On the Senate floor Wednesday, Sen. Eric Schmitt delivered a speech about the recent wave of antisemitism from college students, and the ideologies driving it. Watch the speech, above, or read his remarks, lightly edited:
I rise to bring attention to a problem that’s plaguing our great country.
Americans and the rest of the world woke up on Oct. 7th to horrific scenes in Israel, and the ensuing news reports of Hamas’ terrorist attack brought to light even more gruesome details—thousands of innocent Israelis slaughtered, babies decapitated, people burned alive, horrific scenes of brutality and brazen disregard for humanity by Hamas terrorists. Israeli and American hostages are still awaiting rescue.
These past few weeks following that terrorist attack, there has been a frightening rise of antisemitism, particularly on college campuses and from younger generations in America’s major cities. Jewish students at Cooper Union in New York City had to shelter in a library while pro-Palestinian students banged on the windows and doors in a frightening incident. Anonymous posters on a Cornell message board threatened violence, all while a Cornell professor proclaimed the Hamas terrorist attack to be “exhilarating” and “energizing.” Countless videos show students and even teachers tearing down missing posters for Israeli hostages. And the list goes on and on.
And some may be surprised by these incidents, but for those who have been paying attention, it’s anything but shocking.
For years, the American left has embraced identity politics, DEI [diversity, equity, and inclusion], and CRT [critical race theory]. For years, students at some of this country’s most elite colleges have had this race essentialism, this oppressor v. oppressed ideology hammered into their heads.
They’ve tried to make the moral equivalence between Israel and Hamas. Every single situation or issue is viewed through the lens of race or other immutable characteristics. If you don’t rank high enough on the totem pole of grievances or score well on the oppression matrix, well then, your views aren’t as important —being right has taken a back seat to your skin color.
DEI and CRT are the fruit of the poisonous tree of cultural Marxism, and it’s playing out right now in the streets. The proof is in the numbers as well—a Harvard CAPS/Harris poll states, “When voters were asked who they sided with more in the Israel-Hamas conflict, 95% of voters ages 65 and older said Israel, while only 5% said Hamas. In the 18-24 age range, 52% said Israel while 48% said Hamas.” That’s a startling generational divide, and shows just how entrenched this divisive ideology is.
This ideology completely strips people of their individuality. Ideas don’t really matter as much as what the person speaking looks like. It’s completely antithetical to the core tenets of our Constitution and the American experiment. It places an unhealthy emphasis on race. It strips people of their dignity and the many layers that define us. It rips away the ties that bind us. And that’s exactly the point for these cultural Marxists.
We need to return to the American idea—equality of opportunity, not certainty of outcome or so-called “equity.” We need to prioritize merit over characteristics that people have no control over. We need to push back against this poisonous DEI and CRT ideology, an ideology that’s even made its way into grade schools where kids are forced to participate in “privilege walks.”
Until we do that, we’ll continue to see more race essentialism from groups like Black Lives Matter and more chants of “from the river to the sea.” That’s not what America is about, and we better get real about the problem before it’s too late to fix it.
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The post The Ideas Behind the Surge of Antisemitism on America’s Campuses appeared first on The Daily Signal.
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