Republican Senators urge Judiciary Committee hearings on violations of Jewish students’ rights

Pro-Palestinian students disrupt an Israel event on the campus of the University of California, Irvine. Credit: Ariana Rowlands/Campus Reform.

On May 2, Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee urged Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the committee chairman, to hold a hearing regarding “flagrant civil rights violations” targeting Jewish students, and the growing support for terrorist ideology on college campuses.

“The right to protest peacefully and the right to freely express one’s views — no matter how controversial — are enshrined in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. These rights are proud American traditions. Violent mobs and the intimidation of individuals because of their faith, however, are not,” the senators wrote.

The senators highlighted how an increase in anti-Israel activism is threatening the safety and rights of Jewish students at federally funded universities, leading a Columbia rabbi to urge students to return home and not return until their safety can be assured.

“Jewish students are being actively targeted, harassed, intimidated, threatened, and in some cases assaulted for one reason: their heritage and religion. This is fundamentally un-American. It is also a federal crime… Equally disturbing are the prominent displays of symbols, flags, and slogans of terrorist groups at these campuses,” the senators expressed.

Examples included Hezbollah and Hamas flags at encampments, and chants of “death to America” and “globalize the Intifada.” “Who is funding these activists and what agenda do they have?” the lawmakers wrote.

The lawmakers also highlighted that since the Oct. 7 attacks, the Judiciary Committee has held hearings concerning other civil rights issues in the U.S. but has not held any hearings regarding the blatant violations of Jewish students’ rights or the proliferation of terrorist ideology on campuses.

“Our Committee should examine why more is not being done to protect the civil rights of innocent students across America. We must also examine the threat to national security posed by the proliferation of radical Islamist ideology in the academy. These pressing issues demand our immediate attention,” the senators concluded.

Among the 10 Republican members of the committee, all of whom signed the letter, are Lindsey Graham (S.C.), John Cornyn (Texas), Ted Cruz (Texas), Tom Cotton (Ark.), John Kennedy (La.), Thom Tillis (N.C.) and Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.)