Harris defends anti-Israel college protests as speculation mounts she could replace Biden in race


As calls mount for President Biden to drop out of the 2024 race, his most likely replacement, Vice President Kamala Harris, spoke to the media in defense of the controversial anti-Israel protests that rocked college campuses over the spring. 

“They are showing exactly what the human emotion should be, as a response to Gaza,” Harris told The Nation magazine in an article published Monday, which focused on the possibility of Harris replacing Biden in the presidential race. “There are things some of the protesters are saying that I absolutely reject, so I don’t mean to wholesale endorse their points. But we have to navigate it. I understand the emotion behind it.”

During the 2023-24 college school year, agitators and student protesters flooded college campuses nationwide to protest the war in Israel, which also included spiking instances of antisemitism and Jewish students publicly speaking out that they did not feel safe on some campuses. 

Agitators on Columbia University’s campus, for example, took over the school’s Hamilton Hall building, while schools such as UCLA, Harvard and Yale worked to clear spiraling student encampments where protesters demanded their elite schools completely divest from Israel. 

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Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at a campaign rally on June 28, 2024 in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Harris added in the interview that amid the war in Israel, which has raged since Hamas’ attack on Oct. 7, she asked her staffers about the conditions in the Gaza Strip, including what people were eating and if women had access to sanitary pads. 

“I like to cook. So I said to my team, ‘You can’t make s— with flour if you don’t have clean water.’ So what’s going on with that? I ask questions like, ‘What are people actually eating right now? I’m hearing stories about their eating animal feed, grass’ … so that’s how I think about it,” she said. 

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“Similarly, I was asking early on, what are women in Gaza doing about sanitary hygiene. Do they have pads? And these are the issues that made people feel uncomfortable, especially sanitary pads.”

man waves Palestinian flag atop Columbia University building

An anti-Israel demonstrator holds a flag on the rooftop of Hamilton Hall at Columbia University in New York City on Tuesday, April 30, 2024. (Yuki Iwamura/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Israel has become a lightning rod for the Democratic Party since October, with the party’s progressive faction, including members of the “Squad,” coming under fierce condemnation from the Jewish community and conservatives for not taking harder stances against Hamas. 

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Harris notably was cited by the media and White House sources late last year as urging Biden and the administration to be “tougher” on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as war raged, allegedly arguing the White House needed to be more sympathetic toward Palestinians. 

Student protesters at Columbia University outside

Student protesters gather in protest inside their encampment on the Columbia University campus on Monday, April 29, 2024 in New York City. (AP Photo/Stefan Jeremiah)

Harris’ comments come as calls from members of the Democratic Party mount for Biden to bow out of the 2024 presidential race after his disastrous debate performance against former President Trump. If Biden were to drop out of the race, Harris is considered the top and most natural replacement for the president. 

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Joe Biden, Kamala Harris

President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris stand onstage and wave to the crowd at a “Reproductive Freedom Campaign Rally” at George Mason University on Jan. 23, 2024 in Manassas, Virginia. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Conservatives have been sounding the alarm that Biden’s mental acuity has been on a downward spiral since his 2020 election, citing repeated gaffes by the president during public events, with Democrats now joining those calls of concern over the president’s 81 years of age and mental fitness.

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Three shots of Biden during the debate

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Biden has vowed to remain in the race, including in his first sit-down interview with the media since his debate performance where he argued the debate was simply a “bad episode” and that he is determined to win re-election.

Fox News Digital reached out to Harris’ office regarding her remarks about the anti-Israel protesters but did not immediately receive a reply. 



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