[Make sure to read Joseph Klein’s contributions in Jamie Glazov’s new book: Barack Obama’s True Legacy: How He Transformed America.]
Slaughter in cold blood. Beheadings of babies. Torture. Rape as a weapon of war. All were part of Hamas’s genocidal attacks against Israeli Jews on October 7, 2023. This rampage, which took more Jewish lives in one day than on any other day since the Holocaust, should shock the conscience of any person who has a conscience. But what we see too often instead is a disgusting display of excuses, moral equivalence, and indifference in response to the gruesome violence that Jews, including so many defenseless women and girls, suffered on October 7th.
The heads of three leading universities – Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – disgraced themselves and their universities during their testimony before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on December 5th. Asked what their universities were doing to combat anti-Semitism on campus, they gave talking point answers full of fluff and no substance. Worse yet, rather than unequivocally condemn the pro-Hamas protests on campus calling for genocide of Jews and pledge to discipline the offenders, these university leaders tried to contextualize the hate speech.
In response to New York Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik’s question whether “calling for the genocide of Jews” is against the universities’ respective codes of conduct, the university presidents responded that it all depends on the context. And they tried to hide behind the First Amendment.
“It is a context-dependent decision,” University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill responded. Rep. Stefanik bluntly replied, “Calling for the genocide of Jews is dependent on the context? That is not bullying or harassment? This is the easiest question to answer ‘yes,’ Ms. Magill.”
Ms. Magill added that speech calling for genocide of Jews presented a complex question as to whether hate speech crosses over into incitement to violence that is not protected by the First Amendment. “The chanting, I think, calling for intifada, global revolution, [is] very disturbing,” Magill said during questioning. “I believe at minimum that is hateful speech that has been and should be condemned. Whether it rises to the level of incitement to violence under the policies that Penn and the city of Philadelphia follow, which are guided by the United States Constitution, I think is a much more difficult question. Incitement to violence is a very narrow category.”
Harvard President Claudine Gay responded, “When speech crosses into conduct, we take action.” She declared that Harvard embraces “a commitment to free expression – even views that are objectionable, offensive, hateful.”
MIT President Sally Kornbluth responded that such language would only be “investigated as harassment if pervasive and severe.” She said that MIT has a responsibility to “ensure that we protect speech and viewpoint diversity for everyone.”
Jewish students recounted their dreadful experiences on campus and their fears sparked by the pro-Hamas protests while the school administrators have sat on their hands.
“What is the administration doing? We’ve brought them policy violations, proof that they happen, and the student handbook that were explicitly violated,” Jewish Harvard Law student Jonathan Frieden said. “When they respond, if at all, responses are empty and meaningless responses such as, ‘We are aware of the situation.’”
The university presidents’ attempt to take refuge behind the First Amendment’s free speech protections when it comes to menacing rants against Jews is the height of hypocrisy. They have disciplined students and faculty for allegedly offensive comments that hurt the feelings of minority groups other than Jews without worrying about the First Amendment. Similarly, they have rallied around critical race theory and diversity, equity, and inclusion ideologies.
The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression’s and College Pulse’s fourth annual College Free Speech Rankings of the free speech cultures of 248 of America’s largest and most prestigious campuses placed Harvard at the bottom of the list. The University of Pennsylvania ranked as the second worst institution of higher learning in the free speech rankings. MIT did better but was still ranked pretty far down on the list –136th.
It is all well and good for the university presidents to have condemned Hamas’s attack, which took Ms. Gay days to do after a coalition of pro-Hamas students signed a letter claiming that the attack was all Israel’s fault. But the university presidents’ waffling on the question as to whether inflammatory calls on campus for genocide of Jews, which have led some Jewish students to hide their identities and stay away from class for fear of being attacked, should be a firing offense.
Of course, the universities’ despicable responses to the Jew-hatred on their campuses are not the only examples demonstrating moral cowardice or worse. We see this inexcusable behavior at the United Nations and within feminist organizations that have pushed for unquestioned belief in women’s claims of sexual assault, except when it comes to Jewish women and girls who were raped by the Hamas terrorists. We see it amongst pseudo-human rights groups, celebrities, left-leaning media, and government officials.
The Obamas are prime examples. Former President Barack Obama insisted in his usual outrageous fashion that “all of us are complicit to some degree” in the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Michelle Obama had no problem condemning Boko Haram when their terrorists kidnapped 276 girls from a school in Nigeria. She even began a social media campaign on behalf of the girls. But, as reported by the DailyCaller, Michele Obama had nothing to say when an Israeli female official asked her “to condemn Hamas for its vicious attack on Israeli women including multiple rapes and murders in the October 7 massacre.”
“Never again” has turned into “never mind” as far as much of the world is concerned when it comes to responding to Hamas’s promised genocide of the Jewish people and its brutal rapes of Jewish women and girls.