The latest round of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has stirred up emotions at the University of Virginia more than any event since the George Floyd riots. Not only are students holding demonstrations and counter demonstrations, faculty, parents, and alumni are chiming in.
Eighty University of Virginia professors signed an open letter proclaiming themselves to be “unsettled” by the tone of a statement previously issued by President Jim Ryan concerning events stemming from Hamas’ October 7 terror attacks on Israel. Ryan expressed sorrow for the atrocities inflicted upon Israeli citizens, the writers aver, but did not acknowledge the sufferings of the Palestinian people.
Meanwhile, more than 15o parents and alumni have signed a letter expressing concern for the safety of Jewish students in an atmosphere of increasing antisemitism nationally. The university, they say, needs to create a task force to eradicate antisemitism within the UVa community.
The Jefferson Council members with whom I am in contact — and I have heard from many — are unanimously supportive of Israel. The Jewish state is far from perfect when measured against a utopian ideal of pluralistic, democratic, rights-respecting nations, but Hamas, a terrorist organization masquerading as a state, bears no comparison. It is in the same league as the Huns, Vandals, Goths, Vikings and other ancient barbarians who laid waste to the settled societies around them. Council members have chosen to side with the heirs of Western Civilization and against those who seek to destroy it. Continue reading →
Mark M. Luellen
VP for Advancement
University of Virginia
Office of Advancement
Dear Mr. Luellen,
Years ago, we formalized an estate plan which included UVA as the recipient of a significant portion of our assets, held in a revocable family trust. I was proud of my degree from UVA and loved the atmosphere where honor, true history, scholarship, world class research and excellent teaching were the priorities.
In recent months I have been concerned that these priorities were overtaken by an extreme emphasis on diversity and equity and a lesser regard for traditional values. Lately UVA’s abundant support for the murderous and uncivilized Hamas organization and the timid recognition of the slaughter of innocent Israelis has deeply saddened me. Continue reading →
Pro-Palestinian protesters. Image credit: The Jefferson Independent.
More coverage of last week’s pro-Hamas demonstration at the University of Virginia comes from The Jefferson Independent and The Cavalier Daily. The Independent’s Peter McHugh provides a vivid description of events, such as dueling flags — Israel’s versus Palestinian — on the steps of the Rotunda. Crying, “This is our space!” the pro-Palestinian demonstrators scuffled with the Jewish students in an unsuccessful bid to remove their banner.
McHugh also takes note of a communication from the Provost’s office to faculty members that stated, “While the university is aware that a number of student organizations are planning a walkout at 12:30 tomorrow, we are not canceling classes and expect that instruction will continue as scheduled.”
At least one professor, Mack Gregg of the English department, ended class at 12:30 and urged students to attend the walkout demonstration, two students told McHugh. The Independent tried to contact Gregg for a response but got no reply. Continue reading →
The horrific attacks of October 7th on Jews in Israel have prompted pro-Palestinian groups, including several at UVA, to rally in support of Hamas. In recent days, we have heard growing calls for support of Palestinians and condemnation of Israel as the Israeli Defense Forces and Iran’s proxies – Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and Ansar Allah (the Houthi movement in Yemen) wage the most significant war in and around Israel in years. This is a war precipitated solely by Hamas’ surprise terror attack of unprecedented scale and proportion on unarmed Israeli civilians.
A common theme across the statements of pro-Palestinian groups and many university administrators and faculty is an explicit or implicit assertion of some moral equivalence between the suffering of human shields in Gaza and the victims of barbaric terror attacks in Israel. The linguistic turn that Hamas’ apologists employ most commonly is the ‘yes, but…’ device.
Some responded to these abhorrent statements with calls to restrict free speech, to sanction the terrorists’ enablers formally, and to quell somehow this pruriently hateful speech. I disagree. Most vehemently. Let the antisemites have their say. Why? Because now we know with certainty what they believe and how they genuinely feel about others in our community.
The downside of strict censorship is uncertainty about peoples’ actual beliefs. For example, by making the use of the n-word utterly forbidden, we protect the sensibilities of Black people who would suffer, at a minimum, great offense and possibly some genuine harm. However, the cost of that protection is that it enhances the ability of the faithful or casual racists to hide in our midst. Continue reading →
UVa and Harvard are the two campuses most often cited by the national and world press as homes to the worst actors after October 7.
It is easy work.
I posted a column on Saturday making a series of recommendations for actions by the University of Virginia to protect its Jewish community and rid itself of those that threaten it.
That was my response to the infamous support of UVa-funded organizations for the slaughter of innocents in Israel by Hamas, a group designated by the United States as a terrorist organization.
Kill Jews “by any means necessary” they wrote.
Read the column. I named them.
Now I have been told by the Executive Director of Hillel at UVa, Rabbi Jake Rubin, that the President’s office and local law enforcement “have been incredibly responsive, helpful, and present during this difficult time.”
Good start, and Virginians thank them for it, but it does not answer the questions about enforcement of state and federal laws.
Chanting “Palestine will be free, from the river to the sea,” hundreds of pro-Palestinian students held a protest on the Lawn at the University of Virginia yesterday. As reported by the Washington Free-Beacon, they demanded the Biden administration defund aid to Israel. The event was part of a national “walkout” organized by Students for Justice in Palestine, and the second demonstration in Charlottesville since Hamas unleashed a wave of terrorist attacks on Israel earlier this month.
“We, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), are sickened by the on-going, escalating genocide and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians by Zionist forces,” said the organizing group in a formal statement signed by two dozen other leftist student groups in the aftermath of the Hamas assault. “We stand in solidarity with Palestinians in the fight for liberation and in their struggle against settler colonialism.”
While the protesters were not explicit about their ultimate aim, the slogan “Palestine will be free, from the river to the sea” can mean only one thing: the eradication of the Israeli state and the dispossession — or worse — of the Jews within it. Hamas’ slaughter of innocents in its wave of terrorist attacks earlier this month foreshadows the likely fate of the Jewish population should Hamas carry the day.
Even Adolph Hitler did not call for the extermination of the Jews in his anti-Semitic tract, “Mein Kampf.” Even the senior Nazis attending the Wansee Conference to organize the “final solution” for the Jews spoke in euphemisms and knew that their program was too gruesome to reveal to the German people. Hamas is far more open about its aims. The genocidal impulse is all too clear.Continue reading →
There is a widespread notion among militant leftists at the University of Virginia, as there is in universities across the Commonwealth, that exposure to objectionable ideas causes “harm” to those who hear them and, thus, should be suppressed. This logic is a totalitarian wolf in sheep’s clothing. While I do not countenance the banning of speech — even the speech of those who would happily ban mine — I do believe this leftist trope must be combatted forcefully in the marketplace of ideas.
We observed this thinking in the run-up to the speech by Abigail Shrier, author of “Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters,” which highlights the role of social contagion in the spread of transgender identity among teenage girls and the potentially irreversible damage of hormone treatments and sex-change surgery.
Shrier is Public Enemy No. 1 to transgender activists, and their social media accounts lit up once word got out that the Jefferson Council and its partners were hosting a Q&A event with her on the Grounds. I won’t bore you with the serial misrepresentations of Shrier as a transphobe and a hater. Rather, my intent here is to explore the logic that speakers with views like hers are unwelcome at UVa.
“Unfortunately, knowing that the university is OK w allowing hateful ppl to come to this school (pence, pompeo, other hateful republicans) it is clear that ‘free speech’ and ‘bipartisanship’ is valued over the safety of their students,” messaged one writer in a QSU (Queer Student Union) account. (My bold face.)Continue reading →
Courtesy of SJP at UVa https://www.instagram.com/sjpuva/
by James C. Sherlock
The University of Virginia has made quite a national name for itself over the responses of its campus anti-Jewish extremists to the slaughter of babies in Israel.
It is not a reputation it wants.
On October 8th, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at UVa, an organization officially recognized by the Student Council and eligible for funding by the student activities fee, issued a statement “unequivocally support(ing) Palestinian liberation “by any means necessary.”
The Jefferson Council, formed by University of Virginia alumni and other stakeholders, is dedicated to preserving the legacy of Thomas Jefferson, the Lawn, the Honor Code, and the intellectual diversity one would expect from Mr. Jefferson’s university.
Many organizations are championing the cause of intellectual diversity and fighting the cancel culture on college campuses. If you are interested in pursuing these topics, we recommend you check these organizations.