Writes Maureen Dowd, in “The Ivy League Flunks Out” (NYT), talking about the line “It is a context-dependent decision” spoken by U Penn president Penn’s Elizabeth Magill.
“If the—if he—if ‘is’ means is and never has been, that is not—that is one thing. If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement. … Now, if someone had asked me on that day, are you having any kind of sexual relations with Ms. Lewinsky, that is, asked me a question in the present tense, I would have said no. And it would have been completely true.”
Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr. (D-Pa.) called Magill’s comments “offensive,” and said “calling for the genocide of Jews is antisemitic and harassment, full stop.”
Does Rubin even see that there’s a difference between saying something offensive and engaging in behavior that constitutes “harassment”?
Rubin quotes someone identified only as “Shapiro” (I had to click through a link to discover it’s the governor of Pennsylvania, Josh Shapiro):
“That was an unacceptable statement from the president of Penn,” Shapiro said in response to Magill not condemning calls for genocide. “Frankly, I thought her comments were absolutely shameful. It should not be hard to condemn genocide.”…
How sloppily was this column thrown together? Don’t you see that there’s a big difference between condemning genocide and committing to the proposition that a statement endorsing genocide is always harassment? Is this willful blindness or a conscious effort to seize an oozingly ripe opportunity for constricting the freedom of speech?
The Anti-Defamation League also weighed in, with a written statement: “This utter failure to show moral clarity at a time when antisemitism is surging on college campuses is dangerous. This is not a question of free speech, but rather a question of whether genocidal calls on campus will be met with consequences. The only acceptable answer is yes. They couldn’t say it. Will your president do so now?”
The announcement… followed months of intense pressure from Jewish students, alumni and donors, who claimed that she had not taken their concerns about antisemitism on campus seriously…. Ms. Magill, a lawyer, is expected to remain at Penn as a faculty member in the law school…. With students deeply divided over the war, university presidents have tried to balance pro-Palestinian protesters’ right to free speech with concerns that some of their language has been antisemitic….