Hamas’s rampage through Israel earlier this month was a shock to the world. The terrorists deliberately targeted civilians, including children, women, and the elderly. Babies had their heads cut off. Women were raped and then murdered. In all, 1,400 Israelis were killed, the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust. The sadistic methods are tough to even read:

the body of a pregnant woman whose belly had been cut open, her infant still inside; children burned alive; the bodies of a couple who had been handcuffed to each other and tortured in front of their children, with one of the man’s eyes gouged out.

Hundreds more were kidnapped and taken as hostages, including children. All decent people have been outraged by these evil actions.

But on many college campuses, the Hamas terrorists are being praised by professors, staff, and students. Nellie Bowles and others have documented a partial list of outrageous reactions from faculty, including:

  • Cornell professor Russell Rickford who said the various crimes against humanity left him “exhilarated.”
  • Mika Tosca, a professor at the Art Institute of Chicago: “Israelis are pigs. Savages. Very very bad people. Irredeemable excrement [. . . .] May they all rot in hell.”
  • Derecka Purnell, a scholar-in-residence at Columbia Law School: “rooting for everyone resisting oppression.”
  • John Collins, a professor at St. Lawrence University: “Faculty colleagues: If you think ‘decolonization’ is fine for your syllabus, your curriculum, or your classroom, but not for actual colonized people in Palestine, then you’ve never understood decolonization. Please stop using the term until you educate yourself.”
  • Joseph Massad at Columbia University: “What can motorized paragliders do in the face of one of the most formidable militaries in the world? Apparently much in the hands of an innovative Palestinian resistance.” He also described the attack as “awesome” and a “major achievement of the resistance.”
  • Zareena Grewal, a professor at Yale: “Prayers for Palestinians. Israel is a murderous, genocidal settler state and Palestinians have every right to resist through armed struggle.”

Meanwhile students hold vigils for Palestinian “martyrs” who were killed while butchering Israeli babies. At Harvard, over 30 student groups issued a public letter which held Israel “entirely responsible” for the murder, rape, mutilation, and kidnapping of their own people.

Administrators have been, shall we say conflicted. As Nellie Bowles notes

College presidents issue articulate statements for just about every political cause that wafts through campus. For example: Northwestern issued statements about Dreamers, January 6, Roe v. Wade, and the Ukraine war. On this one? A long silence. And finally: Northwestern said they would not be taking a stand. And where colleges have quickly issued statements, those statements have been very awkward. So awkward, in fact, that Harvard’s president Claudine Gay had to issue a clarification: she was not pro-Hamas, despite her previous statement [. . . .] You know it’s not good if you have to reiterate that, in fact, you are not pro-Hamas, contrary to what you may have previously implied.

While some of these faculty, staff, and students have retracted and/or apologized for their statements, many have not. These campus reactions have revealed two important truths.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is a Lie

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) offices and personnel have been colonizing college campuses for years. Inclusion, the third component, is meant to ensure that everyone on campus feels welcome and safe. While this sounds unobjectionable, celebration and support for Hamas’ actions reveals that inclusion is selectively applied—specifically, if you’re Jewish, inclusion is not for you.

As Bari Weiss points out

[. . .] according to the prevailing ideology that rules American college campuses, violent acts include “misgendering” and “harmful language,” and so these acts must be condemned publicly in the strongest possible terms, the perpetrators punished.

When it comes to the mass slaughter of Jews in Israel by a genocidal terrorist organization, however, such condemnations and consequences are curiously absent [. . . .]

Contrast what colleges will tolerate with what they won’t. Microaggressions are met with moral condemnation. Meanwhile, campuses will tolerate—even glorify—the wanton murder of Jews—actual violence. Indulge in this at UCLA and you can get extra credit [. . . .]

DEI officials have “allowed for calls of violence and slaughter against a minority group across campuses.” At an anti-Israel demonstration at the University of Washington, a Jewish student pleaded with campus officials “They want our people dead. They want us killed [. . . .] How are you allowing this? Why aren’t you putting a stop to this?” Campus officials ignored their stated commitment to inclusion and did nothing. As Alexander Nazaryan asked “what is the point of having DEI deans if they are unwilling to protect students pleading for protection from literal calls for murder?” Armen Rosen notes that “University administrators who treat every scratch of racist graffiti as a kind of communitywide soul-murder have discovered a newfound sense of nuance when faced with the 21st century’s worst butchery of Jews.”

Even worse are blatantly antisemitic DEI officials. A DEI director at Cornell University wrote “When you hear about Israel this morning and the resistance being launched by Palestinians, remember against all odds Palestinians are fighting for life, dignity, and freedom—alongside others doing the same—against settle colonization, imperialism, capitalism, white supremacy, which the United States is the model.”

The antisemitism problem among DEI officials is so bad that standing up for Jews puts your job at risk. Consider former DEI director Tabia Lee who was fired prior to Hamas’ attack.

Before I got to campus, Jewish students had endured a litany of hateful and hostile acts [. . .]

I tried to right this wrong. First, I hosted Jewish speakers on campus, with the goal of promoting diversity and inclusion by sharing different perspectives.

Critics called me a “dirty Zionist,” and the school refused to promote the events.

I then pushed the administration to issue a strong condemnation of antisemitism.

My request was refused. Some campus leaders and colleagues repeatedly told me I shouldn’t raise issues about Jewish inclusion or antisemitism.

I was told in no uncertain terms that Jews are “white oppressors” and our job as faculty and staff members was to “decenter whiteness.” [. . .]

At its worst, DEI is built on the unshakable belief that the world is divided into two groups of people: the oppressors and the oppressed.

Jews are categorically placed in the oppressor category, while Israel is branded a “genocidal, settler, colonialist state.”

In this worldview, criticizing Israel and the Jewish people is not only acceptable but praiseworthy [. . . .]

If you don’t go after them — or worse, if you defend them — you’re actively abetting racist oppression.

I have never encountered a more hostile environment toward the members of any racial, ethnic or religious group.

I was ultimately fired [. . . ] and I suspect my defense of Jewish students played a part.

The harsh reality is that in blatant contradiction of their sworn fealty to DEI, Jews don’t warrant inclusion at many American universities. The inaction of DEI offices and officials in the face of calls for genocide against Jews reveals the DEI is a lie. American campuses would be better off tossing this old and tired ideology into the trashbin.

Institutional Neutrality is Essential  

The second truth revealed by the campus response to Hamas’s atrocities is that institutional neutrality is the only choice for colleges moving forward. As the Kalven committee report noted back in 1967:

The university is the home and sponsor of critics; it is not itself the critic [. . . .]

[. . .] the university [. . .] cannot take collective action on the issues of the day without endangering the conditions for its existence and effectiveness. There is no mechanism by which it can reach a collective position without inhibiting that full freedom of dissent on which it thrives [. . . .]

The neutrality of the university as an institution arises then not from a lack of courage nor out of indifference and insensitivity. It arises out of respect for free inquiry and the obligation to cherish a diversity of viewpoints [. . . .]

But for years, under pressure from woke students and staff, universities have abandoned this principle and released countless statements on the issue of the day. Yet when it comes to making statements about the mass killing of Jews, universities fell strangely silent. As Abigail Shrier noted in a series of tweets:

Trump Wins an election.
American Universities: WE CANNOT BE SILENT!

George Floyd killed by cops.
American Universities: WE CANNOT BE SILENT!

Kyle Rittenhouse acquitted by jury.
American Universities: WE CANNOT BE SILENT!

Ukraine Invaded by Russia.
American Universities: WE CANNOT BE SILENT!

SCOTUS strikes down Roe v Wade.
American Universities: WE CANNOT BE SILENT!

Hamas murders 1200 innocent Jews.
American Universities: We have decided that making statements on current events is unwise.

The hypocrisy is galling. As the Washington Examiner noted, “Ordinarily, it would be a blessed relief to see college administrators take a stand for free speech. They should be consistent, though, rather than arriving at the opinion that expressive liberty on campuses is important only when students demonstrate to support terrorists killing Jews.”

Nobody is criticizing their local grocery or hardware stores for their lack of public statements about Hamas’s attack, because grocery and hardware stores haven’t made a habit of issuing public statements on the issues of the day. But universities have, and because of that, they need to denounce Hamas’s actions that day or they will be correctly branded as indifferent to attempted Jewish genocide at best and active supporters at worst.

Institutional neutrality on all issues is the only way out of the hole that universities have dug themselves into. But it requires being neutral on all issues. If an institution only wants to be neutral on the attempted genocide of Jews, it is not standing on principle, it is using a convenient excuse to hide bigotry.