At a Hearing on Israel, University presidents walked into a trap

Antisemitism, Violence and Free Speech: Reflections on the Decay of Sept. 11, 2001, at the Tevatron

Many Jews reacted terribly to that clip. Jewish people of many different political persuasions have been stunned by the rank antisemitism and contempt for Israeli lives that has exploded across campuses, where Jewish students have been threatened and, in some cases, assaulted. This week, when I wrote that the backlash to anti-Israel protests threatens free speech, I received many emails from people who felt I was refusing to grapple with an evident crisis. “You are worried about an overreaction when there hasn’t yet been a sufficient reaction to the antisemitism terrifying Jewish students on campus,” said one.

It seems to me that we are the most vulnerable to a repressive response when we are scared and angry. The lesson of Sept. 11 as well as the last decade is that speech in college can be policed in ways that are coming back to bite the left.

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