If the president’s Dec. 11 executive order on combating anti-Semitism on college campuses protected any minority group other than Jews, could we honestly say so many pundits would be expressing concern that it violates free speech?
The hypocrisy, largely from self-described “progressives,” is too rich. These sudden defenders of the First Amendment are the same people who consistently demand laws prohibiting anything they deem objectionable — such as the president’s Twitter feed.
These are the same people who railed against the First Amendment in March, when the president issued another executive order threatening to end federal funding for any college violating the free speech rights of its students. I received flak from professors and classmates for being one of the students invited on stage to watch him sign that order.
Let’s stop the rhetoric. Not only does the new executive order against anti-Semitism specifically re-enforce First Amendment protections, it embraces nationally recognized definitions of anti-Semitism and continues policies codified during the Civil Rights era when the government withdrew funding from any institution of higher learning that discriminated against African Americans. President Trump is now putting colleges on notice that they jeopardize their federal funding when they tolerate anti-semitic activity.
No one with any intellectual honesty can deny that America’s college campuses have become hothouses for radical, leftist thinking. Not only are campus atmospheres virulently hostile to anyone whose thinking strays from the leftist orthodoxy, but they also are modern incubators for hate-filled, anti-semitic and anti-Israel philosophies — gunk that is spoon-fed to unwitting students and eagerly lapped up by those eager to bang the anti-semitic drums.
I have witnessed and endured the exact type of institutionalized bias that both of President Trump’s executive orders were intended to stop.
Beginning in my freshman year at Syracuse University, a resident director taped up a poster in my dormitory lobby with the Star of David crossed out. When I objected, I was flabbergasted to hear this college employee explain to me that he thought the poster was appropriate for Black History Month! He was serious, and he was stunned that I found it problematic.
This is the same university that would not allow me to earn college credits to intern for a Republican congressional campaign last year, stating that as a nonprofit organization, the school could appear to be endorsing any political viewpoint. Yet, Syracuse does award credit to students who work for an anti-Israel Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) group whose leaders have openly supported Hamas and justified violence against Zionists.
In fact, at one documented meeting of the group, a participant asked where Jews should relocate when Israel is eradicated. Group members mockingly shouted out “Florida,” “Brooklyn” and “Syracuse.”
University officials seem oblivious to the hypocrisy. Another example: Syracuse denied my application to establish a conservative student group, Young Americans for Freedom, calling us “exclusionary” because we emphasize the rights established in the U.S. Constitution. They didn’t flinch when I pointed out that they do allow a “Solidarity for Palestine” chapter on campus that later attempted to demonize the Jewish state by trying to host an “Israeli Apartheid Week” this past April.
When some at Syracuse tried to bring reason to campus last year with an Israeli-Palestinian dialogue session, anti-Israel activists got it canceled.
I had hoped the president’s executive order on anti-Semitism be welcomed, considering that one day before he signed it, two anti-Semites linked to the Black Hebrew Israelites gunned down a brave police officer, along with three people inside a Kosher market in my home state of New Jersey. Some pundits marveled at the episode, clearly rattled and perplexed that the gunmen did not fit their stereotype of an angry, white male.
There is widespread denial in our society about the true nature of modern of anti-Semitism — that it is rampant, worldwide and cannot be dismissed as the rantings of only dangerous right-wing kooks. Anti-Semitism is not only embraced by radical elements, but also by too many people in the mainstream. It is chic to offer up anti-Semitic tropes at trendy cocktail parties. And on college campuses, it is downright “cool” to question the legitimacy of the state of Israel, and to disrespect the Jewish people.
Justine Brooke Murray (@Justine_Brooke) is a junior at Syracuse University, where she studies in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Civic Engagement.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.