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Antisemitism at Columbia, Yale and NYU isn't free speech, it's a pro-Hamas mob

OpinionAntisemitism at Columbia, Yale and NYU isn't free speech, it's a pro-Hamas mob

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Let’s be clear.  What’s happening at Columbia, Yale, Michigan, New York University and other college campuses around the country isn’t a protest: it’s a violent, pro-Hamas mob threatening and attacking Jewish students by spreading antisemitic hate.  This has no place in America, and no university should permit this harassment on its campus.

By now, many have seen and heard the horrific chants of “death to America,” “from the river to the sea,” or “10,000 more October 7th’s.”  We have also seen the acts of violence against Jewish students by protesters on several college campuses. 

We must take antisemitism seriously. Since the horrific attacks on October 7 by Hamas on innocent Jews and others that killed over 1,200 and resulted in the taking of over 200 hostages, incidents of antisemitic hate have increased over 360% in the United States, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).  That is why we should not treat antisemitic hate speech as free speech.


Allowing any quarter for antisemitic speech here in America makes us no better than Germany in 1933.  While good people can disagree on the plans or prospects for peace between Israel and the Palestinian people, purveyors of antisemitic speech and acts of violence that seek the destruction of Israel and Jews and not peace, cross the line and should be treated as criminal. When the protestors chant, “Al-Qassam you make us proud, kill another soldier now,” they are not “peaceful” as New York Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez would have you believe.  In fact, they are no better than the terrorists they are supporting through their activities. 

If these protesters are really interested in a free Palestinian people, they would call for Hamas to release the Palestinians from their thumb of oppression where Palestinians are used as pawns in Hamas’ conflict with Israel. Or they should at least call for Hamas to surrender and release all the hostages taken on October 7th, which would end Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza.    

In the Trump administration, I worked with President Trump to lead the effort to root out antisemitism around the globe.  We worked to label any entity that worked to undermine Israel and spread antisemitic hate to call out and end such behavior. 


The Biden administration should do the same. This isn’t a Republican or Democrat issue; it’s what is right. And more significantly, our actions here in America are another symbol of American leadership or weakness on perhaps the most critical human rights issue in the last century. President Truman recognized its significance for American leadership in combating antisemitism by being the first world leader to recognize the State of Israel in 1948.  President Biden should show that same leadership to the world that antisemitism will not be tolerated here or around the globe. 

Israel is our closest ally in the Middle East. They are the only democracy in the Middle East. And they have been seeking peace with many of their Arab neighbors.  In fact, in the Trump administration, we helped lead that effort through the historic Abraham Accords. And there is more work that can be done, but acts of terrorism by Iran or its proxies and antisemitic acts here at home only act to derail those efforts in seeking the destruction of Israel and the Jews.    


That is why swift and strong action against the protesters is necessary. If college campuses or the police won’t take action to protect Jewish students, then the federal government should absolutely step in. 

President Biden’s “both sides” statement isn’t enough. It instead sends the wrong message that antisemitism will be tolerated as long as protestors are advocating for the freedom of the Palestinians. Tolerating faith-based harassment and violence on campuses is both evil and illegal.

Some universities like Columbia are giving in to the protesters by moving their classes online for the rest of the semester. How unfair to all of their students and to the parents who paid a high premium for an Ivy League education only to have it delivered in a cowardly way on a computer.  Parents should demand a refund.  Instead, these colleges should act to protect their Jewish students and the integrity of their pedagogy.  They should immediately revoke the visas of and deport all foreign students studying in the USA who support Hamas. And they should expel American students arrested in the protests. And we should also revoke federal student loans for any American student arrested for supporting Hamas.


Supporters of these universities should vote with their pocketbooks and do as New England Patriots team owner Robert Kraft did and stop their financial support of institutions of higher education that refuse to protect Jewish students.  And the boards of these institutions should ask that their presidents resign.

While free speech is a special right guaranteed to all Americans, antisemitic speech is not. All of us who value free speech, even in legitimate debate, should agree that once again allowing the seeds of Jewish hate to be planted anywhere will lead to the destruction of those freedoms that we cherish.  



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