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GOP legislators send letters to Ivy League campuses denouncing their rising antisemitism

Dozens of Republican Congress members signed letters on Nov. 1 accusing five Ivy League universities of having condoned or failed to properly condemn antisemitism on campus.

Rep. Ralph Norman and 26 other GOP legislators inveighed against “the rise in antisemitic statements and pro-Hamas protests” at the five elite universities, expressing “profound disappointment in administrators for their half-hearted, hypocritical, or absent responses.”

The letters were addressed to the presidents of Harvard University, Yale University, Columbia University, Cornell University, and the University of Pennsylvania.

Each of the five letters noted “the shocking lack of a prompt and unequivocal condemnation” from university administrators regarding Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorist attacks on Israel.

The legislators questioned the universities’ moral compass and their commitment against terrorism and violence, adding that “silence in this case is resounding applause for the acceptance of evil.”

According to the letters, the five universities failed to denounce the terrorism against Israeli civilians until several days later in the face of mounting pressure, despite promptly and unequivocally condemning “less egregious actions without any hesitation” in the past.

The lawmakers then described recent antisemitic activities on each of the five campuses.

The letter to Harvard noted a joint letter signed by more than 30 Harvard student organizations, which called the Israeli government an “apartheid regime” and claimed to hold Israel “entirely responsible for all unfolding violence” after the Hamas invasion.

The controversial letter and Harvard’s initial lack of condemnation of it prompted a revolt among the university’s wealthy donors, many of whom have decided to halt their donations.

The University of Pennsylvania faced a similar donor revolt after hosting on campus the Palestine Writes Literature Festival, which Jewish groups said had speakers with a history of spewing antisemitic remarks.

In their letter to the Philadelphia-based school, the lawmakers said that its approval of the festival is “not only dangerous but shows a severe lack of judgment, which calls into question the leadership and values of your institution.”

Addressing Yale, the legislators mentioned its Professor Zareena Grewal, who referred to Israel as “a murderous, genocidal settler state” and encouraged armed attacks targeting Israelis.

Similarly, Cornell Professor Russell Rickford described Hamas’ slaughter and kidnapping of Israeli civilians as “energizing” and “exhilarating.”

The legislators denounced Cornell’s refusal to fire the professor, who they said was “endorsing” and “gleefully celebrating” violence and terror.

The letter to Columbia addressed the hate crime assault against an Israeli student, the pro-Palestine protests on campus, and the school’s tenured Professor Joseph Massad describing the Hamas invasion of Israel as “awesome” and a “stunning victory.”

A day before sending out the five letters, Rep. Ralph Norman said, “The delay in response by these universities [to the Oct. 7 Hamas attack] in conjunction with their outright support of these student organizations and professors sends a message of indifference and alienates part of their own student body.”

The College Fix reached out to the five universities’ media relations teams regarding the letters, but has yet to receive a response.

Harvard President Claudine Gay, however, announced on Nov. 9 that the university will “implement a robust program of education and training” on antisemitism as well as a 24-hour hotline for anonymously voicing concerns.

MORE: Conservative student journalist: I was pushed, stalked at Princeton pro-Palestinian rally

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About the Author
Matthew Xiao -- Cornell University