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Sen. Tim Scott has called for the United States to reconsider visas for foreign students protesting against Israel.
On the platform named X, previously recognized as Twitter, he expressed his viewpoint, stating, “The foreign national students on visas who are protesting against our ally Israel should be sent back to their country.” He further argued his stance by referencing Hamas’s objectives, emphasizing that “Hamas wants to wipe Israel off the map,” and highlighting their alleged broader intentions against Jews and Western democracy.
US educational institutions have recently come under pressure to address the wave of protests, particularly after Hamas’s unexpected attack on Israel’s southern border on October 7th. This scrutiny especially pertains to some student groups whose statements have been perceived as endorsing acts of violence in Israel. Scott’s remarks do not draw a distinction between protests against Israel and those supporting Hamas, which the US categorizes as a terrorist organization. Scott says, “Anyone who stands up in support of terrorism and the inhumane murder of Jews should have their visa revoked.”
Despite some groups welcoming Hamas’s attacks, many pro-Palestinian groups have denounced or distanced themselves from Hamas. They also continue to criticize Israeli airstrikes that are killing many civilians. Earlier last week, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas criticized Hamas for its actions but later removed reference to the militant group without explaining.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) has echoed Sen. Scott’s remarks in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Cotton urged removing foreign nationals, including students, displaying support for Hamas. He specifically cited international students who endorsed a letter from the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Committee, which blamed the regional violence squarely on Israel.