Fetterman blasts UN rights chief for 'concern' over anti-Israel agitators while never condemning Hamas


Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., blasted the United Nations on social media platform X for failing to condemn Hamas for months after Oct. 7 while voicing concerns about how the U.S. has treated anti-Israel agitators. 

“UN: Unwilling to condemn Hamas who killed, raped, mutilated and tortured more than 1,000 Israeli babies, children, women, and elderly,” Fetterman wrote, adding “Also UN:” followed by a headline from Reuters that declared U.N. rights chief Volker Turk was “troubled by treatment of pro-Palestinian protesters at U.S. universities.” 

Turk, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, on Tuesday condemned American police for “disproportionate” action against anti-Israel protesters on U.S. college campuses in recent weeks. 

The University of California, Los Angeles campus devolved into anarchy overnight Tuesday as anti-Israel protests escalated into a clash between opposition groups, prompting police intervention. In New York City’s Columbia University, police stormed Hamilton Hall, which agitators had occupied and barricaded, and forcibly removed the students from the building

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“I am concerned that some of law enforcement actions across a series of universities appear disproportionate in their impacts,” Turk wrote in a statement. 

U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman speaks at a news conference in Harrisburg on Jan. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Marc Levy)

“Incitement to violence or hatred on grounds of identity or viewpoints – whether real or assumed – must be strongly repudiated,” he continued. “We have already seen such dangerous rhetoric can quickly lead to real violence.”

Turk insisted that any violence should be addressed on a case-by-case basis rather than through broad measures that “impute to all members of a protest the unacceptable viewpoints of a few” and that “responses by universities and law enforcement need to be guided by human rights law, allowing vibrant debate and protecting safe spaces for all.”

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“U.S. universities have a strong, historic tradition of student activism, strident debate and freedom of expression and peaceful assembly,” Türk said. “It must be clear that legitimate exercises of the freedom of expression cannot be conflated with incitement to violence and hatred.”

Turk in the days after the Oct. 7 attack condemned the taking of hostages and “horrifying mass killings by members of Palestinian armed groups,” though has not outright condemned Hamas itself. In February, he claimed that “all parties” in the Israel-Hamas conflict have committed “clear violations of international human rights and humanitarian laws, including war crimes and possibly other crimes under international law.” 

Volker Turk

Volker Turk speaks at a press conference at the U.N. offices in Geneva on Dec. 9, 2022. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images)

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres echoed the sentiment, declaring, “It is essential in all circumstances to guarantee the freedom of expression and the freedom of peaceful demonstration, but at the same time it is obvious that hate speech is unacceptable.” Guterres further argued that university authorities themselves should “properly manage” the situation.

The United Nations has failed to adopt measures that would condemn Hamas for its Oct. 7 attack on Israel, often due to vetoes by the Security Council from members such as Russia. Guterres has individually condemned the terrorist attacks against Israel, “for which there can be no justification,” he has said. 

Anti-Israel agitator removed from Columbia University

New York Police Department officers detain anti-Israel demonstrators at Columbia University on April 30, 2024. Over 100 people were arrested, according to reports. (Selcuk Acar/Anadolu via Getty Images)

American universities have started to take stronger measures to try and clamp down on protests that have spread across campuses as the war in the Gaza Strip drag out past the six-month mark. 

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Ivy League universities, most notably Columbia, have served as a significant flashpoint for protests, which have also popped up on campuses in California and Texas. The University of Texas, Austin suspended the Palestinian Solidary Committee after several students were arrested. 

State troopers in riot gear try to beak up a pro-Palestinan protest

State troopers in riot gear try to beak up an anti-Israel protest at the University of Texas on Wednesday, April 24, 2024. (Jay Janner/American-Statesman)

Prior to clearing out Hamilton Hall, Columbia had limited access to its campus and locked some of the buildings after protesters had stormed the hall and barricaded the doors using metal gates, wooden tables and chairs, and zip ties. 

Footage showed the protesters in New York smashing windows, unfurling a Palestinian flag over a window, and chanting: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” and “Palestine will live forever.” Students have demanded the university divest their financial support of Israel and adopt a policy of transparency with its investments. 

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Administrators insisted that the safety of students remained their “paramount” concern, adding their thanks for “patience, cooperation and understanding.”

Neither Guterres or Volker’s offices responded to a Fox News Digital request for comment by time of publication. 



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