White House Refuses to Condemn Tearing Down of Israeli Hostage Posters – American Faith

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre declined Tuesday to condemn the tearing down of posters featuring hostages taken by Hamas terrorists to Gaza — a phenomenon that has appeared on college campuses and in cities across the nation.

For example (language warning):

Pro-Palestinian protesters have been at pains to erase the images of innocent victims of the Hamas terrorist attack on October 7, perhaps fearful of the moral culpability they might have as supporters of the cause in whose name the victims were brutalized.

Hamas took at least 240 hostages, including elderly people and babies. There are 27 nationalities among the hostages in Gaza.

Peter Alexander of NBC news asked Jean-Pierre about the phenomenon, and she declined to give a clear response. That led to widespread criticism on social media, as she failed to defend free speech, or the images of innocent victims of Hamas terror.

The transcript follows:

Alexander: Can I ask you? There’s been on social media — and frankly, on news broadcasts — a lot of videos of individuals who have been tearing down signs, many of these taking place in New York City, of Israelis presently being held hostage in Gaza. There have been some tense confrontations that have taken place there. Is the White House’s view that these actions should be condemned, the pulling of — the pulling down of them? Or that that’s a form of peaceful protest.

Jean-Pierre: Look, I — I’ve sort of kind of seen the reporting here and there. I think it was from last week, right?

Alexander: Like 30 million videos that —

Jean-Pierre: I know, I hear you. I’m just not going to, I’m not going to, I’m not going.

Alexander: Is that peaceful protest to pull that down? Or should you not be doing that?

Jean-Pierre: I’m just not going to go into specifics on that particular thing. What I can say, and there are real, violent protests and threats that are happening right now and senior administration officials are aware of these reports, which are deeply concerning. And that is something that we’re focused on, right?

Alexander: To be clear: it’s deeply concerning that people would be —

Jean-Pierre: As it relates to a lot of reporting out there about violent protests and threats. And so I can speak to that, I can speak to how the FBI is tracking and increased volume. I can speak to the frequency of threats that we’re seeing to Jewish community [sic], to the Arab American community, to the Muslim communities in the United States since October 7th. That is something that I can speak to. And obviously, DOJ and FBI are working with local law enforcement on those, on those threats. And of course, that is deeply concerning to us. And so that is what we’re going to work on, focusing on that.

Alexander: I’d be grateful if you’d take the question just to see if there is a position the White House has on that just for going forward because it’s created a lot of divide in this country right now.

Jean-Pierre: I’m happy to.

Jean-Pierre has been criticized in the past for being slow to condemn antisemitism. Prior to joining the administration, she had expressed anti-Israel views. However ,she has vehemently defended the administration’s pro-Israel policy in recent weeks.