Executive Director of Massachusetts Institution of Technology’s (MIT) Free Speech Alliance Peter Bonilla stated that a KKK situation on campuses would pose more of a “safety threat” than current calls for the genocide of Jews, per an interview with TMZ.
Bonilla discussed the recent issues Ivy League universities have had on campus appeared during the exclusive Friday interview with TMZ. The presidents of the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), MIT and Harvard appeared Tuesday before Congress to discuss the presence of antisemitic rhetoric on campus.
Bonilla claimed that while calling for the genocide of Jews is “morally outrageous,” it doesn’t mean you “lose” freedom of speech “protection.” (RELATED: ‘Words Matter’: Harvard President Apologizes For Comments In Hearing On College Campus Antisemitism)
“Calling for the genocide of the Jews, it strikes us at our core, it is a morally outrageous position to take. The unfortunate and uncomfortable truth is a call like that just because it’s that outrageous doesn’t necessarily lose its protection solely on that basis,” Bonilla stated.
“Being a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, that President McGill’s walking back ends usually pretty strong commandments of free expression which do have a strong foundation in First Amendment law, I think its a mistake because it’s going to open the door to all kinds of other censorship and all kinds of uneven enforcement against who-knows-what kinds of opinions.
— TMZ (@TMZ) December 9, 2023
A majority of the presidents received backlash after evading questions regarding how they handled antisemitism on their respective campuses. Some of the leaders, including UPenn’s president, walked back their statements in public apologies this week.
TMZ founder Harvey Levin posed a “hypothetical” situation for Bonilla, asking him his stance if the situation had been a KKK threat. (RELATED: ‘So F*cked’: Big Dem Donor Realizes He ‘Was Totally Wrong’ About The Left’s Antisemitism)
“I want to give you a hypothetical, suppose it wasn’t a group of students calling for the genocide of Jews. What if the Ku Klux Klan came on campus at the University of Penn with burning crosses and called for the death of black people?” Levin questioned.
“I think in a situation like that the university would have a lot of leeway to restrict them, to have them removed from the campus, and say that they are creating a safety threat. I think that in situations like that, yeah,” Bonilla responded.
“What’s the difference? What’s the difference between that and calling for the genocide of Jews? I don’t see a difference there,” Levin stated.
“Well if you’re the Ku Klux Klan and if you’re marching onto a private campus, like this without any particular connection, without any right to be there — if you’re burning crosses, things like this, you know, there’s a lot of historical examples of this kind of thing,” Bonilla stated.
Levin quickly cut off Bonilla, pushing on the free speech advocate’s comment of “historical examples,” asking if there weren’t already “examples of Jews being exterminated.” Bonilla answered, “Yes, there are” before Levin interjected again.
“Let’s say they’re students from the university that organize a KKK-type rally — they’re students there. And they do exactly the same as asking for the genocide of Jews. I don’t see the difference between the two at all,” Levin stated.
“I think a lot of people don’t and I think that’s — and I think you’re cut to a really compelling part of this entire argument which universities are in a real bind to get themselves out of and explain themselves on,” Bonilla stated.
Since the hearing, UPenn has lost roughly $100 million in donations as a response to President Liz Magill’s refusal to condemn the calling for the genocide of Jews on campus.
Magill and Board of Trustees chairman Scott Bok announced on Saturday their resignations from the school.