OpinionSchools & Higher Education

Crisis at the University of Minnesota

Condoning antisemitism disguised as activism.

A “Free Palestine” sign on display with the University of Minnesota's gopher mascot that was erected by the school's Students for Justice in Palestine chapter. Source: SJP via Facebook.
A “Free Palestine” sign on display with the University of Minnesota's gopher mascot that was erected by the school's Students for Justice in Palestine chapter. Source: SJP via Facebook.
Hen Mazzig. Credit: Courtesy.
Hen Mazzig
Hen Mazzig runs the Tel Aviv Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to combating online antisemitism. He has been named one of the top 50 LGBTQ+ influencers.

The University of Minnesota is at the epicenter of current campus discourse and its leadership is currently considering a proposal that is outright genocidal and antisemitic. The proposal was made by a group that is absolutely clear about its goal of destroying Israel.

This is not just a failure to address campus safety but a breach of the university’s duty to foster an environment free from bias and hate.

For weeks, anti-Israel encampments have held the University of Minnesota hostage. These encampments have spewed vitriolic hate at Jewish students and staff. Rather than punish these bad actors, the school chose to give in to their demands and give them a platform to speak to the Board of Regents.

Many of these extremists took that opportunity to deny or outright justify the massacre of 1,200 innocents in Israel on Oct. 7. This massacre was the largest killing of Jews since the Holocaust. There was rape, genital mutilation and torture. Over 200 people were dragged screaming to the tunnels beneath Gaza, where 132 remain captive. The sexual and psychological abuse of the hostages continues every day they are in Gaza.

While the anti-Israel mob argues that their anger comes from Israel’s response to Oct. 7, this is an obvious lie. They began protesting Israel and praising Hamas’s massacre on Oct. 8, before any Israeli military action took place. Anyone who doubts that the mob is motivated by racist hate is either blind or ignorant.

The University of Minnesota “protesters” made their position very clear during their meeting with the Board of Regents. They endorsed and used the term “Thawabit,” developed by the Palestine Liberation Organization in the 1970s to present the terrorist group’s demands. The PLO’s Thawabit asserts that Palestinians have a fundamental right to “resistance,” which in their lexicon means killing Jews. The Thawabit also calls for the dismantling of Israel and its replacement with a Palestinian supremacist state.

For good reason, the Jewish community is deeply concerned about the protesters’ adoption of this term. Thawabit originates in the discourse of terrorist organizations whose goal is genocide.

The protesters’ endorsement of terror is not only rhetorical. There is evidence that indicates Palestinian terrorist groups may have helped sponsor the protests.

Downplaying the Jewish community’s concerns is nothing short of gaslighting. Antisemitism under the guise of political correctness and activism is still antisemitism. Moreover, the University of Minnesota’s actions do not just threaten the Jewish community on campus. They threaten the university’s foundational values, which claim to oppose all forms of discrimination and hatred.

The university must reverse course and rectify its treatment of its Jewish and Israeli students. It must make amends for the incitement and violence it has tolerated. It can start by unequivocally condemning the antisemitic protests. Next, it can actually enforce university policies against violent students. We all know that such hatred against any other group would never be tolerated.

The University of Minnesota must become a place of learning that respects all cultures, narratives and histories. Its actions will set a precedent for how educational institutions around the U.S. can stand against movements that espouse hate and violence under the facade of activism. It is time to take bold steps to protect all members of the university community.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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