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Op-Eds from Mike

Here’s what I saw during my visit to Columbia University

  • MVL Columbia Op-Ed

In recent months, we’ve witnessed a troubling surge in antisemitic incidents on our college campuses — culminating in the horrific scenes playing out at “elite” universities this spring. This wave of hatred, camouflaged as political activism, has sown division and left many Jewish students feeling unsafe.

Just a week ago, I joined Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), House Education and the Workforce Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) and Reps. Anthony D’Esposito (R-N.Y.), and Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.) at Columbia University to hear directly from Jewish students and to meet with members of Columbia’s administration. 

What I heard shocked me. 

Jewish students said they couldn’t attend classes without facing verbal or physical assault and harassment. 

Administration officials begged off of lax enforcement of campus policies, claiming negotiating with students was more productive than having consequences. 

And this has all led to where we find ourselves today. 

Non-enforcement of university policy and a twisted priority placed on not upsetting radical elements of student bodies across the country has allowed this extreme, hateful minority of students to hijack college and university campuses across the country for their own means. 

From California to New York, Illinois to Massachusetts and Ohio to Washington, D.C., these impromptu encampments of hatred have sprouted up. 

And all the while, their occupants have joined in antisemitic chants calling for the extermination of the state of Israel, carrying signs that read “Final Solution” and “Al-Qassam’s Next Targets,” and have expressed support for terrorist groups. 

Will we, as a country, root out and clamp down on these hate mongers, or will we let our country become a breeding ground for antisemitism? 

I know where I stand on this issue. 

Last October, shortly after Hamas’s horrific attack, I introduced the Antisemitism Awareness Act, which passed the House by a broad, bipartisan margin last night. 

It very clearly defines what antisemitism is, preventing the Department of Education from pretending it can’t be defined. It establishes that the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism and its contemporary examples is the one to be used in enforcement of federal antidiscrimination laws. 

It would also expand the authority of the Department of Education to go after antisemitism on college campuses, forcing compliance with federal statutes on antisemitism, and preventing weak-kneed college and university administrators from tolerating this hatred on their campuses. 

Let me be clear. Never again is now. We cannot, as Congress, waver in our resolve and commitment to fighting hatred and antisemitism. 

History will judge us for what we do at this moment. And the question for the Senate is simple: Will you stand up to the radicals spouting antisemitism and calling for a genocide of the Israeli and Jewish people? 

I know what my answer is. And I know what our country’s answer must be.