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Calling for ‘genocide of Jews’ not always ‘bullying’: elite college presidents

‘It does not depend on the context,’ Republican leader says

Demanding the “genocide of Jews” does not always violate school policies against “bullying and harassment,” according to the presidents of Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik asked each president at Tuesday’s hearing on antisemitism on college campuses whether calling for “intifada” and killing Jews violates their campus policies. All should “resign immediately,” Stefanik said, as a result of their answers.

MIT President Sally Kornbluth said it would if the comments were “targeted at individuals.” Kornbluth said that calls for “intifada” could be “antisemitic depending on the context, when calling for the elimination of the Jewish people.”

At the same time, her university currently teaches faculty and staff that using a gender-dysphoric person’s actual name instead of their new chosen name is a “violent act.”

Penn’s president made similar statements.

“If the speech turns into conduct, it can be harassment,” President Liz Magill said at the hearing.

“I am asking, specifically calling for the genocide of Jews, does that constitute bullying or harassment,” Rep. Stefanik asked.

“If it is directed and severe or pervasive, it is harassment,” Magill said. “So, the answer is yes,” Stefanik said. “It is a context-dependent decision Congresswoman,” the Ivy League president said.

“Calling for the genocide of the Jews is depending on the context,” the Republican congresswoman said.

After a brief exchange, President Magill said the speech could become harassment if “the speech becomes conduct.”

“Conduct meaning committing the act of genocide,” Stefanik asked.

She then turned to Harvard President Claudine Gay who gave a similar answer about context and the comments being “targeted at an individual.”

“It’s targeted at Jewish students, Jewish individuals,” Stefanik said.

“I will ask you one more time, does calling for the genocide of the Jews violate Harvard’s rules of bullying and harassment, yes or no?” the New York congresswoman said.

Gay said it could depending on “the context” if it includes “bullying, harassment, or intimidation.”

Asked to confirm the language then does constitute “bullying,” President Gay said it “depends on the context.”

“It does not depend on the context, the answer is yes, and this is why you should resign. These are unacceptable answers across the board,” Stefanik said.

The answers drew criticism from Israel supporters.

“Jews on these campuses need to leave. These Nazis are done with us,” Jewish News Service editor Caroline Glick wrote on X. “We need to be done with them — except for the lawsuits. Those need to be filed one after another, after another, until they are bankrupt. We can’t win them back. But we can make them poor.”

Liberal Democratic Congressman Josh Gottheimer criticized the presidents as well. “How hard is it to say that calling for the genocide of Jews is bullying and harassment?” the New Jersy Democrat asked. “Stunning that these university presidents can’t give the right answer to a simple question.”

MORE: Brown U. president cuts pro-Jewish statements after heckling

IMAGE: Rep Stefanik/X

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Matt has previously worked at Students for Life of America, Students for Life Action and Turning Point USA. While in college, he wrote for The College Fix as well as his college newspaper, The Loyola Phoenix. He holds a B.A. from Loyola University-Chicago and an M.A. from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He lives in northwest Indiana with his family.