[guest post by Dana]
It’s insightful to hear from three university presidents who faced hard questioning from Rep. Elise Stefanik, while testifying on Capitol Hill before the House Education committee:
Does calling for the genocide of Jews violate [your university’s] code of conduct or rules regarding bullying or harassment?
— Bill Ackman (@BillAckman) December 5, 2023
Clearly, these are disturbing, evasive, and frustrating responses. Jonathan Haidt is spot-on in his observations:
“What offends me is that since 2015, universities have been so quick to punish “microaggressions,” including statements intended to be kind, if even one person from a favored group took offense. The presidents are now saying: “Jews are not a favored group, so offending or threatening Jews is not so bad. For Jews, it all depends on context.” We might call this double standard “institutional anti-semitsim.”
I also think it’s important to hear from Jewish college students themselves about what they face on a daily basis post-Oct. 7. The first student attends New York University, the second student attends the University of Pennsylvania:
Jewish college students are telling Congress today about the unrestrained #antisemitism sweeping their campuses. I was particularly moved by Bella Ingber, a junior at @nyuniversity. Shame on NYU and other schools for their stunning failure to protect Jewish students. pic.twitter.com/obWCeQxqL0
— Trisha Posner (@trishaposner) December 5, 2023
"On October 7th, Israel was attacked. Since October 7th, American Jews have been under attack."
Do yourselves a favor and watch this jaw-dropping speech. With students like this, the future of our people is bright.pic.twitter.com/2Yzi0eFIF7
— Eitan Fischberger (@EFischberger) December 5, 2023
And in this third video, a student from MIT speaks about the immense challenges she and other Jewish students now face on their campus:
"This is the same climate of antisemitism that has led to the massacre of Jews throughout the centuries. This is not just harassment. This is our lives on the line." @MIT student Talia Khan highlights the rise of antisemitism at MIT. pic.twitter.com/zXb03xodXb
— House Republicans (@HouseGOP) December 5, 2023
This post-Oct. 7 world has become increasingly dangerous for Jewish individuals. Whether in Europe or the United States, anti-Semitism is living and breathing in the streets, and communities and institutions, without shame or fear of reprisal. It is bold, intimidating, and its ugly twisted face is on its way to blending in with the crowds. Crowds that either find the message agreeable or look the other way in avoidance and in an effort to remain safe. I have always puzzled over how everyday citizens could have remained silent in the spreading fires of Jew-hatred before WWII broke out. But now seeing its slow rise to a ‘front and center’ position in American society in 2023, I get it. From the Holocaust Encyclopedia:
Ordinary people behaved in a variety of ways during the Holocaust. Motives ranged from pressures to conform and defer to authorities, to opportunism and greed, to hatred. In many places, the persecution of Jews occurred against a backdrop of centuries of antisemitism. In Germany, many individuals who were not zealous Nazis nonetheless participated in varying degrees in the persecution and murder of Jews and other victims. Following German occupation, countless people in other countries also cooperated in the persecution of Jews.
Everywhere, there were witnesses on the sidelines who cheered on the active participants in persecution and violence.
Most, however, remained silent.
UPDATE BY PATTERICO: Elise Stefanik is not that bright and is bad at questioning. If a university president can’t answer “yes” to the question “does a call for genocide of Jewish people violate your university’s code of conduct?” then the next questions would include things like this:
Does a call for genocide of Palestinians violate your university’s code of conduct?
Does a call for genocide of black people violate your university’s code of conduct?
What context would bring within your code of conduct a call for genocide of black people?
If students formed a KKK club and called for the genocide of black people would that violate your code of conduct?
Just dopily getting OUTRAGED is not effective.
That said, the initial question was a good one, and these people are now on their heels.
Amazing how the threat of consequences for yesterday’s disgraceful display has focused minds. Almost like these highly abstracted justifications for luxury bigotries aren’t actually predicated on any durable principle. https://t.co/lDEdamCMQ0
— Noah Rothman (@NoahCRothman) December 7, 2023