“Oct. 7, for many of us from the region, was a beautiful day.”
Condemning these comments should not be difficult. This is just a reminder of the rot in higher education. Just despicable.
Inside Higher Ed reports:
Campus Vote on Antisemitism Resolution Is Microcosm of National Debate
Nearly two months after the start of the war between Hamas and Israel last fall, a speaker at an event sponsored by an academic department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill uttered these words: “Oct. 7, for many of us from the region, was a beautiful day.”
For some on the campus who learned of the comments, the speaker’s apparent celebration of the brutal attacks by Hamas on Israelis warranted condemnation. Yet last month, the Faculty Council at Chapel Hill voted 32 to 29, with six abstentions, to “indefinitely postpone” a resolution designed to “strongly condemn the antisemitic statements” at the event.
The situation at Chapel Hill reflects many of the questions that have been reverberating across higher education and American society in the months since the terrorist attack and the beginning of the subsequent Middle East war. Are anti-Israel comments also antisemitic? Does the historical context of Oct. 7 matter? What speech crosses a line? Can university bodies condemn speech without squelching it? Should university bodies take public stands at all? And are universities defending Jews less than they would other minorities?
In this case, the inciting comments, from over two months ago, included a defense of the Oct. 7 attack. In addition to the “beautiful day” comment, the speaker allegedly said she wasn’t “the least bit apologetic of the violence of the oppressed or the occupied.”
The controversy began at a Nov. 28 event, No Peace Without Justice: A Round-Table Talk on Social Justice in Palestine, staged by UNC’s geography and environment department and the university’s Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies. A flier for the event listed some Chapel Hill faculty members among the panelists.
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