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Ten Senate Republicans call for hearing on violations of civil rights of Jewish students

“Jewish students are being actively targeted, harassed, intimidated, threatened and in some cases assaulted for one reason: their heritage and religion,” the 10 members of the senate Judiciary Committee wrote.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) speaks at a National Press Club luncheon in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 8, 2015. Credit: Al Teich/Shutterstock.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) speaks at a National Press Club luncheon in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 8, 2015. Credit: Al Teich/Shutterstock.

Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee want a hearing on “civil rights violations of Jewish students and the proliferation of terrorist ideology on college campuses.”

“Since Hamas barbarically attacked Israel on Oct. 7, 2023, anti-Israel activists have threatened the safety and rights of Jewish university students,” the senators wrote to Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the committee chair.

“This hostile antisemitism has reached an inflection point over the past two weeks at several prominent, and federally funded, universities,” the GOP senators wrote. “Jewish students are being actively targeted, harassed, intimidated, threatened and in some cases assaulted for one reason: their heritage and religion.”

“This is fundamentally un-American,” they added. “It is also a federal crime.”

The senators referred to the “proud American traditions” of peaceful protests and the right to free expression of even controversial views. But “violent mobs and the intimidation of individuals because of their faith” are not part of that tradition, they said.

The Republican signatories were the committee’s ranking member Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Sens. Chuck Grassley (Iowa), John Cornyn (Texas), Mike Lee (Utah), Ted Cruz (Texas), Josh Hawley (Mo.), Tom Cotton (Ark.), John Kennedy (La.), Thom Tillis (N.C.) and Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.).

Citing media reports about the presence of Hamas and Hezbollah paraphernalia at protest locations, as well as chants of “death to America” and “globalize the intifada,” the committee members said that funding sources of campus activism, which has appeared at times to be highly coordinated, ought to be investigated. 

“This has been simmering below the surface for some time,” they wrote. “There are several university-sanctioned centers, curricula and other events that are antisemitic and espouse radical terrorist-aligned beliefs.” 

In the letter, the 10 senators “implore” Durbin to hold a hearing on the subject “promptly,” given what they called the Biden administration’s “woefully inadequate” response and that “university leadership on many campuses is doing little or nothing to protect students.”

“This committee owes it to Jewish students, and all students who attend universities with the modest hope of having a safe learning environment, to examine these civil rights violations,” the senators wrote.

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce has been active on the other side of the Capitol in holding hearings and requesting answers from the White House on the rise of pro-terror protests and activity on college campuses.

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