Garvey Calls for ‘Political Courage’ to End Anti-Israel Protests at Colleges

Garvey Calls for ‘Political Courage’ to End Anti-Israel Protests at Colleges

UCLA students protest the Israel-Hamas conflict in Los Angeles on April 25, 2024. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Brad JonesJohn Fredricks

Brad Jones & John Fredricks

4/26/2024

Updated: 4/29/2024

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The morning after police arrested more than 90 student protesters of the Israel-Hamas war at an encampment on the University of Southern California campus in Los Angles on April 24, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Steve Garvey called for “political courage” to end anti-Israel demonstrations at more than 200 college campuses across the United States.
Meanwhile, students formed another encampment at University of California Los Angeles on April 25, creating a makeshift wall of wooden pallets and furniture around more than 200 protesters. And although the students had signs condemning censorship, they were restricting media access to the encampment behind it.
At UCLA more than 200 students, some wearing Palestinian scarves, brought dozens of tents and carried signs that ranged from pro-Palestinian to anti-Zionist to Black Lives Matter and anti-police. A few black-clad protesters wore “ACAB” hats, which means, “All Cops Are Bastards.” One of the signs declared the UCLA faculty supports the protesters.
The students also appeared to be constructing a media center and a medical tent.

A Nation ‘Imploding’

Against a backdrop of 1,400 Israeli flags representing victims of the vicious Oct. 7 terrorist attack, Mr. Garvey told reporters at a press conference in Beverly Hills that although he isn’t worried about America’s geopolitical positioning or military strength, he has started to “get the sense that we are imploding from within.”
The riots in the streets in the early 2020s, disrespect for the police, felonies being reduced to misdemeanors, and now “terrorism” being promoted at college campuses under the guise of free speech led him to this sense of implosion, he said.
“I want my country back. I want law enforced. I want leadership to step up,” Mr. Garvey said.
Terrorist organizations are using free speech to attack “the soft underbelly of society,” at colleges, he said.
“But now we’re seeing [it] up close and personal in the city streets of Los Angeles and colleges and university close to us,” he said.
The groups behind these protests aren’t just “kids in dormitories” protesting “something they probably don’t really understand,” Mr. Garvey said.
“This is organized support of terrorism,” he said.
UCLA students protest the Israel-Hamas conflict, on the UCLA campus in Los Angeles on April 25, 2024. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

UCLA students protest the Israel-Hamas conflict, on the UCLA campus in Los Angeles on April 25, 2024. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

While Mr. Garvey believes in free speech, he said, “demonstrations that allow people to build encampments that obstruct the pathway to classes and the opportunity to learn is terrorism.”
“We have to ask the leaders of our institutions how can you do this?” he said.
“I’m going to ask leaders in Washington to bring forward the leaders of these institutions and ask them why they have forsaken their mission statement of providing an education ... and protecting those students,” he said. “How can you forget about a whole class of students that you’re supposed to represent?”
Like other students, Jewish students deserve a protected environment in which to learn, he said.
He urged political leaders to step forward with him, “and show political courage.”
“Let’s start taking away federal aid. Those new college administrators and leaders aren’t listening,” he said. “Take away tenure from professors who are joining these encampments and joining these terrorists.”
Mr. Garvey expressed his dismay over obvious anti-police sentiments at these demonstrations.
“They’re the ones yesterday at USC campus who were standing on the front line who are being abused,” he said, noting that rocks and bottles are thrown at them.
“They’re standing up for this country, to protect this country,” he said.
UCLA students protest the Israel-Hamas conflict, on the UCLA campus in Los Angeles on April 25, 2024. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

UCLA students protest the Israel-Hamas conflict, on the UCLA campus in Los Angeles on April 25, 2024. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Governor Reacts

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said on April 25 he is aware of the USC arrests, but not all the details, and is working with law enforcement agencies.
Meanwhile, USC announced it will cancel its main-stage commencement ceremony.
The governor’s team met with University of California President Michael Drake on April 24 to discuss “the growing concern” about protests at college campuses in California and across the nation, he said at an unrelated press conference.
Mr. Newsom said he wants to protect people’s rights to protest as long as they “do so peacefully and without any hate.”
“I just want to avoid a lot of what we’re seeing in other parts of the country, and so we’re very mindful and diligent in terms of trying to approach this in an appropriate way,” he said.
According to a video on X (formerly Twitter) of LAPD Captain Kelly Muniz answering reporters’ questions about the arrests, students were warned by USC to vacate the property or they would be arrested for trespassing, but many of the protesters refused to leave.

‘Terrorist Ideology’

Aaron Cohen, an Israeli special operations veteran and counterterrorism analyst who has trained law enforcement in the U.S. for the last 20 years, told the media at Mr. Garvey’s press conference that the “infiltration of pro-Hamas rhetoric at our academic institutions” is a “very concerning trend” that could escalate.
Mr. Cohen urged leaders to act decisively against “this terrorist ideology that is festering” with stringent policies that have teeth.
“These encampments are not simply political discourse. This is not free speech. What we’re seeing here is the [metastasis] of propaganda, through systematic incitement,” he said.
Student activists are acting like “sheep” when they spread the message of terrorist groups like Hamas, he added.
No matter one’s political stance, Hamas, like Hezbollah, ISIS, and al Qaeda, “is an internationally stamped and recognized terrorist organization.”
A law enforcement professional, Mr. Cohen said he is concerned about incitement and rhetoric escalating into violence, including mass-casualty incidents.”
Many Jewish students on these campuses are fearing for their lives right now, “because of these clusters, of zombie-like students,” he said.
“Investigations need to be launched into the genesis of this incitement,” he said. “Who is paying for it? University professors and administrators, who have been seen and are directly involved with supporting this rhetoric must be investigated.”
The encampments push the same incitement and rhetoric Hamas has used for the last 75 years, “indoctrinating Palestinian youth into hatred which has created a river of blood,” he said. “We cannot have that here in the United States. It’s not who we are. It’s not what we stand for as Americans.”
U.S. Senate candidate Steve Garvey speaks in Beverly Hills, Calif., on April 25, 2024. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

U.S. Senate candidate Steve Garvey speaks in Beverly Hills, Calif., on April 25, 2024. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

‘It’s Not Good for America’

Rabbi Chaim Mentz of Belair Chabad, a Jewish outreach center, shared his own experiences with anti-Semitism and applauded Mr. Garvey’s efforts to protect the rights of Jewish people.
Mr. Mentz said political leaders are allowing the anti-Semitism to escalate, despite warnings from the Jewish communities.
“I say to my Jewish friends, don’t worry, hold strong. This, too, shall pass. We will be here tomorrow,” he said.
As a rabbi, Mr. Mentz said he can’t endorse political candidates but supports anyone’s efforts to reach across the aisle and urge Democrats and Republicans “to stop this hatred that’s going on.”
“It’s not good for America,” he said.
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Brad Jones

Brad Jones

Author

Brad Jones is an award-winning journalist based in Southern California.

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John Fredricks

John Fredricks

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John Fredricks is a California-based journalist for The Epoch Times. His reportage and photojournalism features have been published in a variety of award-winning publications around the world.

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