Weekly Capitol Report

Rooting out antisemitism on campus

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Washington, May 10, 2024 | comments

Like so many Americans, I have been absolutely appalled by the rampant antisemitism we’re seeing on college campuses. It’s unacceptable that in America in 2024, vicious mobs are harassing, chasing down, and blocking students from entering buildings on college campuses because of their Jewish faith. And let me be clear: these mobs aren’t anti-war protestors; they are terrorist-supporting hate groups.

Earlier this month, I met with a Harvard graduate student who came to Washington to ask lawmakers for help in combatting the out-of-control hatred on campus. Antisemitism at Harvard has gotten so bad that the young man needed a police escort to keep him safe from masked, yellow-vest-wearing Leftists who would surround him while shouting antisemitic rhetoric and recording his every move while he walked to class. Among the most appalling chants spouted by the mob is a reference to the “Final Solution” – Hitler’s plan for the elimination of the Jewish people – combined with a call for wiping Israel off the map: “There is only one solution, intifada revolution.”

As Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over the tax code, I’m helping to lead the fight to hold accountable colleges and universities that have allowed this behavior to flourish. These institutions enjoy generous benefits under the U.S. tax code. They have a responsibility to the American taxpayer to ensure that they are fulfilling their educational requirements as tax-exempt organizations as well as protecting students from intimidation, harassment, and violence. Sadly, too many colleges and universities have failed to hold up their end of the bargain. By failing the test, they are putting their special tax benefits at risk.

In November, I held a Ways and Means Committee hearing as part of my fight to hold these institutions accountable for failing to protect Jewish students. Following that hearing, I sent letters to leaders of elite universities with some of the most egregious activity demanding information on what disciplinary action, if any, they have taken against those whose antisemitic activity violates campus policy. I’ve called on them to disclose any donations or funding they have received from foreign governments as well. Our investigation has already produced 1,500 pages of documents that we are now actively reviewing. We will not stop until we get answers, until Jewish students can feel safe, and until these institutions are held accountable.

But as recent events have shown, antisemitism is still running rampant on campus, and colleges and universities are turning a blind eye to violations of their codes of conduct. They allowed students to set up tent cities that were nothing more than breeding grounds for antisemitism. In some cases, faculty and staff are leading the mobs. They are only emboldening the terrorist sympathizers – like those who have ruined, or gotten colleges to cancel, graduation ceremonies. Sadly, many of these college students didn’t have a real high school graduation ceremony because radical, mask-wearing Leftists shut down schools during COVID.

Refusing to condemn antisemitism isn’t just morally bankrupt. It’s also a glaring example of liberal university presidents and faculty picking and choosing what speech is protected by the First Amendment. They won’t hesitate to discipline someone who fails to use “preferred pronouns” but deflect with cries of “Free Speech!” when defending students who call for the genocide of the Jewish people.

The bottom line is that it shouldn’t be hard for these schools to enforce the rules, denounce antisemitism, and keep their students safe. In Washington, I will continue working around the clock to hold these colleges and universities accountable for failing to keep Jewish students safe.

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