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Foxx to College Presidents: Do You Have the Courage to Confront & Condemn Antisemitism?

WASHINGTON – Today, the Education and the Workforce Committee will hold Harvard, University of Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology presidents accountable for antisemitism on their campuses. Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) delivered the following statement, as prepared for delivery, at the hearing titled "Holding Campus Leader Accountable and Confronting Antisemitism":

"Before we begin, I’d like to begin with a moment of silence to recognize all the Israelis and others who have been killed, injured, or taken hostage by Hamas terrorists.

"Thank you.

"Today, each of you will have a chance to answer to and atone for the many specific instances of vitriolic, hate-filled antisemitism on your respective campuses that have denied students the safe learning environment they are due. As you confront our questions in this hearing, remember that you are not speaking to us, but to the students on your campus who have been threatened and assaulted and who look to you to protect them. 

"Several of those students are with us in this room, including: Jonathan Frieden who is president of Alliance for Israel and a Harvard Law student; Eyal Yakoby who is a senior at UPenn; Talia Khan who is president of MIT Israel Alliance and an MIT graduate student; Bella Ingber who is co-president of NYU's Students Supporting Israel and a junior at New York University; Israel Ingber who is expected to start at the University of Chicago in the fall after taking a gap year to study in Israel after being sent home right before the atrocities of October 7th; Maya Kfir who is a freshman at UPenn; and Li Yam Kreiz who is a sophomore at UPenn.

"We have a short video that we will play now that shows what these students are facing.

"I want to do something which I rarely do—quote the Senate Majority Leader from New York, Chuck Schumer. On Wednesday he took to the Senate floor to deliver an address on antisemitism, stating:

'Many of the people who express these sentiments in America aren’t neo-Nazis or card-carrying Klan members or Islamist extremists. They’re in many cases people that most liberal Jewish Americans felt previously were their ideological fellow travelers. Not long ago, many of us marched together for black and brown lives.'

"You see, this speech by the most powerful elected Jewish politician in America was addressed to many on his Left flank. He questioned how those elements of the Left, which pride themselves on diversity and inclusion, could be responsible for fomenting such hatred towards liberal Jewish Americans.

"I quote Majority Leader Schumer to you, presidents Gay, Magill, and Kornbluth, because I understand that speech to be a sort of reckoning for the Jewish identity with the radical Left, yet for 40 minutes he fails to use the word university a single time.

"However, after the events of the past two months, it is clear that rabid antisemitism and the university are two ideas that cannot be cleaved from one another.

"We must be clear on the ideological dimension of this problem.

"For years, universities have stoked the flames of an ideology which goes by many names—anti-racism, anti-colonialism, critical race theory, DEI, intersectionality, the list goes on.

"This value system taught in universities is absolutely foreign to 99 percent of Americans. It centers the identity on immutable racial and sexual characteristics. It presents a delusion that the color of one’s skin and expression of one’s chromosomes sort society into classes of oppressed and oppressors.

"And now it is clear that Jews are at the bottom of the totem pole and without protection under this critical theory framework.

"A prime example of this ideology at work is at Harvard where classes are taught such as 'DPI-385: Race and Racism in the Making of the United States as a Global Power.' The Harvard Global Health Institute hosts seminars such as 'Scientific Racism and Anti-Racism: History and Recent Perspectives.' Even the Harvard Divinity School has a page devoted to 'Social and Racial Justice.'

"Harvard also, not coincidentally but causally, was ground zero for antisemitism following October 7th and is the single least tolerant school in the nation according to the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression’s 2024 College Free Speech Rankings. UPenn is right behind them at 247th of 248. MIT is in the middle of the pack.

"What I am describing is a grave danger inherent in assenting to the race-based ideology of the radical Left. Senator Schumer hasn’t put the pieces together, but the picture is far too clear now to American Jews.

"Institutional antisemitism and hate are among the poisoned fruits of your institutions’ cultures. The buck for what has happened must stop on the president’s desk, along with the responsibility for making 'never again' true on campus.

"Do you have the courage to truly confront and condemn the ideology driving antisemitism? Or will you offer weak, blame-shifting excuses and yet another responsibility dodging taskforce? That’s ultimately the most important question for you to confront in this hearing.

"I will close with this. I appreciate your appearances today on behalf of Harvard, UPenn, and MIT, respectively. It proves your universities have at minimum a sense of accountability to the American people.

"But my praise for postsecondary education is very limited these days. Harvard, UPenn, and MIT, you have a very big role to play in shaping the future for all of academia.

"This moment is an inflection point. It demands leaders of moral clarity with the courage to delineate good from evil and right from wrong."


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