So, what is Kennedy’s message to young voters who oppose the war in Israel and call the nation an apartheid state?
It’s “such an absurd twist and perverted twist, and ultimately if you’re applying a double standard, it reflects a bias, and you’d have to call that bias antisemitism,” Kennedy said Wednesday on “CUOMO.”
Since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas that began Oct. 7 when Hamas militants launched an incursion into Israel and killed more than 1,400 people, college students across the United States have rallied in support of the Palestinian cause.
Some critics have characterized the rallies as “pro-Hamas” or antisemitic. Jewish students who’ve spoken to NewsNation have said they have felt threatened, intimidated and unsafe on campus.
Incidents of Islamophobia have also been on the rise since the war, and the White House has announced a plan to help combat hate crimes at universities and schools.
The way Kennedy sees it, a “tsunami of misinformation” is washing over college campuses.
“The idea that Israel is an apartheid state because it’s a Jewish state? Israel is the only nation in the region that does not have an official religion,” Kennedy said. “You look at this double standard that is being now applied to Israel’s behavior compared to the behavior of all the countries around it. There’s no other country that is a democracy in the region.”
Israel has been called an apartheid state by critics who point to what they say is a yearslong campaign to oppress the Palestinian people living in the West Bank and a blockade of the Gaza Strip — which Egypt also imposes — since 2007. They also cite increasing Jewish settlements being constructed in the West Bank, uprooting Palestinians living there.
On the battlefield, Israeli military forces have moved deep into Gaza City and conducted a raid early Wednesday morning on the city’s largest hospital.
The Israel Defense Forces released photos and videos on X of weapons they say proves the hospital acted as a Hamas command center. The military deleted an initial post claiming the video has “no cuts, no edits, just the undeniable truth.”
Hamas denies the allegations it operates inside the hospital.
The United Nations Security Council on Wednesday adopted its first resolution since the outbreak of the war, calling for “urgent and extended humanitarian pauses” in Gaza to address the escalating crisis for Palestinian civilians during Israel’s aerial and ground attacks.
The final draft watered down language from “demands” to “calls” for humanitarian pauses, and for “the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages held by Hamas and other groups.”
“The most important thing for everybody to do is to express compassion for the people right now, particularly all the children suffering in Gaza,” Kennedy said of the war. “Israel is doing more right now to protect human life and has done more over the past 16 years to avoid this outcome than we would expect of any nation in the world.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.