House Passes Resolution Condemning University Presidents’ Testimony on Anti-Semitism

Jackson Richman
By Jackson Richman
December 13, 2023Congress

The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a resolution condemning anti-Semitism on college and university campuses and the congressional testimony of university presidents, even calling for their resignation.

The resolution, introduced by House GOP Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), passed 303–126 with three voting “present.” One Republican and 125 Democrats voted against it. All “present” votes were from Democrats.

Amid the war between the Jewish state of Israel and the terrorist group Hamas, 73 percent of Jewish college students surveyed by the Anti-Defamation League said they have been victims of or have witnessed anti-Semitism on campus, while 46 percent said they do not feel safe at their schools. The latest conflict between Israel and Hamas started Oct. 7, which resulted in the latter committing the largest single-day massacre of Jews since the Holocaust.

The resolution notes that “Jewish and Israeli students have faced physical violence, hate-filled disruptions in the classroom, calls from students and faculty advocating for the elimination and destruction of Israel, and other forms of persistent harassment” and that “many university administrations have failed to address the rise of antisemitism.”

The measure comes just over a week after the presidents of Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology testified in front of a House committee, coming under fire for their response to anti-Semitism on their campuses and for their answers when asked if calling for the genocide of Jews constitutes harassment or bullying.

The resolution calls out Harvard President Claudine Gay, MIT President Sally Kornbluth, and UPenn President Elizabeth Magill. Ms. Magill has since resigned, though she will remain at her university’s law school as a faculty member. The resolution reiterates Ms. Stefanik’s call for the other aforementioned presidents to resign.

The measure “strongly condemns the rise of antisemitism on university campuses around the country” and the testimony of those university presidents.”

During the Dec. 5 House Education and Workforce Committee hearing, Ms. Kornbluth, Ms.Magill, and Ms. Gay refused to unequivocally say that calling for the genocide of Jews is harassment or bullying.

Ms. Stefanik asked those presidents whether calling for the genocide of Jews is harassment or bullying.

“If targeted at individuals not making public statements,” said Ms. Kornbluth.

Ms. Kornbluth claimed she has not heard of genocidal calls against Jews.

She did, however, say, “I’ve heard chants which can be anti-Semitic depending on the context when calling for the elimination of the Jewish people.”

Ms. Kornbluth added that calling for the genocide of the Jewish people “would be investigated as harassment if pervasive and severe.”

Ms. Magill echoed Ms. Kornbluth when asked the same question by Ms. Stefanik, a Harvard alumna.

“If it is directed, and severe, pervasive, it is harassment,” she said.

“It is a context-dependent decision, congresswoman,” added Ms. Magill.

Ms. Stefanik appeared speechless in response. Ms. Magill repeated her answer when asked again by Ms. Stefanik about whether calling for the extermination of Jews is harassment or bullying.

“If the speech becomes conduct, it can be harassment, yes,” said Ms. Magill, who eventually said that it is harassment if there are calls for genocide against the Jews.

Ms. Stefanik also asked Ms. Gay if calling for genocide against Jews constitutes bullying or harassment.

“It can be, depending on the context,” she said.

“Anti-Semitic rhetoric when it crosses into conduct, that amounts to bullying, harassment, intimidation, that is actionable conduct, and we do take action,” added Ms. Gay.

Following the hearing, Ms. Gay and Ms. Magill sought to walk back their responses.

“There are some who have confused a right to free expression with the idea that Harvard will condone calls for violence against Jewish students. Let me be clear: Calls for violence or genocide against the Jewish community, or any religious or ethnic group are vile, they have no place at Harvard, and those who threaten our Jewish students will be held to account,” posted Harvard on X, formerly Twitter, on Dec. 6 in a statement from Ms. Gay.

“There was a moment during yesterday’s congressional hearing on antisemitism when I was asked if a call for the genocide of Jewish people on our campus would violate our policies. In that moment, I was focused on our university’s long-standing policies aligned with the U.S. Constitution, which says that speech alone is not punishable,” said Ms. Magill in a video posted on the X account of UPenn.

“I was not focused on, but I should have been, the irrefutable fact that a call for genocide of Jewish people is a call for some of the most terrible violence human beings can perpetrate. It’s evil. Plain and simple,” she continued.

“A call for genocide of Jewish people is threatening, it is intentionally meant to terrify people who have been subjected to hatred for centuries and were the victims of mass genocide in the Holocaust. In my view, it would be harassment or intimidation,” Ms. Magill also said.

Ms. Kornbluth has not walked back her responses. MIT has expressed it is standing by her.

From The Epoch Times

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