White House Decries University Presidents’ Hesitation to Confront Antisemitism

(DailyVantage.com) – The White House has taken issue with the attitude presidents of leading universities in the U.S. have taken regarding the sharp increase of antisemitic rhetoric on campuses all over the country.

In a recent hearing in Congress, Claudine Gay, Sally Kornbluth, and Elizabeth Magill—the presidents of Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Pennsylvania, respectively—provided testimony on the incidence of antisemitism on their respective campuses. Aside from providing generally evasive answers to questions posed to them by representatives, they all seemed to agree that antisemitic speech made by students could be allowable depending on the “context” in which those statements were made.

Speaking before members of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, particularly Republican New York Representative Elise Stefanik, the presidents all said that “context” plays a part in their determination of whether an antisemitic comment or even a call to violence was a punishable or actionable offense. Many pro-Palestinian protests by students have called for a global “intifada,” or revolution, and include the phrase “from the rivers to the sea,” which is widely believed to be an allusion to the extermination of Jews.

White House spokesperson Andrew Bates blasted the way the university presidents responded to the inquiry, saying that it should be obvious that “calls for genocide are monstrous and antithetical to everything we represent as a country.” He added that any sort of call for the murder or extermination of Jews is “dangerous and revolting.”

Other organizations and individuals have also taken issue with the university president’s attitude during the hearing. Axios reported that a donor has withdrawn a $100 million gift to the University of Pennsylvania over university president Magill’s testimony in Congress. Ross Stevens, a Penn alumni and founder and CEO of Stone Ridge Asset Management, was supposed to help fund the building of a center for innovation in finance but has since withdrawn his support for the university.

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