A resolution introduced by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) to condemn student groups expressing support for the terrorist group Hamas failed in the Senate Thursday.
Hawley had attempted to pass the resolution by unanimous consent, but Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) rose to block the resolution and said it wrongly smeared students who protest on college campuses.
The resolution condemned student groups that have celebrated Hamas terrorist attacks against Israel while blaming the Jewish state for the attacks. To date, more than 5,000 people have been killed in the attacks and Israel’s subsequent military response, according to estimates from both sides.
“What you are doing here is smearing all of the students who engage in these protests, and that is just wrong,” Van Hollen told Hawley on the Senate floor. “There are student groups that may have legitimate concerns about the loss of innocent civilian life in Gaza.”
Hawley, in introducing the resolution, said the “response of some people in this country” was “almost as disturbing as the facts of these terrible attacks themselves.”
“Calling for the death of Jewish people is not just another opinion,” he said. “Calling for the genocide, celebrating the genocide of Jewish babies is not just another opinion. Celebrating the assaults on Jewish people in this country is not just another opinion, and the Senate should be clear and stand with moral clarity and say ‘this is wrong.’”
The statements Hawley referred to were made by pro-Palestinian student groups at a number of colleges and universities, but a statement that was initially signed by 31 student groups at Harvard has drawn the most attention. That statement said that the Israeli government was “entirely responsible for all unfolding violence.” Statements by student groups at other schools have gone so far as to defend the terrorist attacks as “resistance.”
International backlash prompted a number of student groups to disassociate themselves from the Harvard statement, but the university leadership has continued to draw criticism, even as Harvard President Claudine Gay has attempted to quell the firestorm.
Gay released a video statement last week saying the university “rejects terrorism,” “rejects hate,” and “rejects the harassment or intimidation of individuals based on their beliefs,” while asserting the university’s support for free expression.
“Our university embraces a commitment to free expression,” Gay said. “That commitment extends even to views that many of us find objectionable, even outrageous. We do not punish or sanction people for expressing such views. But that is a far cry from endorsing them. It’s in the exercise of our freedom to speak that we reveal our characters, and we reveal the character of our institution.”
— The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show (@clayandbuck) October 19, 2023