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Anti-woke Republicans attacked Columbia University. It capitulated | Alisa Solomon, Marianne Hirsch, Sarah Haley and Helen Benedict

In a congressional hearing, Republicans used specious charges of rampant antisemitism to advance an illiberal agenda on campuses

As Jewish faculty at Columbia University, we watched with alarm as our president, Minouche Shafik, appeared before the House education and workforce committee on Wednesday to answer questions about antisemitism on our campus. While we are deeply concerned about antisemitism, we are also disturbed by the ways the hearing – like those in December, and surely those to follow – used specious charges of rampant antisemitism to advance an illiberal agenda.

We were shocked that President Shafik capitulated to its mendacious premises and failed to stand up for fundamental academic principles of honest intellectual inquiry and free expression. Most galling was the absence of any acknowledgment of the relentless devastation in Gaza: the urgent reason for the student protests that the committee caricatures and condemns as antisemitic.

Alisa Solomon is a writer, professor of journalism, and the director of the arts and culture concentration at the Columbia Journalism School. Marianne Hirsch is the William Peterfield Trent professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University and professor in the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality. Sarah Haley is associate professor of history at Columbia University. Helen Benedict is a novelist and professor at Columbia Journalism School.

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