Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) condemned the protests against Israel happening at several college campuses across the nation, arguing he questions what’s being taught in college if students “don’t fully understand” the brutality of terrorist groups such as Hamas.
“While we always want to protect our constitutional rights, I absolutely condemn what’s being chanted at these rallies, and I think we need leadership from our college campuses,” Youngkin said in an interview on Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures.” “The bottom line is, I question what’s being taught on these college campuses if we have students that don’t fully understand the brutality of a terrorist group.”
“Hamas is a terrorist group, and they committed a terrorist act, and they killed women and children, and we have to condemn it. If we don’t, we condone it, and there’s no fence to sit on here,” Youngkin continued.
Youngkin’s comments come amidst a flurry of student demonstrations across several college campuses protesting in favor of Palestinians and against Israel’s bombardment of Gaza.
Hamas, a militant group recognized as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and several other nations, carried out a bloody incursion into Israel on Oct. 7, invading multiple Israeli towns by land, sea and air along with sending a barrage of rocket fire from Gaza.
More than 1,400 Israelis were killed in the violence, including hundreds of civilians at their homes, on the streets and at a music festival.
Israel responded with a series of retaliatory airstrikes into Gaza and has ramped up its attacks ahead of an expected ground incursion into Gaza by Israeli forces. More than 8,000 Palestinians have been killed in the violence, with another 20,200 others wounded, the Gaza Health Ministry said Sunday.
Israel also ordered a siege on basic necessities such as food, water, medicine and fuel, intensifying the humanitarian crisis in the 140 square-mile territory. Humanitarian agencies have warned of collapse as supplies run extremely low, if not empty.
Several college administrations came under fire this month over their responses to ongoing violence, with students on both sides arguing their schools did not go far enough in condemning the violence.
Some students and student groups are calling for a cease-fire in order to assist Palestinian civilians under siege, including a reported walkout at the University of California, Berkeley, last week.
On the other side of the conflict, students have accused their school leaders of not showing a strong enough condemnation of Hamas’s attacks.
“Israel has the absolute right to defend itself,” Youngkin said. “They must eradicate a terrorist organization, and we have to stand with them. And I think it just reflects the fact that there is reckless, reckless speech going on across the country at this moment, and we need to be unified in our support of Israel.”