To define the line

Déjà vu all over again eh Hahvahd?

Several Jewish students have filed a lawsuit against Harvard University, accusing it of becoming “a bastion of rampant anti-Jewish hatred and harassment”.

Harvard already was anti-Jewish, for generations, but in the other way – the Waspy snobby ew ick way, not the wokey trendy pro-Hamas way. It’s weird to see them make the full circle.

The lawsuit filed earlier this week mirrors others submitted since the 7 October Hamas attack on southern Israel, including legal action against the Art Institute of Chicago, New York University and the University of Pennsylvania.

In the Harvard lawsuit, the plaintiffs include members of the Students Against Antisemitism. They accuse Harvard of violating Jewish students’ civil rights and allege that the university tolerated Jewish students being harassed, assaulted and intimidated – behavior that has intensified since the 7 October mass killing.

Fallout from the Israel-Hamas war has roiled campuses across the US and reignited a debate over free speech. College leaders have struggled to define the line where political speech crosses into harassment and discrimination, with Jewish and Arab students raising concerns that their schools are doing too little to protect them.

The issue took center stage in December when the presidents of Harvard, Penn and MIT testified at a congressional hearing on campus antisemitism. Asked by Republican lawmakers whether calls for the genocide of Jews would violate campus policies, the presidents offered lawyerly answers and declined to say unequivocally that it was prohibited speech.

It’s interesting that lawmakers don’t want lawyerly answers.

The US Department of Education has repeatedly warned colleges that they are required to fight antisemitism and Islamophobia on their campuses or risk losing federal money.

Jumbled categories. “Semitism” is a racial or ethnic label, while Islam is a religion.

This subject doesn’t bring out the best in people’s thinking.

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