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Genocide testimony exposes university chiefs and students as uber-liberal and out of touch

Ivy league presidents asked for 'context' when questioned on whether genocide against Jews is unacceptable, both Elizabeth Magill and Claudine Gay apologized the next day for their testimony.

Turns out the university presidents who refused to condemn genocide against Jews were all coached by the same law firm.

How’d that work out for them?

Elizabeth Magill, the University of Pennsylvania’s president, resigned four days after her House testimony, and the heads of Harvard and MIT are under strong pressure to quit as well.

They all were prepped by the blue-chip law firm of WilmerHale, whose lawyers sat up front at the hearing, reports the New York Times. Should the firm even be paid for taking a crisis situation and providing advice that amounted to pouring gasoline on a raging fire?


What did the university chiefs think would happen if they went before the House committee and refused to answer the most basic of questions: Does your school approve of the mass murder of Jews? This has become such a huge story that they were under a harsh spotlight.

Instead we got lawyerly evasions, slippery semantics and word salad with dressing. And this can’t be all blamed on the attorneys, since university presidents are presumably smart people. Yet they ignited a firestorm.

The testimony was such a disaster that both Magill and Harvard President Claudine Gay apologized the next day. So if they’re admitting that what they said was wrong, how can anyone else be expected to defend them?

Both Magill and Gay used that weasel word "context." It all depends on the context whether we can say genocide against the Jews is unacceptable or not. Yet everyone knows they would never have dared say that about blacks or Muslims or Palestinians or any other racial or ethnic group.

Some are attempting to blame Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik for her dogged questioning of Magill, Gay and MIT chief Sally Kornbluth. But the truth is any competent lawmaker would have asked the same questions.

What’s more, two prominent Democratic officials in Pennsylvania – Gov. Josh Shapiro and Sen. John Fetterman – also ripped Magill’s answers as unacceptable and wanted her to step down. And it didn’t help that a big-time Penn donor pulled a $100-million gift.

Even White House spokesman Andrew Bates said it was "the right thing to do," referring to Magill withdrawing her remarks, and that President Biden wants "moral clarity" on the issue. Magill said in her apology that she should have been focused on "the irrefutable fact that a call for genocide of Jewish people is a call for some of the most terrible violence human beings can perpetrate. It's evil."


See, that wasn’t so hard. This was entirely a self-inflicted wound.

Gay, in her own apology, said calls for "violence or genocide against the Jewish community, or any religious or ethnic group are vile, they have no place at Harvard." 

Gay is resisting pressure from politicians and prominent alumni to step down, but more than 500 Harvard faculty members have signed a letter insisting she be retained.

The New York Times, in a behind-the-scenes piece, says Penn’s dissident trustees met "in secret" over the weekend and about half the 48 total trustees decided Magill had to go–not knowing she had reached the same conclusion.

Another Times piece sort of blamed the right: 

"For years, conservatives have struggled to persuade American voters that the left-wing tilt of higher education is not only wrong but dangerous…For Republicans, the rise of antisemitic speech and the timid responses of some academic leaders presented a long-sought opportunity to flip the political script and cast liberals or their institutions as hateful and intolerant." 


While that is true, as I noted, many Democrats have joined in the denunciations as well.

But I want to get to the broader question of how universities have hidden behind the rubric of "free speech" on antisemitism, but applied it selectively.

Andrew Sullivan, on his Substack, is eloquent on the question: 

University presidents "select every single member of the faculty, and every student, by actively discriminating against members of certain ‘privileged’ groups and aggressively favoring other ‘marginalized’ ones." I disagree on most student admissions, but embrace the larger point. Harvard also mandates student training sessions "where they are told that ‘fatphobia’ and ‘cisheterosexism’ are forms of ‘violence,’ and that ‘using the wrong pronouns’ constitutes "abuse.’" Ouch.

But where Sullivan really hammers home the point is in knocking down the notion of a double standard for incendiary rhetoric by pro-Palestinian students.

"These are not double standards. There is a single standard: It is fine to malign, abuse and denigrate ‘oppressors’ and forbidden to do so against the ‘oppressed.’

"Freedom of speech in the Ivy League extends exclusively to the voices of the oppressed; they are also permitted to disrupt classes, deplatform or shout down controversial speakers, hurl obscenities, force members of oppressor groups – i.e. Jewish students and teachers in the latest case – into locked libraries and offices during protests, and blocked from classrooms. Jewish students have even been assaulted…

"If a member of an oppressor class says something edgy, it is a form of violence. If a member of an oppressed class commits actual violence, it’s speech." Those students who support Hamas terrorists who "killed, tortured, systematically raped and kidnapped Jews just for being Jews in their own country…have been taught it’s the only moral position to take." 

It’s fine to quibble with Andrew’s arguments here and there. But it’s true that university bosses and students have embarrassed themselves with selective outrage – and exposed how doggedly liberal and utterly out of touch most of these campuses have become.

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