Americans repulsed by college students harassing Jewish students were more horrified when the adults in charge refused before Congress to condemn calls for Jewish genocide as a violation of their codes of conduct and suggested the words were fine until acted upon. Three university presidents responded to a congressional query about calls for “intifada” with mealy-mouthed words, citing the need for context. One even called the query “a difficult question.”
Most Americans, however, do not require advanced degrees to condemn antisemitism . This failure in leadership revealed latent antisemitism and moral blind spots but also revealed deeper systemic issues afflicting leading universities.
While many wish these privileged students were better informed about the Jewish people’s historical and spiritual connections to the land, it has become clear the anti-Israel protesters are impervious to corrective instruction. Their protests reveal more about their moral rot than intellectual deficiencies. The university presidents may have been forced to apologize in the face of donor and bipartisan condemnation, but they are merely addressing the symptoms and not the root causes of higher education’s current crisis.