On the evening of Aug. 11, 2017, more than 300 torch-bearing white supremacists marched down the Lawn at the University of Virginia chanting, “Jews will not replace us.” The phrase is not self-explanatory, but the marchers were widely thought to be proclaiming that Jews would not displace Christian Whites as the dominant element of society. The white supremacists were not calling for the slaughter of Jews. Rather, embracing the rhetoric of victimhood and grievance that has so saturated 21st-century America, they were expressing a yearning for the good-old-days when Christian Whites ran the show.
Fast forward to Oct. 24, 2023. Hundreds of demonstrators marched down the Lawn waving Palestinian flags and chanted “Palestine will be free from the river to the sea.” Their meaning was crystal clear. They weren’t merely vilifying Jews. Just days after the horrific Hamas attacks on Israel, the protesters were demanding the eradication of the Israeli state, and they were endorsing terror against Jewish civilians as a means of achieving it. Whether wittingly or unwittingly, they were advocating genocide.
In 2017 University officials quickly, forcefully, and quite correctly condemned the antisemitism of the Unite the Right rally. In 2023, the response to the Palestinians has been muted. Continue reading →
“You are entitled to your opinion. But you are not entitled to your own facts.” — Daniel Patrick Moynihan:
Dear President Ryan, Provost Baucom, and the Board of Visitors,
The former New York senator’s famous quotation perfectly describes the October 8 statement posted by the “Students for Justice in Palestine at UVA” on its Instagram page.
I firmly and unequivocally believe in the First Amendment. Any individual student or group must be allowed to speak their mind, as long as their statements do not violate University policy or Virginia law. However, there are numerous falsehoods in the SJP statement. I will cite three particularly egregious ones:
“Students for Justice in Palestine unequivocally supports Palestinian liberation and the right of colonized people everywhere to resist the occupation of their land by whatever means they deem necessary.”
“While the Israeli government publicly declared war today, the war and genocidal campaign began over 75 years ago.”
“The people of Gaza are denied freedom of movement, are under calorie restrictions, and are routinely bombed and brutalized by Israeli forces.”
The three statements above are both factually wrong and morally outrageous. Below are the facts: Continue reading →
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 →
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 →
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.