The White House today (Tuesday) condemned the anti-Israel protestors who took over Columbia University's Hamilton Hall overnight and draped a large banner with the word 'intifada' from a window.

“President Biden has stood against repugnant, Antisemitic smears and violent rhetoric his entire life,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates said in a statement. “He condemns the use of the term ‘intifada,’ as he has the other tragic and dangerous hate speech displayed in recent days."

“President Biden respects the right to free expression, but protests must be peaceful and lawful. Forcibly taking over buildings is not peaceful — it is wrong. And hate speech and hate symbols have no place in America,” Bates said.

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby also condemned the protesters, saying, “A small percentage of students shouldn’t be able to [disrupt] the academic experience … for the rest of the student body — students paying to go to school and want an education and be able to do that without destruction."

“They ought to be able to do it, feel safe. And they certainly deserve to be able to graduate and participate in a graduation ceremony," he said, adding that the protester's actions do "not comport with the idea of peaceful protest."

Kirby said that the administration continues "to believe in the freedom of speech and the right to protest policies and ideas that you want to protest. You just got to do it peacefully; you can’t hurt anybody. And you can’t be disrupting the educational pursuit of your fellow students.”

The takeover of the hall came after the protesters ignored a deadline set by the university administration to remove the tent encampment set up on campus two weeks ago. The administration had given the protesters until 2 p.m. yesterday (Monday) and warned that students who failed to do so would be suspended. The protesters ignored the warning and broke into the hall in the early morning hours on Tuesday.