Harvard University tried Wednesday to clarify president Claudine Gay’s stance on the genocide of Jews, as implied by statements calling for the destruction of Israel.
On Tuesday, Gay had struggled — along with other university presidents — to make the university’s policy clear. Under questioning from Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), a Harvard alumna herself, Gay said that while she found calls for genocide to be personally abhorrent, she could not say whether such calls violated Harvard’s code of conduct.
After that performance earned criticism and condemnation, Harvard issued a statement Wednesday trying to clean it up:
Statement from President Gay: There are some who have confused a right to free expression with the idea that Harvard will condone calls for violence against Jewish students. Let me be clear: Calls for violence or genocide against the Jewish community, or any religious or ethnic…
— Harvard University (@Harvard) December 6, 2023
The new statement essentially repeated Gay’s stance on Capitol Hill, which is that while she found calls for genocide are morally repugnant, and they “have no place at Harvard,” only “those who threaten our Jewish students” would be punished, leaving unclear what would happen to those who simply state those views on campus.
As Stefanik pointed out, Harvard has rescinded admission offers in the past to people who have been found to express hate speech, even years before they applied to the university.
On Wednesday, Israel’s Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem, said that the statements of Gay and other university presidents had shown “a basic ignorance of history,” since the mass murder of Jews in Europe started with hostile rhetoric, including on campus.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.