California Senate candidate Steve Garvey calls student protesters ‘terrorists’

by Admin
California Senate candidate Steve Garvey calls student protesters ‘terrorists’

Republican Senate candidate Steve Garvey delivered sharp words Thursday about college students protesting the Israel-Hamas war, repeatedly calling them “terrorists” and urging university leaders and law enforcement to take action.

“What they’re saying is: they’re pro-Hamas,” he said at a press conference in Los Angeles, standing in front of Israeli flags. “They’re pro-terrorists. They’re supporting terrorism.”

The remarks from Garvey, the former Los Angeles Dodgers baseball star running against Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff for the late Dianne Feinstein’s Senate seat, comes a day after police arrested hundreds of students around the country for protesting the war, including in Los Angeles.

At the University of Southern California, officers arrived in riot gear on Wednesday night to remove protesters who had set up an encampment at the center of campus, arresting 93, and leading them away with their hands in zip ties.

Similar scenes have played out this week on the campuses of Columbia University and the University of Texas at Austin. At the University of California, Berkeley, protesters are engaged in their fourth day of a sit-in protest, demanding the university sever ties with Israeli institutions and financially divest from companies that are supporting Israel.

Garvey, flanked by an Israeli Special Operations veteran and a rabbi, accused the protests of being “terrorism disguised as free speech,” and said the students are “making a statement that they probably don’t really understand what it’s about.”

“This is organized support of terrorism,” he said, adding that he believes in free speech, but arguing that interrupting classes and obstructing the opportunity to learn is terrorism.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a separate press conference Thursday that his team is “very mindful of what’s going on in the campuses and want to maintain people’s rights and protests, at the same time do so peacefully without any hate.”

The protests come as the war drags into its seventh month since Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel killed some 1,200 people and as the death toll in Gaza amid Israel’s retaliation surpasses 34,000, according to local health officials.

The war in Gaza has been a growing source of tension among California Democrats, with establishment moderates largely defending Israel’s actions while progressives call for taking a harsher approach toward the United States’ longtime ally, Israel.

Both politicians and college leaders have meanwhile also raised concerns about growing instances of antisemitism on campuses, where Jewish students have been targeted and harassed.

The war was a particularly contentious dividing line between the three Democrats in the primary race for the Senate, with Schiff taking a more moderate approach compared to more progressive Democrats, expressing support for Israel while also saying the United States should hold its ally to a high standard.

Wes Venteicher contributed to this report.

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