The White House said Sunday it “vigorously condemns” the group of pro-Palestinian rioters in Russia who flooded an airport as they were shouting antisemitic chants and reportedly searching for passengers from a flight that departed from Tel Aviv, Israel.
The airport, located in the city of Makhachkala in the Republic of Dagestan, closed after rioters began flooding the runway Sunday night, Russian aviation authority Rosaviatsia reported. All other flights headed toward Makhachkala were diverted.
In the first public comment made by the Biden administration since the incident, White House National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said the U.S. condemns the “antisemitic protests” at the airport in Russia.
“The United States vigorously condemns the antisemitic protests in Dagestan, Russia,” Watson wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter. “The U.S. unequivocally stands with the entire Jewish community as we witness a worldwide surge in antisemitism. There is never any excuse or justification for antisemitism.”
Many users on X blasted Watson’s post for referring to the riot as a “protest,” with some people replying that the correct term would be “pogrom,” which means attacks on particular ethnic groups, particularly Jewish people.
During the riot, a small number of Israelis were “isolated” at the airport as rioters were heard yelling “Allahu Akbar” and antisemitic slogans, according to Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation reporter Amichai Stein.
The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem told Reuters that an Israeli ambassador in Russia was working with authorities to protect the Israelis in the region.
“The State of Israel views gravely attempts to harm Israeli citizens and Jews anywhere,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “Israel expects the Russian law enforcement authorities to safeguard all Israeli citizens and Jews, whoever they may be, and to take robust action against the rioters and against the unbridled incitement being directed at Jews and Israelis.”
The majority of residents in Dagestan are Muslim while Jewish people represent a minority group in Russia – accounting for approximately 83,000 people in the entire country.
The riot at the Russian airport comes amid the ongoing war in the Middle East between Israeli forces and Hamas terrorists.
More than 9,400 people have been killed on both sides since Hamas launched its largest attack against Israel in decades on Oct. 7, prompting Israeli forces to respond. Thousands more have been wounded, and many others have been taken hostage by Hamas and raped, tortured and murdered.
Fox News’ Andrea Vacchiano contributed to this report.