Photo Credit: House Committee on Education and the Workforce
From left: Claudine Gay (Harvard University president), Elizabeth Magill (University of Pennsylvania president), American University professor Pamela Nadell and Sally Kornbluth (Massachusetts Institute of Technology president) testify during a House committee hearing about antisemitism on campus on Dec. 5, 2023.

It is abundantly clear that regular incidents of antisemitism have occurred (and been tolerated) at the US’s so-called “elite” universities for too long! Jewish students have long complained to the school administrations of harassment and intimidation (sometimes violent) from other students and faculty members, but the administration has knowingly (and maliciously) turned a blind eye. Although Jewish students were aware of the issue beforehand (57% of Jewish students surveyed in September reported having experienced or witnessed anti-Semitic incidents on campus) mainstream news outlets largely ignored it. Meanwhile, state and federal governments, as well as private donors, continued to fund the universities, providing little motivation for them to act against such behavior. All that changed with the October 7 Hamas Genocide, when the number of alarming events increased dramatically, as did the blatantness of such acts, to the point where the media were forced to report on them. For the first time ever, US universities are beginning to “realize” that they must act, now that wealthy donors, activists, and politicians are beginning to withhold their substantial financial support from the money hungry academic institutions.

The “Ivy League” University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), one of the biggest offenders, has repeatedly failed to defend its Jewish students, allowing antisemitism to thrive. For instance, the school recently permitted an antisemitic event to occur on campus, which coincidentally fell on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. The event featured extreme bigots like Marc Lamont Hill, who was fired by CNN for calling for the eradication of the Jewish State, and musician Roger Waters, who frequently espouses conspiracy theories about Jewish lobbies being in control, has donned Nazi-like uniforms in concert, and displayed a giant, inflatable pig balloon with a Star of David at several of his shows. UP President Elizabeth Magill defended the event on the grounds of free speech (more on the selective “free speech” allowed on her campus shortly). Huge pro-Palestinian demonstrations callig for the eradication of Israel took place following October 7. During one of these demonstrations, a UPenn student who spoke at the event commended the events of “Glorious October 7”. She was subsequently arrested and charged with stealing an Israeli flag on campus. It does not appear that she has been expelled from the university as of this writing.

Congressman Ritchie Torres (D-NY) expressing his disgust via Twitter that someone with a UPenn education could utter such horrible things. The video contains strong racist language; viewer discretion is advised.

Donors are now fighting back, and it seems that things are beginning to change. Following the aforementioned occurrences, former Utah governor John Huntsman Jr. announced he was closing his checkbook to the university. His family has contributed tens of millions of dollars to the school. Due to this, Magill released a statement denouncing Hamas as a terrorist organization, discussed efforts to combat antisemitism on campus, and acknowledged that the administration ought to have denounced the antisemitic speakers at the aforementioned gathering earlier. A large number of the school’s Mega donors withdrew their financing as a result of her remarks, which many saw as insincere, devoid of decisive action, and too little, too late. Some even openly urged others to follow suit. Billionaire Marc Rowan, who donated $50 million to the university just in 2018 alone, urged that all funders stop supporting the institution until Magill and Board of Trustees Chair Scott Bok resigned. Following that, businessman Vahan Gureghian quit from the school’s Board of Trustees in protest at its administration. Yet, incidents of harassment directed towards Jewish students on campus persisted. These included the spray painting of “The Jews R Nazis” on a building across from a Jewish fraternity house, an incident in which a law school staffer was caught on camera tearing down posters of Israeli hostages and cursing at the student filming him (the law school spokesman described it as a “personal matter” under investigation). Other incidents included emails directed towards members of Hillel, the Jewish student organization on campus, containing threats of bombs that required the FBI’s intervention, and vile antisemitic emails directed towards Jewish staff members. Student organizations projected the phrase “From the river to the sea…” on campus buildings on November 9th; this has been recognized as an antisemitic chant that calls for Israel’s annihilation.

Reading between the lines of common antisemitic slogan used as rallies, what is meant is “From the (Jordan) River to the (Mediterranean) Sea, Palestine Will Be Free (of Jews)”.
Photo Credit: Police Free Pen

The continued passivity of the university to tackle these problems with actions, not just words, resulted in more important backers refraining from financially supporting the school. Venture capitalist David Magerman and hedge fund billionaire Cliff Asness said that they wouldn’t donate any more money until meaningful change was made, and Jewish students felt safe on campus. Ronald Lauder (sole heir to the Estee Lauder cosmetic company) stopped his donations to the Lauder Institute (named after him) at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. Spooked by these financial backers bailing on the school, President Magill finally announced the formation of a task force to combat antisemitism. Because the task force lacked any enforcement, antisemitism continued. This included students harassing patrons and the owner of a Kosher restaurant while “Chanting we are Hamas” and a protest where at least two professors joined and were filmed “calling for war against Israel” and telling Jews to go back to (expletive) Berlin (according to congressional testimony, it appears that neither of the two faculties members have been disciplined). During this time Jewish students testified before congress that they skipped exams, because they were too afraid to walk from their dorms to class.

As a result of not protecting the students, Professor Elizabeth Magill was subpoenaed to congress, along with the presidents of Harvard or MIT (schools where Jewish students arguably are more afraid than those at UPenn). The hearing was a PR disaster for all three schools. All three principals responded that it “depended on the context” when asked if advocating for the extermination of Jews violated their school’s regulations. Under questioning from Congresswoman Elise Stephanik (R-NY), two of the three principals grinned defiantly.

While refusing to answer whether calling for the murder of Jews was a violation of the UPenn’s code of conduct, President Magill was grinning from ear to ear.

When Magill tried to defend her school by saying that the free speech polices of the school are guided by the US constitution, Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) brought numerous examples of times that the school barred speakers from campus. For instance the school cancelled India’s Prime Minister Modi’s visit, due to opposition from certain Indian-American professors. The school also attempted to fire a tenured law professor due to her beliefs against the school’s diversity policy and comments on identity issues (other examples were brought up). Banks finished his statement by saying that UPenn indeed does regulate speech that they do not like. It should be pointed out that the well-respected Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression has rated UPenn as the second worst college in the country with regards to freedom of speech (Harvard ranked first).

Must See video where Congressman Jim Banks (R-IN) shows the hypocrisy and inconsistency of Magill and UPenn’s “Free Speech” Policy

Her performance was universally condemned by politicians on the left and right, and calls for resignation were made by 78 members of congress (mostly Republican but a few Democrats as well). PA Governor Josh Shapiro (D) called her speech “absolutely shameful”. The following day, in a televised address, she apologized and admitted that calling for the genocide of Jews was a violation of the code of conduct. But the damage had been done. When mega donor Ross Stevens threatened to withhold his pledged donation of 100 million dollars to the University, all of a sudden, the school’s board who had largely been supportive of Magill, forced her to resign (one hour later, Board of Trustees Chair Scott Bok also resigned).

Four days after Magill’s shameful speech, Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania (PA) defeated legislation to send 33.5 million dollars to the “Ivy League” University of Pennsylvania’s veterinary school over its silence on anti-Semitism and allowing protests that call for the ethic cleansing of Jews from Israel (until now, this state funding has enjoyed wide bipartisan support). State Republicans are currently drafting legislation that would make state funding of universities dependent on the school’s code of conduct, making clear that calling for genocide constitutes bullying and harassment.

In other states, Governors and lawmakers, mainly Republican, have drafted bills that will see public funding of universities conditional on, among other things, protecting Jewish students and removing financial aid to students promoting terrorism. This has already been impactful, as several top-name universities have banned or suspended the (pro-Hamas) Students for Justice in Palestine from their campuses.

Authors note: Jewish students and those who support them are starting to respond to antisemitism for the first time in decades. They’re sick of living in constant fear when they stroll around campus.. State and federal legislators are currently debating legislation that would defund universities that fail to stop this hatred. To safeguard students, donors are also starting to show some muscle. Universities have demonstrated over and again that they have no genuine motivation to reform until there is a significant threat to their funding. By spreading awareness, contacting donors and local and national politicians, everyone can contribute to the fight against campus antisemitism. Let them know that you feel unsafe and uncomfortable with your tax dollars going to such organizations until a significant change is made. I can tell you from experience that elected officials pay more attention to constituents who take the time to reach out, than those who don’t. Share this and related articles that bring attention to this crucial topic with your friends, congregations, and/or social media.

Nosson Shulman is a licensed tour guide, journalist, and activist with a focus on geopolitics and Biblical Israel. He fervently supports the Jewish State through his writings, radio program, guided tours, continued fundraising for poor Israeli families (and currently for soldiers on the Gaza front), and media appearances. Sadly, his primary source of income as a tour guide has been lost as a result of the war. If you would like to help support his continued work on behalf of Israel during this difficult time while experiencing Israel with the click of a button, click here to see the sneak preview videos of the two virtual tour videos from a Biblical worldview perspective he created, bringing Israel into your home by simulating actual tours, all from the comfort of your own home! .


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