George Washington University (GW, GWU)

GOP congressmembers visit GW encampment, say DC should crack down on pro-Palestinian demonstration

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A group of Republicans from the U.S. House Oversight Committee visited the pro-Palestinian encampment at George Washington University Wednesday, saying D.C. should crack down on the protest.

The congressmembers, including committee Chairman James Comer (Ky.) and Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), were greeted by chants and boos from the protesters.

The congressmembers have been deeply critical of the way D.C. police and Mayor Muriel Bowser have handled the protest, calling it unlawful and antisemitic. They are calling on D.C. police to remove the demonstrators as the university requested last week.

“We’re hearing from Jewish students that they don’t feel safe,” Comer said. “We’re hearing from administrators that they don’t feel like they area equipped to handle these types of protests.”

“We bless Israel,” Boebert said, raising her voice as protesters chanted. “We bless Israel. Those who bless Israel shall be blessed. We stand with Israel, our greatest ally in the Middle East. That is who we stand for.”   

Bowser called the visit “interesting.”

“The members have universities in their own districts, especially the member from North Carolina, and I was watching a lot of activity in North Carolina,” she said. “It would seem that her energy would be best placed there.”

There are still hundreds of protesters at University Yard and on H Street, and they say they have no plans to leave until their demands are met. They are asking the university to commit to protecting students who speak out in support of Gaza and also to divest financial support from Israel.

Bowser’s office issued a statement Tuesday.

“We support peaceful protests, and I rely on the Metropolitan Police Department and their experience and expertise to decide what types of interventions are necessary,” the letter said in part. “[…] We will not tolerate violence of any kind; we will monitor and ensure access to streets, parks, and safe and sanitary conditions; and we will continue to be supportive of universities or other private entities who need help.”

The House Oversight Committee scheduled a hearing for next Wednesday on the matter, with Bowser and Police Chief Pamela Smith invited to testify. Bowser’s office didn’t say whether she will attend, but they will have some type of response.

D.C. police declined to comment on the House Republicans' remarks. George Washington University has yet to respond to News4’s request for comment.

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