourselves to ensure that good defeats evil. That means fighting antisemitism in Congress and on college campuses, and it means giving Israel everything she needs to destroy Hamas," she said. 

Haley also compared Israel to Ukraine, stating how the European country should also be given the weaponry it needs to defeat Russia, and that in both countries, an "evil regime is responsible for starting war."

Former Vice President Mike Pence, who while speaking at the summit announced his plans to drop out of the 2024 presidential race, expressed a similar viewpoint.

"I call on President Biden and every member of Congress: Take immediate steps to condemn antisemitism in all its form and defund every university and college that allows antisemitic demonstrations on their campus," he said.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie similarly called out activities on college campuses, but he did not specifically say how he would respond to such incidents if he were elected president.

"We know that they hide behind the falsity of free speech," Christie said. "What's going on in our college campuses today is not free speech. It is hate speech. What's going on on our campuses today is inciting violence, is inciting fear."

Others, such as entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, said the U.S. military should not get involved in the conflict, but he offered other ideas to support Israel, such as by having the United States stop funding the United Nations, which has expressed support for Palestine and a ceasefire.

"It means we speak out against antisemitism right here at home not by censorship of speech but through leadership of our young Americans who follow the pied pipers of antisemitism because they are truly lost for purpose and meaning because antisemitism is almost always a symptom of a deeper moral and spiritual void that true leaders have to fill," Ramaswamy said.

He also said he personally paid for a 200-seat charter flight to get U.S. citizens in Israel out of the country and that he believes the U.S. should "force Hamas to release any remaining American hostages before a broader war begins" as part of an "America first agenda."

Meanwhile, the Biden administration, which has had anti-Israel officials from the start, has been heavily criticized for its response to antisemitism starting even before the war against Israel broke out. 

Earlier this year, the administration unveiled a plan to combat antisemitism in partnership with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a group whose leaders are known for suggesting attacks on Israeli civilians were justified.

Meanwhile, when White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked about an increase in antisemitic attacks, she said officials "have not seen any credible threats" against Jews but that Muslims "have endured a disproportionate number of hate-fueled attacks." She later said she misunderstood the question.

When discussing actions he has taken to combat antisemitism on the fifth anniversary of the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting, President Joe Biden said Friday: "Under my presidency, we will continue to condemn Antisemitism at every turn. We are increasing security around centers of Jewish life across the country. The Justice Department has made combating hate crimes a top priority. We passed the most significant gun safety law in nearly 30 years."

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