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Biden appears to clap after Morehouse Grad calls for ‘immediate and permanent ceasefire’ in Gaza during commencement

  • Biden appeared to applaud after a Morehouse graduate called for a “permanent” ceasefire in Gaza.

  • The invitation to the president to speak at Morehouse was criticized by many students.

  • Many young people are dissatisfied with the way the Biden administration has handled the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

President Joe Biden appeared to applaud Sunday after Morehouse College’s valedictorian called for an “immediate and permanent ceasefire” in Gaza during the school’s opening ceremony.

Ahead of graduation from Morehouse, a prestigious historically black men’s college in Atlanta, many students opposed Biden speaking at the ceremony, frustrated by his administration’s handling of the war between Israel and Hamas.

DeAngelo Fletcher, Morehouse’s valedictorian, gave an impassioned commencement speech in which he did not shy away from his position on the conflict.

“From the comfort of our homes, we watched unprecedented numbers of civilians mourn the loss of men, women and children as they called for the release of all hostages,” he said. “For the first time in our lives we have heard the world community sing one harmonious song that transcends language and culture. It is my position as a Morehouse man – no, as a human being – to call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.”

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Biden appeared to applaud Fletcher’s comments, which also drew cheers from many graduates.

“Hear the people of this world. Sing the song of righteous justice,” Fletcher concluded in his remarks.

The graduation ceremony revealed a major generation gap. Many young alumni questioned Biden’s invitation, while older alumni and top university officials largely supported Biden’s arrival at Morehouse.

Morehouse College President David Thomas indicated during a recent NPR interview that he was prepared to end the ceremony if the disruptions became so severe that police intervention might be warranted.

“The last thing we want to do is create a moment where someone is pulled out of the field by law enforcement for being disruptive,” he told the newspaper last week. “Faced with the choice of having police zip-tie people out of the Morehouse building, we would essentially be canceling or halting commencement services on the spot.”

During the interview, Thomas said “quiet, non-disruptive protests” would be allowed during Biden’s speech.

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Some graduates turned their backs on the president as he spoke, The Atlanta Voice reported. Several Morehouse graduates also wore keffiyeh scarves, a symbol of Palestinians, around their shoulders as part of their graduation regalia.

Biden said during his speech that he “heard” the graduates’ voices about Gaza.

“I promise I hear them. It is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” he said. “That is why I have called for an immediate ceasefire to stop the fighting. Bring the hostages home.”

The widespread destruction and loss of life in Gaza has diminished Biden’s standing among young voters, as many opposed his administration’s initial support for the Israeli government in the conflict.

Georgia is a key swing state that Biden won in 2020, but the issue could have a major impact on enthusiasm for his campaign, especially among young and Black voters — two groups he must pick for him if he wants to win the election . this time.

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Read the original article on Business Insider

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