Embedded Antisemitism in American Higher Education Surfaces Following Hamas Attack on Israel

Dec 19, 2023

On October 7, Hamas terrorists attacked Israel, murdering, raping, and taking hostage innocent Israeli civilians, in what was the largest slaughter of Jewish people in a single day since the Holocaust.

Yet, tragically, following the barbaric attack, calls for “intifada” and chants of “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” which implies the genocide of the Jewish people, broke out as we began to see an onslaught of a disturbing antisemitic ideology, and the targeting of Jews, fester especially among college students.

The antisemitic underbelly of three Ivy League institutions, MIT, University of Pennsylvania, and Harvard University, was further revealed during a Dec. 5 congressional hearing on the topic of antisemitism on college campuses when the university presidents showed the true colors of higher education leadership.

During her testimony before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Harvard President Dr. Claudine Gay refused to condemn antisemitism on campus. When Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) asked Gay if calling for the genocide of Jews violates Harvard’s rules of bullying and harassment, Gay responded, “It can be, depending on the context.” When pressed by Stefanik, Gay again responded that it “depends on the context,” to which Stefanik replied, “It does not depend on the context. The answer is yes, and this is why you should resign. These are unacceptable answers across the board.”

The other two presidents had similar answers that dodged the question, refusing to explicitly condemn antisemitic behavior on their campuses. Insert any other ethnic or minority group in place of “Jew” in this scenario, and I suspect that the presidents’ answers would be very different.

Since the hearing, Harvard, which is under federal investigation for instances of hate since the start of the Israel-Hamas war, released a statement saying they “unanimously stand in support” of President Gay. This statement came as a response to the backlash to her testimony and her multiple instances of plagiarism, as donors pulled their support, and many called for her resignation. Over 500 Harvard faculty members also signed a letter in support of Gay.

The University of Pennsylvania president has since resigned, while MIT, like Harvard, stood by its president’s remarks from the hearing. With bipartisan support, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution to call on the presidents of MIT and Harvard to resign over their remarks at the hearing. Although Gay has since apologized, backtracked, and clarified her congressional testimony, her antisemitic sentiment rang loud and clear.

Defending Hamas terrorists is evil. The fact that Ivy League presidents are condoning and refusing to condemn antisemitic behavior in front of Congress is an indication of the state of higher education’s institutional rot. If these are the educators indoctrinating our next generation of leaders, then I am concerned. Why are these institutions so quick to defend blatant antisemitism?

Some may claim the university presidents’ statements were a defense of free speech on college campuses. As a constitutional attorney and staunch defender of the First Amendment, I can assure you that this is not a free speech issue. Our First Amendment protections end when lawlessness begins. We cannot condone calls for violence, genocide, and terrorism in the name of “free speech.”

We are seeing the results of a society that prioritized intersectionality and “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” over fair policies, and Critical Race Theory over truth and history. These destructive ideologies are like a cancer that spreads rapidly. This cancer has evidently taken deep root in most institutions of higher education.

Between October 7 and November 7, antisemitic incidents surged by 316%, including 124 incidents in that period alone on college campuses, according to the Anti-Defamation League. In California, a pro-Palestinian college professor was charged with involuntary manslaughter and battery in November after an altercation led to the death a Jewish man waving an Israel flag at a pro-Palestinian demonstration. A student at U.C. Berkeley told Fox News she feels the need to hide her Jewish identity to be safe, given the physical assaults and danger toward Jewish students on campus. Georgetown University and American University students told Fox News in October that they’re scared to go to class as their universities remained silent about rising antisemitism on campus. Colleges nationwide are faced with a test when it comes to how they deal with rampant antisemitism and hateful conduct toward Jewish students.

Not even a century ago, the Jewish people suffered through the Holocaust when over 6 million innocent individuals were killed because of the Nazis’ hatred of the Jews, which was fueled by antisemitism. In fact, some Holocaust survivors are still alive to see the Jewish people once again slaughtered mercilessly and treated like they’re less than human only because they’re Jewish or Israeli.

One would think that others would see the stark parallels between Hamas’ terrorism and the Nazis’ savagery and pledge to be on the “right side of history.” But sadly, I fear we’re reading different history books.

From the woke “social justice warrior” perspective and through the lens of “intersectionality,” Hamas terrorists apparently rank higher than innocent Israeli civilians and Jewish people, which is why many secular institutions and individuals with warped worldviews are running to their defense.

Those who don’t learn from history are bound to repeat it. Given the widespread support of Hamas terrorists, it appears we are seeing the fruit of a history-deprived generation, driven by a post-humanist, Marxist ideology.

It is hard to fathom how and why many young Americans sympathize with Osama bin Laden’s “Letter to America” or see Hamas as the victim in the Israel-Hamas war. This is a threat to both Israel and Western civilization.

The fact that we are even having this conversation at all is a testament to where we are as a culture. In the war of good v. evil, human dignity v. antisemitism, and a country’s right to defend itself v. terrorism, it is disturbing that some are defending and siding with evil.

As the founder of two Christian ministries focused on Israel, and having traveled to the country over 30 times, I am well aware of the geopolitical and religious complexities embedded in the region's rich history, and I firmly stand with the nation of Israel. As an educator, the former dean of a law school, and a tenured professor of law, I am also well aware of the imperative of our educational institutions to quench the flames of antisemitism on our campuses and in our classrooms.

During my tenure as dean of a law school, I was approached by a representative of wealthy Middle East connections who offered to provide funding for an endowed chair to teach “international law.” Without hesitation, I turned down the offer. I am aware, however, of secular schools that have accepted lucrative offers to establish similar endowed chairs. These have turned into what I expected — propaganda pushing radical Islam and hatred for Israel and the Jewish people. Colleges and universities have been targeted for years by Hamas, Qatar, and other Middle Eastern interests. Today, we see the results of their agenda.

We cannot allow hate to win. As well as continuing to pray for peace in Israel, I will keep using my platform to educate and my voice to stand for Israel and against antisemitism.

Originally published on The Stream.

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