PBS Is ‘Frustrated’ By Lack Of ‘Nuance’ On Reaction To Campus Encampments

New York Times columnist David Brooks and Washington Post associate editor Jonathan Capehart both claimed to be “frustrated” on Friday’s PBS NewsHour that the encampments occurring on college campuses are not being treated with the “nuance” they deserve. They both called for the anti-Semitic among the demonstrators to be expelled, but insisted most are honest and sincere people who simply want to see the suffering of Gazans end.

Host Amna Nawaz started by asking Brooks, “David, they have spread very quickly. They are sustaining on campuses. How do you look at these? I mean, should these be a sort of warning sign to the Biden Administration? What do you make of how quickly and widely they spread?”

Brooks claimed to “have been frustrated that people aren’t making some distinctions here. So, I think most of the protesters are appalled by the horrors the Palestinians are suffering and they’re well-motivated by compassion. There are some people who are probably hard-left people, and they get to have their views.”

He also noted, “There are a lot of people who are anti-Semitic and violent. And so you should not be able to say, as one of the Columbia students said, ‘Zionists don’t deserve to live.’ If that happens, you should be expelled. And so, in my view, they should let them protest. But if somebody says something, ‘Go back to Poland,’ or even a pro-Palestinian or pro-Israeli, ‘Go back to Gaza,’ that’s ruining the community of the campus and so those people should be expelled.”

It wasn’t some random student who said, “Zionists don’t deserve to live,” it was one of the leaders. At what point do the people who style themselves as peace activists who genuinely, but naively simply want a ceasefire and Palestinian administration of the West Bank have a moral obligation to dissociate themselves from leaders who want to destroy Israel and murder its supporters?

After reiterating his call for expulsions, Brooks worried that “As for the Biden administration, I do worry that the Chicago convention is going to look a lot like 1968 and that will just be terrible for the Biden administration. The president will look hapless and powerless.”

After Brooks rattled off some polling data showing the Israel-Hamas War ranks 15th out of 60 issues for young people, it was Capehart’s turn. He echoed Brooks, “I think the discussion about what’s happening on these– in these protests is missing a lot of nuance. Not everyone who’s protesting is anti-Semitic, is rooting for violence, or is he even causing the violence? They are there for legitimate reasons. And I agree with David. If a person of the college community is disrupting and saying racist, anti-Semitic things, then, yes, they should be expelled.”

At the same time, Capehart urged caution, “But we also should be mindful that, who are these people who are saying these things? Some might be members of the university or college community, but some could be from the outside. And my big fear from the BLM movement is, folks from the outside causing violence and then the blame being foisted upon the people who are legitimately protesting. And that is my big concern when we talk about this latest national protest.”

The BLM leaders also professed to being Marxists, so maybe instead of shaming people for noticing their major protest movements are run by radicals and horrible people, the left should get better protest leaders with better causes.

Here is a transcript for the April 26 show:

PBS NewsHour

4/26/2024

7:41 PM ET

AMNA NAWAZ: Meanwhile, as you saw earlier in the show, we continue to report on the spread of these campus protests, pro-Palestinian protests, by and large, and protesting Israel’s war conduct in Gaza.

David, they have spread very quickly. They are sustaining on campuses. How do you look at these? I mean, should these be a sort of warning sign to the Biden Administration? What do you make of how quickly and widely they spread?

DAVID BROOKS: Yes, I have been frustrated that people aren’t making some distinctions here.

So, I think most of the protesters are appalled by the horrors the Palestinians are suffering and they’re well-motivated by compassion. There are some people who are probably hard left-people, and they get to have their views.

There are a lot of people who are anti-Semitic and violent. And so you should not be able to say, as one of the Columbia students said, “Zionists don’t deserve to live.”

If that happens, you should be expelled. And so, in my view, they should let them protest. But if somebody says something, “Go back to Poland,” or even a pro-Palestinian or pro-Israeli, “Go back to Gaza,” that’s ruining the community of the campus and so those people should be expelled.

So, that’s the distinction that should be made. And, somehow, the people who are really threatening the community by threatening violence, they’re not being expelled. And I think that would have the deterrent effect that would separate really the bad actors from the people who are just well-motivated to do — to try to save lives.

As for the Biden administration, I do worry that the Chicago convention is going to look a lot like 1968.

NAWAZ: Really?

BROOKS: And that will just be terrible for the Biden administration. The president will look hapless and powerless.

One other final thing that I just found interesting, Harvard does this survey. What are young adults interested in, what issues? Israel/Gaza is 15 out of 60. And so a lot of people I know are passionately in on both sides of this issue.

NAWAZ: Yeah.

BROOKS: But most young voters are interested in inflation, crime, health care, the normal issues. And so it’s important for us, those — especially those of us who are in “educated circles,” not to generalize from our own immediate experience, because a lot of people are thinking about very different things than this.

NAWAZ: Jonathan?

JONATHAN CAPEHART: I would say I agree with you, David. I think the discussion about what’s happening on these in these protests is missing a lot of nuance. Not everyone who’s protesting is anti-Semitic, is rooting for violence or is he even causing the violence? They are there for legitimate reasons.

And I agree with David. If a person of the college community is disrupting and saying racist, anti-Semitic things, then, yes, they should be expelled. But we also should be mindful that, who are these people who are saying these things? Some might be members of the university or college community, but some could be from the outside.

And my big fear from the BLM movement is, folks from the outside causing violence and then the blame being foisted upon the people who are legitimately protesting. And that is my big concern when we talk about this latest national protest.

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