Anti-Israel Campus Demonstrations: The Democrats' Profile in Cowardice

Posted on Friday, April 26, 2024
by Tammy Bruce

Fearful of losing the votes of leftists, Arabs, and Muslims, President Biden and many Democratic officials are failing to act to stop out-of-control anti-Israel and antisemitic protests that are disrupting colleges across the nation and terrorizing Jewish students.

The Democrats are showing profiles in cowardice by refusing to compel colleges and universities to end the chaos that has paralyzed campuses, forced classes to be canceled or go virtual, and canceled graduation ceremonies. The weakness of university apparatchik bureaucrats has allowed this to spread. We’ve seen this obscenity before. During the December 2023 testimony to Congress, the presidents of Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, and MIT refused to outrightly condemn calls for genocide by pro-Hamas mobs on their campuses soon after the October 7th massacre. They said “context” mattered. The murder of 1200 people in Israel by Hamas, with hundreds taken hostage, wasn’t enough to jar those academic women out of their smug slumber. Americans were duly shocked. Now we know that cancer has spread through too many university suites.

In sharp contrast, Republicans are appropriately blasting the protests against Israel’s defensive war against bloodthirsty Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip. Condemning terrorists bent on genocide isn’t a controversial stand. Yet, how awful is it when condemning Jew hatred and support for terrorism is a bar too high for the Democratic Party’s leadership?

The Iran-supported terrorists in Gaza continue to hold an estimated 130 hostages, including dozens who are believed dead, and continue firing rockets into Israel at civilian targets. And Hamas openly states its goal is to attack Israel again and again and obliterate the Jewish state. It’s believed they still hold five Americans hostage. One of whom, Hersh Goldberg-Polin, was seen in a video released by Hamas on Wednesday. Clearly under duress, he read a statement which CBS notes was “clearly crafted by Hamas,” and in which he is missing his left hand. It was the first time Hamas released a video of a US citizen hostage. In much of the coverage, outlets generally did not mention the other Americans being held.

Meanwhile, at U.S. universities, thuggish student protesters — and non-students who have joined them —have created tent cities on college lawns that look like homeless encampments, using them as bases to harass and threaten Jewish students.

House Speaker Mike Johnson and four other Republican members of Congress visited Columbia University in New York City — where the protests were launched and remain intense — on Wednesday to meet with Jewish students and Rabbi Yuda Drizin. Johnson said he would demand that Biden send National Guard troops to the campus if necessary to restore law and order.

Johnson also threatened to seek an end to federal funding for colleges that fail to create a safe environment for Jewish students.

The steps Johnson proposed would be a good way to combat Jew hatred with action, rather than simply condemning it with empty rhetoric, as some Democrats often do. On top of this, many believe, including myself, that students who break the law with their protests and engage in hate crimes like antisemitism should be suspended or expelled. This is not some complicated moral theory requiring contemplation at exclusive seminars. It’s basic human decency. It’s striking that one has to even say this, but the worst offenders who engage in violent attacks ought to face jail time. 

Johnson called Columbia University President Minouche Shafik a “weak and inept leader” unable to protect Jewish students and called for her resignation, “if she cannot immediately bring order to this chaos.” He told protesters to “go back to class and stop the nonsense.” They responded by heckling him with boos, insults, and obscenities. 

One thing we do know is that being heckled by Jew-haters means you’re doing a good job for the cause of civilized humanity, and something to which we should all aspire.

The protesters can’t possibly believe that young Jewish American students are running Israel’s defensive war against Hamas from their dorm rooms in between classes, partying and playing video games. So nothing other than toxic antisemitism can explain their attacks on Jewish students.

Jewish students attending religious services and other Jewish events — and those who are identifiably Jewish based on what they wear or objects they carry — have been targeted, threatened, and physically attacked.

For example, Jonathan Lederer, a Jewish sophomore at Columbia University, recorded a cellphone video of a protester running off with Lederer’s Israeli flag and setting it on fire. Lederer said other protesters then assaulted him. “They were pushing and shoving me,” he said. “They threw rocks at my face. At that moment, my life was totally threatened. And there was no safety authority on campus.”

All this is disgraceful and intolerable. College campuses shouldn’t be sanctuaries for hatred of any group. Imagine if bigots created tent cities on campuses around the country and threatened to shut their schools down unless the colleges took action against Black, LGBT, or Muslim students. The vast majority of Americans would be rightfully outraged and demand an end to the hatred.

But while hundreds of protesting students and some of their professors have been arrested at several colleges, the protests go on.

Protesters are making a slew of outrageous demands on their schools as the price for ending the illegal occupations of university property. Their demands include requiring university participation in the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, which is aimed at destroying the Israeli economy.

Supporters of BDS refuse to buy Israeli products or do business with or invest in Israeli companies and companies that trade with Israel. BDS also bars participation in academic exchanges and research projects with Israel, and denies students college credit for classes they take at Israeli universities.    

The student protesters claim they are opposed to Israeli policies, but many go beyond that to oppose the very existence of Israel as a Jewish state. That crosses a red line into antisemitism. You can’t separate hatred of the only Jewish state in the world from hatred of Jews.

The protesters threatening Jews on campus today are frighteningly reminiscent of students in Germany who were among the earliest and most ardent supporters of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.

The Nazi Party created the National Socialist German Student League in 1926 for college students to support its antisemitic campaign that ultimately resulted in the mass murder of 6 million Jews. Once Hitler came to power in 1933, he created the Hitler Youth group for boys and the League of German Girls for young people ages 10 to 18.

Fascist and communist tyrants know that taking control of universities is the first step to controlling the intellectual elite and indoctrinating the younger generation. We must not let Jew-haters do this in America.   

Tammy Bruce, an Independent Conservative, has traversed a unique political journey that reflects her commitment to principles rather than party affiliations. She joined Fox News in 2005 as a Political Contributor, hosting her show “Get Tammy Bruce” on Fox Nation and providing insightful commentary on various issues for the Association for Mature Americans (AMAC).

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of AMAC or AMAC Action.