Summer Lee on Netanyahu remarks on college protests: ‘This idea that every criticism of Israel is antisemitic is dangerous’

Rep. Summer Lee (D-Pa.) took aim at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for weighing in on the pro-Palestinian protests that have broken out on college campuses across the country.

CBS host Margaret Brennan asked Lee on “Face the Nation” on Sunday what her response was to Netanyahu condemning the pro-Palestinian protests that have engulfed colleges and universities throughout the nation. She said that Netanyahu does not want to hear the messages those students are calling for, noting that he has not talked to any of those students.

“His number one goal is, you know what he’s doing over there and anything that harms or helps or makes it harder for him to achieve that goal, he’s going to distract from. But this idea that every criticism of Israel is antisemitic is dangerous,” she told Brennan.

Netanyahu condemned the protests last week, saying the demonstrations are “antisemitic mobs” targeting Jewish students and faculties.

“So what’s happening on America’s college campuses is horrific. Antisemitic mobs have taken over leading universities. They call for the annihilation of Israel; they attack Jewish students, and they attack Jewish faculty. This is reminiscent of what happened in German universities in the 1930s,” Netanyahu said.

Most of the demonstrations have been calling for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war as large numbers of students set up encampments on their respective college campuses. Most of the protests have been reported as peaceful so far, but concerns have been raised about antisemitic rhetoric and the safety of students.

Many student protesters have already been arrested for participating in the demonstrations, while others face suspension. The demonstrations have been continuing for more than a week across the country.

Lee said on CBS that she was not surprised by Netanyahu’s remarks, noting that students of numerous different backgrounds are calling for the same thing during the protests.

“When you’re on the ground, you see that all of those students have been working together or have been learning and educating together, and they are all in one voice crying for a difference in direction, particularly from Benjamin Netanyahu. So, I’m not shocked that he would want to cast them as evil, cast them as in the wrong. That’s been his MO,” she said.

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