Fall in New England — the leaves are turning red and gold, and the Ivy League has an image problem.
As the leaves eventually fall and rot into a slippery, stinking mulch that ruins your lawn, so decades of anti-Israel indoctrination now bear fruit in moral decay, unhinged incitement and antisemitic acts.
On October 7, while Hamas’s barbaric attack on Israeli civilians was still ongoing, more than 30 Harvard student groups co-signed a statement by the Palestine Solidarity Group that claimed that Israel’s “apartheid regime” was “entirely responsible” for the massacre.
When a conservative non-profit group sent a truck around campus bearing some of the signatories’ faces and names under the banner “Harvard’s Leading Antisemites”, the students bleated about being “doxxed” and having their privacy violated. The university set up a support group for them.
Russell Rickford, Associate Professor of History, Cornell University (Photo: X/Twitter)
When law firms decided that they didn’t want to hire people who support mass murder, Harvard’s career services centre, a student group reported, started “reaching out to employers independently to vouch for students and to discredit the doxxed profiles”.
Harvard allocated resources to protecting anti-Israel students from the consequences of their public actions. Harvard’s president Claudine Gay defended the students by claiming that the university “embraces a commitment to free expression” and does not “punish or sanction people for expressing such views”.
The reality is that in September, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education placed Harvard at the very bottom of the league when it comes to free speech.
The reality is that students at American universities are routinely sanctioned by their peers for speech crimes such as getting their pronouns wrong or suggesting that Jews might have national rights, and routinely punished by the DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) bureaucracy’s unaccountable kangaroo courts.
The reality is that the professoriate, especially in the social sciences and arts, has been purged of not only conservatives but also libertarian defenders of the First Amendment. Education has been replaced by the far-left cant of “globalising the intifada”.
At Columbia University in New York last week, dozens of professors signed a letter that defended Hamas’s use of rape, murder, torture and kidnapping as a “salvo” in a “military action”.
Meanwhile, on a student discussion website at Cornell University in upstate New York, a poster threatened to “shoot up” the dining hall that serves kosher food, to rape Jewish women and throw them off a cliff, to behead babies and “slit the throats” of Jewish men he met on campus, and “shoot up all you pig jews”.
Hatred: a pro-Palestinian demonstration at Harvard, one of the elite US institutions where Hamas terrorism is supported by students and academics (Photo: Getty)
The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force have arrested and charged Patrick Dai, a 21-year-old third-year student from New York State. If convicted, he may be imprisoned for up to five years. Perhaps he can transfer to Columbia when he gets out.
A Columbia counter-petition now has twice as many signatures as the pro-Hamas petition.
“We are astonished that anyone at Columbia would try to legitimise an organisation that shares none of the University’s core values of democracy, human rights, or the rule of law,” the professors say.
Most of the names on the counter-petition are identifiably Jewish. Most of them teach “hard sciences” such as biology and chemistry, or in fields that require passing acquaintance with reality, like business studies and electrical engineering.
Donors and alumni groups are furious too. Suddenly, Claudine Gay, that ardent defender of principle, has changed her mind, announcing that Harvard has a problem with the “continuing presence” of antisemitism.
Gay is setting up an eight-person “advisory board” of Jews to “help us to think expansively and concretely about all the ways that antisemitism shows up on our campus and in our campus culture … from our orientations and trainings to how we teach”.
First the lunatics take over the asylum. Then they claim they’re not mad and attack anyone who disagrees. Now they ask the sane to give them a certificate of mental health.