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ICYMI: Homeland Republicans Hold Roundtable on Surging Anti-Semitism on College Campuses

December 2, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. — This week, the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Law Enforcement, and Intelligence, led by Subcommittee Chairman August Pfluger (R-TX), held a roundtable on the growing trend of anti-Semitism on U.S. college campuses in the aftermath of the October 7 attacks against Israel by Hamas terrorists. The roundtable consisted of Elan Carr, the former special envoy for Monitoring and Combating Antisemitism under the Trump administration; Dr. Charles Asher Small, the executive director of the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism & Policy; Sabrina Soffer, a student at George Washington (GW) University and former commissioner of the Special Presidential Task Force to Combat Anti-Semitism at GW; and Dr. Emily Blout, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s Center for Jewish Civilization. In attendance along with Chairman Pfluger were Reps. Carlos Gimenez (R-FL), Clay Higgins (R-LA), Josh Brecheen (R-OK), Morgan Luttrell (R-TX), Mike Ezell (R-MS), and Dale Strong (R-AL), and Troy Carter (D-LA), as well as Rep. Mike Lawler (R-NY).

“Antisemitism has no place in the United States of America, and certainly not at our institutions of higher learning where the minds of young Americans are shaped,” said Chairman Pfluger concerning the roundtable. “I am incredibly grateful for the insight shared by this distinguished panel of experts on the insidious hate permeating our college campuses. I thank former Special Envoy Carr, Dr. Small, Dr. Blout, and Ms. Soffer for laying out steps Congress must take to better support Israel and our Jewish communities in the wake of the deadly October 7th terrorist attacks. This committee has important oversight in ensuring no taxpayer funds go towards individuals and institutions espousing this disgusting and hateful belief system that often ends in dangerous calls to action. It has never been more important to stand in solidarity with Jewish Americans and Israel, our strongest ally in the Middle East. We will condemn all forms of prejudice wherever it takes root.”  

In the roundtable discussion, Soffer, who has established an anti-Semitism taskforce at GW, shared her personal experiences as a Jewish student leader on her college campus, stating that she has seen firsthand the “radicalization of students’ minds” against Israel and Jewish communities and the ripping down of posters calling for the return of Israeli hostages in Gaza. Sadly, Soffer says this renewed anti-Semitism is, “shocking, but not surprising,” as similar incidents had also taken place nationwide before the attacks of October 7, such as protesters calling for a continued “Intifada,” or uprising, against Jewish communities and Israel. 

Former Special Envoy Carr detailed how anti-Semitism doesn’t just threaten Jewish communities, but threatens all Americans, as it also seeks to dismantle key values and aspects of American society, saying, “Our collective future depends on addressing the tsunami of anti-Semitic hate.” In addition, Carr highlighted ideas to improve how Congress, organizations, and law enforcement can better address the rise of this hate throughout the country. He cites that in the last few weeks alone, his organization has addressed over 600 acts of anti-Semitism on college campuses and K-12 schools.
Carr also expressed concern that Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) departments in universities are not providing enough help for Jewish students facing anti-Semitism on campuses. In response to questioning from Chairman Pfluger, Carr said a survey of DEI officials on American university campuses shows that out of 800 of these employees, they posted more positively about Communist China than Israel, and on more occasions, which, according to Carr, could point toward a troubling, growing radicalization in college DEI initiatives that could undermine its core mission.
In response to questioning by Rep. Josh Brecheen (R-OK), Carr highlighted how social media and college universities are affecting young people, citing a survey showing that support for Israel among Americans aged between 25 and 35 is around just 50%.

Small detailed how anti-Semitism has perverted history and how that false history could be dangerously spread on college campuses to inspire anti-Semitism. He also cites the troubling links between American universities and research funding from regimes associated with Hamas, saying, “this is something that needs to be investigated.” 

Blout highlighted the horseshoe theory, which recognizes the troubling confluence of both far-left anarchist radicals and far-right Neo-Nazi radicals who are perpetrating violence, spreading propaganda, at times directly celebrating Hamas’ attacks, and anti-Semitic calls to action against Jewish Americans, or even soliciting donations for terrorism against Israel. Blout stated that nearly three in four Jewish college students have reported witnessing anti-Semitism in 2023 alone, according to a new survey.