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LARRY KUDLOW: College presidents are afraid to label antisemitism a ‘hate crime’

FOX Business host Larry Kudlow reacts to anti-Israel protests outside of college universities following the Oct. 7 attack on "Kudlow."

After being grilled and bombarded yesterday in Congress before the House Education Committee, today, Columbia University president Dr. Nemat Minouche Shafik went home to New York and summoned the police to remove anti-Israel protesters from Columbia’s campus. 

I think the two events are not unrelated. She was grilled in Washington yesterday, and today she had to call in the cops. 

Her message? These were "extraordinary" steps… because these are "extraordinary" circumstances. I’m sure that’s right, but she wanted to sound and look tough in order to keep her job, in contrast to Harvard University’s Claudine Gay, who got the ax because she neither looked nor acted tough on antisemitism. Antisemitism is the issue. 

So, Columbia’s Shafik had the New York cops clear the campus. Many were arrested, many others will be suspended. They probably won’t take exams. Some won’t graduate. I still see the problem for these elite Ivy League schools being that their presidents and boards of directors remain afraid to label antisemitism a hate crime.  

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These are clear hate crimes targeting Israel, Jewish people, and their very right to exist. Just imagine if student protesters were attacking Blacks or transgender people or any woke identity, how fast these Ivy presidents would’ve kicked everyone out. 

Probably would lock them up in jail. I guess Minouche Shafik comes out better than some of these elite schools, because at least she took action and did lay down the law, putting down a true red line of sorts. Better late than never, but Shafik admitted to Congress she’s got more work to do.

A key part of this sad tale: DEI — AKA, diversity, equity and inclusion — still rules on these college campuses and some of the biggest victims of these DEI policies end up being Jewish people and Israel. Until the DEI agenda is rooted out from these schools, these anti-Jewish hate crimes will continue. You had kids out there at Columbia today screaming "we are Hamas" and "from the river to the sea" and other nonsense. 

The school was not really prepared for these kinds of situations. In fairness, she did fire an antisemitic professor, a guy named Mohamed Abdou, but, like most of these big-time schools, officials are still afraid to talk about the Jewish history and experience, going back to the Holocaust, back to Joseph Stalin, and back throughout history about the persecution of Jews. 

A hate crime is a hate crime. Antisemitism is antisemitism. There should be no room for any of that in any of our schools. College presidents have a lot more work to do, but at least Shafik brought the cops in and cleared the protesters out. I will score this one for some appropriate sanity. 

This article is adapted from Larry Kudlow’s opening commentary on the April 18, 2024, edition of "Kudlow." 

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