Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) spoke on Monday about the failure of U.S. colleges and universities to counter campus antisemitism following the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel.
“The responses of university administrators were not exactly profiles in courage—from the equivocations and weak public statements to the absurd double standard invoked in testimony before Congress,” he said on the House floor, referring to the appearance on Dec. 5 by the presidents of Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Pennsylvania, who could not seem to definitively condemn cries of Jewish genocide on campus. “We’re still waiting to see any real signs that these universities have actually taken the lessons of the past few months to heart.”
Since then, the presidents of Penn and Harvard—Liz Magill and Claudine Gay—have resigned.
He also called out Harvard University for its new task force to combat antisemitism, noting that the co-chair “has a record of calling Israel a ‘regime of apartheid.’” He also challenged the academic institution for its partnership with Birzeit University in Judea and Samaria, which has long fomented anti-Israel, anti-Jewish sentiment.
McConnell cited a poll that “showed one in five Americans between the ages of 18 to 29 doubts that the Holocaust happened.” He suggested that academia’s postmodernist ideologies, which attack “the very notion of objective truth,” played a role in these statistics.
“If these institutions ever hope to reclaim any mantle of cultural authority they once held, they might want to start with taking the world’s oldest form of hate a bit more seriously,” he said.