White House Condemns University Presidents’ Weak Stance On Antisemitism
Amid fiery responses to three university presidents’ testimony before Congress this week, President Joe Biden’s administration has joined in condemning the feebleness of the presidents when it comes to condemning calls for the genocide of Jewish people on their campuses.
The House Education Committee took testimony from Harvard University President Claudine Gay, MIT University President Sally Kornbluth and University of Pennsylvania President Elizabeth Magill on Dec. 5 as part of an investigation into antisemitism on college campuses.
When the three were asked whether calls for Jewish genocide by students violate their respective schools’ policies, they refused to provide a straightforward response and instead, chalked it up to context.
On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked for her take on the issue during a briefing and she denounced calls for genocide as “unacceptable.”
“We’ve talked about this — we have witnessed the worst massacre on October 7th. We witnessed the worst massacre suffered by the Jewish people since the Holocaust, and the latest in a heartbreaking pattern that goes back thousands of years. So statements that advocate for the systemic murder of Jews are appalling, and we should all stand against them,” she stated.
“We should be calling out, calling out this type of hate,” she added.
White House spokesperson Andrew Bates also reacted to the hearing, saying, “It’s unbelievable that this needs to be said: Calls for genocide are monstrous and antithetical to everything we represent as a country.”
Bates further stated, “Any statements that advocate for the systematic murder of Jews are dangerous and revolting – and we should all stand firmly against them, on the side of human dignity and the most basic values that unite us as Americans.”
Seeing the blowback on their testimony, Gay and Magill tried to walk back their statements, with Gay putting out a statement to state that “calls for violence or genocide against the Jewish community, or any religious or ethnic group” have no place at Harvard.
“There are some who have confused a right to free expression with the idea that Harvard will condone calls for violence against Jewish students,” she said.
Statement from President Gay: There are some who have confused a right to free expression with the idea that Harvard will condone calls for violence against Jewish students. Let me be clear: Calls for violence or genocide against the Jewish community, or any religious or ethnic…
— Harvard University (@Harvard) December 6, 2023
Magill also released a video to lay the blame on the university’s policies and by extension, the United States constitution.
“There was a moment during yesterday’s Congressional hearing on antisemitism when I was asked if a call for the genocide of Jewish people on our campus would violate our policies. In that moment, I was focused on our university’s long-standing policies – aligned with the U.S. Constitution – which say that speech alone is not punishable,” she said in the video.