Since the Hamas attacks of 7 October, some US campuses have been in the midst of controversy. College Presidents’ statements have been blasted as insufficiently condemning Hamas, or ignoring the Palestinians. Some pro-Palestinian student groups have been suspended. Jewish students have been threatened and attacked. A university President has resigned, and government officials are promoting laws and rules that would violate free speech rights, and worse, harm the ability of the campus to help students understand the moment. What’s going on, and what should be done?
Kenneth S. Stern is the director of the Bard Center for the Study of Hate. Previously he was director of the division on antisemitism and extremism at the American Jewish Committee, where he worked for 25 years. He was the lead drafter of the original “working definition” of antisemitism, first published in 2005 and now adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. Mr. Stern’s writings have appeared in The New York Times and The Washington Post, and he has appeared widely on television and radio programs in the United States. His most recent book is The Conflict Over the Conflict: The Israel/Palestine Campus Debate (New Jewish Press, 2020).