With Antisemitism Spreading on Campuses, Pro-Hamas Activists Must Face Consequences

May 13, 2024

Since Hamas’s horrific October 7th attack on Israel, it has been encouraging to see so many Tennesseans and Americans stand together in support of the world’s only Jewish state.

At the same time, though, it has been deeply disturbing to see our country experience one of the worst waves of antisemitism in our history—perpetrated largely by far-left activists, including students at some of the most prestigious universities in America. On campus after campus, pro-Hamas demonstrators have harassed and intimidated Jewish students, blocked Jewish students from attending classes, and threatened violence against the Jewish people.

At Columbia University, demonstrators chanted “We are Hamas” and “Long Live Hamas.”

At the University of Michigan, students hung a banner reading “Long Live the Intifada”—invoking the Palestinian terror attacks that killed hundreds of Israeli civilians.

At Princeton University, students waved the flag of Iran-funded terror group Hezbollah, which has launched more than 3,500 rockets into northern Israel since October 7th, forcing tens of thousands of innocent Israelis to evacuate their homes.

At New York University, activists handed out flyers calling for “Death to America” and “Death to Israeli real estate.”

And at George Washington University, a pro-Hamas activist walked around campus with a sign calling for a “Final Solution” against the Jewish people.

One thing should be clear: The anti-Israel protests on campuses across the country are enabling anti-Jewish hatred and terrorist sympathizers. In fact, some of the college groups protesting, including at Columbia, have allegedly held joint events with the terrorist organization Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

These disturbing demonstrations run completely against our nation’s values and have no place in America or Tennessee. But instead of punishing activists and students who peddle antisemitism and glorify terrorism, many schools are bowing to their demands.

In negotiations with pro-Hamas demonstrators, Northwestern University agreed to offer coveted faculty positions to Palestinian academics and set aside full-ride scholarships for Palestinian students. To appease its pro-Hamas students, Brown University agreed to hold a vote on divesting from Israel. And after negotiating with pro-Hamas activists for weeks, Columbia University canceled its main commencement ceremony.

We can only bring an end to these illegal, antisemitic demonstrations when there are actual consequences. Thankfully, there are several things Congress can do to crack down on these terrorist sympathizers.

In the U.S. Senate, I joined Senator Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) in introducing the No Flights For Terrorists Act, which would place any individual—whether they’re students, faculty, or paid agitators—on the TSA’s No Fly List if they have promoted violence against Jews, sworn allegiance to a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, or been subject to disciplinary action by the institution of higher education related to such action.

As President Biden pushes billions in new, illegal student loan forgiveness, I have also joined my Senate Republican colleagues in introducing legislation that would prevent any pro-Hamas protester on college campuses convicted of a crime from receiving federal student loan relief.

Perhaps most importantly, we must hold universities to account for allowing and enabling antisemitic demonstrations on their campuses. The Stop Antisemitism on College Campuses Act, which I introduced alongside Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.), would rescind federal funding for schools that authorize, fund, or facilitate events that promote antisemitism.

In this difficult time, we must stand with Israel and the Jewish people and against Hamas and its pro-terror supporters. With these crucial pieces of legislation, Congress has an opportunity to do that.