In protests against Israel attacks, GOP sees ‘woke agenda’ on universities | ET REALITY


This week, the Biden administration said that expand efforts to fight anti-Semitism on college campuses, ordering the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security to connect campus security with state and local law enforcement and expedite the processing of discrimination complaints under a statute that aims to specifically prohibit certain forms of antisemitism and Islamophobia.

“Political leadership has been rock solid on this,” Jonathan Greenblatt, executive director of the Anti-Defamation League, said of the Biden administration after attending closed-door meetings at the White House on Monday to deliver recommendations to improve security. in the schools. “They’re focused on this like a laser, and they should be.”

Still, Republicans see opportunities to exploit divisions within the liberal coalition, highlighting the views of an energized left that presents the Palestinian cause as an extension of other movements for racial and social justice.

They have focused on a few progressive, mostly black and Latino Democrats – a “Hamas group,” Republicans provocatively call them – who have openly opposed the Israeli government and voted against a House resolution last week condemning Hamas’s “brutal war against Israel” and maintains with the Jewish State.

Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the law school at the University of California, Berkeley, said Republicans were mischaracterizing a complex and emotionally fraught issue to score political points. He has urged school administrators to exercise their right to free speech to denounce anti-Semitism, but also maintains that students should be allowed free speech, even if it is offensive or hateful.

“I think trying to exploit it as part of the culture wars is inappropriate, misleading and unhelpful,” said Chemerinsky, who has been the subject of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories in recent weeks. “For many, the existence of Israel, or opposition to it, is deeply personal. “None of this follows traditional liberal and conservative lines.”

The specter of swastikas dotting college campuses known for their liberal values ​​has been a trap for Fox News and other conservative media outlets. These outlets have provided extensive coverage, presenting the anti-Semitic incidents (and the cautious responses that many university leaders initially gave) as symbolic of views that have overtaken not only the Democratic Party but also the country’s higher education system.

Matt Brooks, president of the Republican Jewish Coalition, said the issue exposed liberal hypocrisy, arguing that university administrators valued Jewish students less than other minority groups that had been targeted in recent years.

“If the roles were reversed and they were African American students, if they were LGBTQ students, the university would certainly crack down and make sure that this was a safe space for them on college campuses,” Brooks said. “They are not doing that for Jewish students. And it’s absolutely outrageous.”

In his speech to the RJC, Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina denounced what he called “a poisonous anti-Semitism that has been allowed to fester on the radical left of American politics,” adding that universities “had no problem.” in talking about political controversies in the country. past. “But now? Now that their own institutions are being used as platforms to call for genocide? Now they offer pathetic ambiguity or, worse, deafening silence.”

“They seem more offended by ‘microaggressions’ than mass murders,” Scott said. “If this were any other minority group, listen to me, the far left would be shouting from the rooftops.”

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