College presidents from Harvard, MIT and University of Pennsylvania were pressed on Capitol Hill during an education hearing about the massive protests on campus where chants calling for the genocide of Jews, “intifada,” and “from the river to the sea” were heard.
The presidents dodged, did not directly answer the question or claimed it did not violate their policies per se and it depended on context. Beyond the initial response to the questions on genocide, another issue critics narrowed in on was how the condemnations of antisemitism was coupled with a condemnation of Islamophobia.
“We have seen a dramatic, deeply concerning rise of antisemitism… on our campuses, including my own… And our campuses have seen a rise in incidences of Islamophobia… I know Harvard’s Muslim and Arab communities are also hurting. During these difficult days we have felt the bond of our community strained,” Harvard University President Claudine Gay said in her testimony.
“It’s not just antisemitism, it’s also Islamophobia and hostility to students who are visibly Muslim, or Arab, or Palestinian,” she added.
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“I would describe very much the same experience at the University of Pennsylvania,” President Elizabeth Magill said.
Critics say that putting incidents of antisemitism and Islamophobia together is to equivocate the two, when Jews are the #1 targets for hate crimes, according to the latest statistics. Jewish people comprise 2.4% of the U.S. population but make up 60% of hate crimes linked to religion.
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Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Mich., told Fox News Digital, “The fact of the disproportionate problem: No, we don’t want Islamophobia taking place. But that’s not a problem right now to any major degree. Muslims are not being sent to the corner of a classroom… Jewish students have been and they have been sent to the corner of a classroom. They have been attacked on campus. And that’s what we need to look at.”
“I think it evidenced the reality of who they are, what the institutions have become. And it’s a place of propagandizing more than education in many ways,” he said about the presidents’ testimonies.
Fox News Digital reached out to all three universities for further data and information about incidents of Islamophobia on their campuses, but have yet to receive a response.
Last month, Jewish students sued their universities for failing to enforce existing policies in place to protect their Title IV civil rights, particularly after Oct. 7 terrorist attacks against civilians.
Rep. Bob Good, R-Va., said he believed college presidents were trying to tread carefully around their students and faculty, of whom they are fearful.
“Once again, the double standard of the left, that they cannot just condemn antisemitism without bringing into it this phony, inauthentic, dishonest comparison to some kind of a widespread Islamophobia in this country,” he said. “I think the motivation for it [is] they are afraid on the college campus.”
Rep. Good pressed the college presidents during the hearing on what he believed was an equivocation of antisemitism and Islamophobia.
“It’s wrong to suggest that antisemitism and Islamophobia are equivalent problems in this country… Jewish hate crimes are the most predominant hate crime in this country today,” he said.
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He then asked Magill if there were massive chants for the genocide of Muslims on campus as there had been for Jews.
“Just this past Sunday night, there was another march on the UPenn campus, an anti-Israeli march. Has there at any time since October 7th been an equivalent large-scale gathering of crowds in support of the slaughter of Muslims or the elimination of an Arab or predominantly Muslim state?” he asked.
Magill dodged the question when being pressed on the evidence of Islamophobia being equivocal with antisemitism, “Congressman, any act of hate…” and “Congressman, I abhor all acts of violence.”
“There is a deeply troubling tendency by many of the left which has been expressed to somehow conflate or equate with so-called Islamophobia… It is wrong to suggest that antisemitism and Islamophobia are equivalent problems as noted in this hearing,” he said.
Good told Fox News Digital he found the presidents’ responses “really disappointing.”
“They were really reluctant to condemn antisemitism specifically or without bringing in, ‘Oh, I condemn all racism, all discrimination, all bigotry, all bias,’” he said. It was almost like an “all lives matter” approach, he added.
“And, then, of course, there’s always this seeming insistence by many in the media and many on the left, many in the Democrat Party, that if you bring up antisemitism or anti-Israel rhetoric, then you’ve got to bring up Islamophobia. And most Americans understand there is no real issue with Islamophobia in this country,” he said.
Talia Khan, a Jewish student at MIT told Fox News Digital that she believed the universities were failing to truly address antisemitism, in speech and action. “I’m Jewish from my mother’s side and my father’s an Afghan Muslim. So I guess I identify with, you know, both sides of this,” she said.
“There’s no place on campus for hate and there’s no place on campus for hate speech and violence and bullying and harassment for anybody in any religion. But we are seeing a much greater incidence of antisemitism on this campus specifically,” Khan said.
The Department of Education recently launched an investigation into rising antisemitism and Islamophobia on college campuses, including the University of Pennsylvania.
“We at the Department of Education, like the nation, see the fear students and school communities experience as hate proliferates in schools,” Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon said.
The House’s education committee announced Thursday an investigation into Harvard, UPenn and MIT over “rampant antisemitism” following the testimony from the presidents.
Rep. Walberg said, “I think we need to put the the fear of oversight in all of the universities because they’re taking federal dollars. And I think they need to know that federal dollars will be removed from them if they’re allowing this type of thing to go on.”
The investigation will also be pushing for whistleblowers from students and faculty, said Rep. Walberg.
Rep. Good said, “We’re doing some other things related to that where we’re trying to expose and bring accountability and transparency to the billions of dollars that are flowing into our colleges from foreign adversaries.”
“Why would we permit foreign adversaries to buy… the ability to have a say in the indoctrination going on our college campuses? And so we need to continue to fight that battle. Our future is at stake,” Good added.
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