by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Just four days after appearing before Congress, where she waffled on the question of whether calling for the genocide of Jews violated her university’s speech codes, M. Elizabeth Magill resigned from her position as president of the University of Pennsylvania. She was joined by the chairman of the school’s board of trustees, Scott Bok, who backed her.
Magill’s testimony was just one cracked reed in a tone-deaf chamber performance by three university presidents. Asked a direct moral question about whether genocidal rhetoric directed at Jews amounted to bullying and harassment, Magill responded with lawyerly qualifications and evasions. “If it is directed and severe, pervasive, it is harassment,” she said. “It is a context-dependent decision, congresswoman,” she told Elise Stefanik.
Magill had lost sight of her own context. So steeped in a rotten academic culture that views vulgar antisemitism as merely the forgivable enthusiasm of good-hearted “anti-colonialist” activists, she went in front of the American public and gave pseudo-academic cover to conspiracists and thugs who thrive on intimidating Jews on her campus.
The testimony only worsened her already weakened position at UPenn. Earlier this semester and during Jewish High Holy Days, UPenn held a conference, Palestine Writes, which hosted speakers, such as Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters, who are notorious for making antisemitic statements, minimizing the Holocaust, and casting modern-day Jews as Nazis. It also hosted Marc Lamont Hill, who was fired from CNN for advocating against “shaming” Palestinians for “resisting” Israel, and called for a “free Palestine from the river to the sea” — common code for the political destruction of the Jewish state and the logical necessity entailed, the destruction of the Jewish people living there. Leading up to the event, the school’s Jewish organization, Penn Hillel, was vandalized with a swastika.