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The ‘Demonstrate Against Genocide = Anti-Semitism’ Frenzy Claims First Victim

The frenzy on Capitol Hill to equate criticism of Netanyahu’s Israel War Cabinet with anti-Semitism is proceeding at a much faster pace than the McCarthyite frenzy of the early 1950s. University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill was quickly forced out after billionaires called for stopping any money for the UPenn unless she were removed. Her sin was to not sufficiently condemn demonstrators on campus—even though it is not easy for youth to accept the wanton killing of over 10,000 civilians while their government sends money and weapons to accomplish the genocide.

The pressure on the board was led by Ross Stevens, head of Stone Ridge Asset Management, who vowed to claw back a previous (2017) donation of $100 million unless the board forced her out. Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro also climbed onto the campaign. The coordinated “anti-Semitism” narrative is designed to pre-empt any discussion or action on the ongoing murder of Palestinians, and the recent Congressional “hearing” on three campuses (UPenn, Harvard and MIT) was designed to send a chilling message throughout the country.

A sampling of Congress’ overt sophistry makes clear the overt fear of a ceasefire and the diseased, frenzied mental activity. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) confronted Harvard’s President Claudine Gay: “Let me ask you this … you understand that the use of the term ‘intifada’ in the context of the Israeli-Arab conflict is indeed a call for violent armed resistance against the State of Israel, including violence against civilians and the genocide of Jews. Are you aware of that?” Stefanik goes from a competent rendering of “intifada” with her phrase of “violent armed resistance” to a violent armed offensive attack. And it means attacking the invading force, not civilians; and it certainly has nothing to do with committing “genocide of Jews.”

Gay’s response—"We embrace a commitment to free expression—even views that are objectionable, offensive [and] hateful. It’s when that speech crosses into conduct that violates our policies against bullying and harassment. That speech did not cross that barrier.” Calling for a war on Hamas, or for an intifada, may be a bad idea, but it is not bullying or harassment.

Rep. Lisa McClain (R-MI) again tried to elicit specifics from Gay later, asking whether “the students who are intimidating Jewish students just because they’re Jewish be expelled?” But there are no reports of students intimidating such students “because they’re Jewish.” What was the example of intimidation? Demonstrators had occupied Harvard’s University Hall for 24 hours, which intimidated Jewish students. Was the occupation directed at Jewish students because they were Jewish? Was this an issue for white racists when, in the civil rights movement, a massive demonstration of white and black citizens gathered?

But Gay answered McCain’s hypothetical case of someone going after a Jew because of their religion: “You’re describing conduct that sounds like it would violate our policies against bullying and intimidation and harassment, and if that is the case, we would answer that through our policies.”

Recounting a story of a friend’s son at Penn who is “physically afraid to go to the library at night,” Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI) asked the school’s President Liz Magill why that kind of learning environment would be allowed to continue. Magill responded: “I’m devastated to hear that, and the safety and security of our campus and our students in particular is my top concern.” She then requested to speak with the student, noting she was “very troubled” by his situation. Lost in the anecdote about the friend’s son is that nothing was mentioned about any threats conveyed to him, nor evidently was it thought necessary to identify any threats made to him.

MIT President Sally Kornbluth testified at the hearing that, while students “have been pained by chants and recent demonstrations,” MIT has a responsibility to “ensure that we protect speech and viewpoint diversity for everyone.... Meeting those goals is challenging and the results can be terribly uncomfortable, but it is essential to how we operate in the United States. Those who want us to shut down protest language are in effect, arguing for a speech code, but in practice, speech codes do not work. Our campus actions to date have protected students safety, minimize disruptions to campus activities, and protected the right to free expression.”

Normally, that would be considered responsible and American.