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Columbia grad speaker under fire for omitting knife attack on husband during Senate hearing

Also invited the author of antisemitic book to campus as student

The graduation speaker for Columbia University’s law school is facing criticism for hiding a knife attack on her husband during a Senate confirmation hearing.

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke is also facing renewed coverage of her decision to invite the author of a Jewish conspiracy theory book to speak to her Harvard University group as a student.

She leads the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, which includes investigating complaints of antisemitic discrimination.

The controversy comes as Columbia continues to grapple with accusations of antisemitism and catering to pro-Palestinian activists. The university has gone fully remote for the rest of the semester due to the ongoing unrest on campus.

Clarke did not disclose, in response to questioning from Senator Tom Cotton in 2021, that she sliced her then-husband’s finger to the bone during a domestic dispute in 2006. The Daily Signal originally reported Clarke’s arrest and expungement earlier this week.

Clarke told CNN in a media statement she was the victim of domestic violence and did not believe she needed to disclose the attack.

“When given the option to speak about such traumatic incidents in my life, I have chosen not to,” Clarke stated. “I didn’t believe during my confirmation process and I don’t believe now that I was obligated to share a fully expunged matter from my past.”

She also wrote:

This was a terrorizing and traumatizing period that I have sought to put behind me to promote my personal health, healing and well-being. The physical and emotional scars, the emotional abuse and exploitation, and the lying are things that no woman or mother should ever have to endure.

Another matter from her past is the decision to invite Tony Martin to speak to the Harvard Black Students Association while she was a student at Harvard.

Martin wrote a book called “The Jewish Onslaught,” which “accused Jews of orchestrating the slave trade and of colluding to suppress black progress,” according to The Washington Free Beacon.

Clarke has since distanced herself from that decision, but her speaking at Columbia continues to draw criticism.

Alums for Campus Fairness Executive Director Avi Gordon told the Free Beacon Clarke’s appearance might seem like she is “tacitly endors[ing]” antisemitism on campus.

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IMAGE: Senate Democrats/Wikimedia Commons

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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.