- Most Democrats voted against a resolution condemning antisemitism on college campuses.
- That’s because the resolution essentially called for the presidents of Harvard and MIT to resign.
- It comes after a contentious hearing led to the resignation of Penn President Liz Magill.
The House on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed a resolution condemning antisemitism on college campuses in the wake of a contentious and viral hearing on the topic last week.
The resolution, which essentially calls for the presidents of Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to resign, was ultimately opposed by 125 House Democrats — a strong majority of the caucus.
Republican Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, who has voted against multiple pro-Israel resolutions in recent weeks, also voted no.
Meanwhile, three House Democrats voted present: Reps. Julia Brownley and Jimmy Gomez of California, and Rep. Chrissy Houlahan of Pennsylvania.
It’s the latest contentious resolution to hit the House floor since the October 7 Hamas terrorist attack, coming in the wake of a resolution affirming support for Israel, a resolution affirming the Jewish state’s right to exist, and a resolution equating anti-Zionism with antisemitism.
And it’s not even the first resolution on campus antisemitism since October 7 — the House passed a resolution condemning “all forms of antisemitism on college campuses” on November 2.
‘If the speech turns into conduct, it can be harassment’
On Tuesday of last week, the House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing on antisemitism on college campuses that included testimony from the presidents of three elite universities: Liz Magill of the University of Pennsylvania, Claudine Gay of Harvard University, and Sally Kornbluth of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
During their testimony, each of them condemned antisemitism.
“I have condemned antisemitism publicly, regularly, and in the strongest possible terms,” Magill said during her testimony. “And today, let me reiterate my and Penn’s unyielding commitment to combating it. We immediately investigate any hateful act, cooperating with both law enforcement and the FBI, where we have identified individuals who have committed these acts in violation of either policy or law.”
But it was ultimately Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York’s questioning of Magill and the other presidents that went viral.
When Stefanik asked each witness whether calls for the genocide of Jews constituted a violation of their universities’ codes of conduct, each university president gave largely legalistic answers to what came across as a moral question.
“If the speech turns into conduct, it can be harassment,” Magill replied at one point, an answer largely consistent with the principles of free speech but arguably tone-deaf in the current political context.
But the repercussions have been swift, with Magill resigning her position under pressure over the weekend.
“One down,” Stefanik wrote on X after Magill’s resignation announcement. “Two to go.”
During a debate on the resolution on Wednesday, Stefanik boasted that the exchange had “made history as the most watched congressional testimony in history, with over one billion views.”
‘No interest in meaningless resolutions’
Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, a Jewish progressive, spoke out against the resolution during the floor debate on Wednesday.
While acknowledging the problem of antisemitism on college campuses — as well as the “overly legalistic and ethically tone-deaf” testimony of the college presidents — he took issue with a portion of the resolution arguing that the presidents of Harvard and MIT “should” resign.
“Whereas President Magill has resigned, and the other Presidents should follow suit,” reads one line of the resolution.
“Where is the common sense in the Congress of the United States of America?” asked Raskin, arguing that the resolution amount to an “academic scarlet letter” and that the university presidents should be afforded “the kind of due process that even George Santos got.”
And Democratic Rep. Kathy Manning of North Carolina — who recently accused Stefanik of plagiarizing a letter she’d written about campus antisemitism — also spoke out against the resolution.
“I have no interest in meaningless resolutions that do nothing to address the underlying issue of antisemitism,” said Manning, who ultimately voted for the resolution.
Here are the 125 Democrats — plus Massie — who voted against the resolution, according to the House Clerk: