November 15, 2023
Diversity, equity and inclusion programs on college campuses are behind the recent spike in campus antisemitism, several House Republicans said Tuesday during a hearing on “confronting the scourge of antisemitism on campus.”
“I think DEI is a fraud and what we’re seeing now on campuses is proof of that,” said Burgess Owens, the Utah Republican who chairs the House higher education subcommittee.
Democrats and Republicans on the subcommittee condemned the increase in antisemitic incidents on college campuses since the start of the Israel-Hamas war last month. Some Democrats also decried the increase in Islamophobic incidents, though that was not a focus of the hearing.
Republicans in Congress have become increasingly critical of how some college students rallied in support of the Palestinian people following the Hamas attack, and of how universities have responded to the outbreak of antisemitic speech, threats and assaults against Jewish students. Some students have said they don’t feel safe on campuses as their peers rally for the Palestinian cause, share pro-Hamas statements on social media and display controversial slogans. Meanwhile, pro-Palestinian students say they’re facing backlash for criticizing the Israeli government. Both Jewish and Muslim students have been assaulted.
Owens, along with fellow Republican lawmakers and witnesses who testified before the committee, said DEI programs promote hatred by dividing students into either the oppressed or the oppressors. That dichotomy doesn’t make space for Jewish students to be considered oppressed, they said.