RELEASE: Gottheimer Calls On George Washington University President to Condemn Hamas Terrorists and Take Action Against Pro-Hamas, Antisemitic Groups

Oct 30, 2023
Press

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) wrote to George Washington University President Ellen Granberg, imploring her to take immediate disciplinary action against those who projected antisemitic messages on campus buildings celebrating Hamas’ brutal murders and kidnappings of innocent civilians, including Americans.

Gottheimer also noted that President Granberg and administrators at George Washington University have yet to forcefully condemn Hamas terror and vile speech by student groups.

In February, Gottheimer wrote to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona to bring to his attention examples of antisemitism and hateful anti-Israel rhetoric running rampant on George Washington University’s campus. Three weeks after the deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust, anti-Israel students projected horrifying antisemitic messages onto the Gelman Library, including “glory to our martyrs,” “divestment from Zionist genocide now,” and “Free Palestine from the river to the sea.”

“Jewish students do not feel safe on their own campuses, and I am appalled that university presidents and administrators, including at GW, have yet to forcefully condemn Hamas terror and vile speech by student groups. You have not only a responsibility, but an obligation, to protect all students, including Jewish students, and ensure they can safely remain part of the campus community,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) in a letter to George Washington University President Ellen Granberg. “There is no room for hate of any kind — including racism, Islamophobia, or antisemitism — on college campuses.”

Full text of the letter can be found here and below:

October 26, 2023

President Ellen Granberg 

George Washington University 

1918 F Street NW 

Washington, D.C. 20052

Dear President Granberg:

I strongly urge you to denounce ongoing antisemitism at the George Washington University (GW) and I also implore you to take immediate disciplinary action against those who projected antisemitic messages on campus buildings celebrating Hamas’ brutal murders and kidnappings of innocent civilians, including Americans. Across our communities, states, and nation, the events unfolding in Israel and Gaza, and the broader Middle East, had a strong impact on all Americans. Jews, Muslims, and Christians at home and around the world are suffering.

In February, I wrote to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona to bring to his attention examples of antisemitism and hateful anti-Israel rhetoric running rampant on GW’s campus. Now, two weeks after the deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust, anti-Israel students projected horrifying antisemitic messages onto the Gelman Library, including “glory to our martyrs,” “divestment from Zionist genocide now,” and “Free Palestine from the river to the sea.” These vile statements glorify Hamas terrorists, who slaughtered more than 1,400 Israelis and abducted more than 200 people, including dozens of Americans. Such words call for the destruction of Israel and deny the country’s right to exist. Across the United States, groups like “Students for Justice in Palestine” have publicly supported terrorism, claiming arson, rape, and murder are part of a “resistance” and necessary for “freedom fighting.”

Free and open debate is a hallmark of our democracy; it is critical that all students feel safe and have the opportunity to express themselves. However, hate speech that glorifies the barbaric slaughter of innocent civilians, including babies, children, and the elderly, does nothing to foster such an environment. This is unacceptable, and you must send a message that this type of vitriol

 and support for terrorists is not welcome on GW’s campus. Hate speech continues to threaten Jewish students’ mental and physical well-being, who since the attacks on October 7, have endured a staggering rise of antisemitism. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has reported a total of 312 antisemitic incidents since Hamas’ unprovoked terror attack on Israel, 190 of which were directly linked to the war in Israel and Gaza. Antisemitism is at an all-time high in our country. In the last week, swastikas have appeared on dorms and campus buildings, university Hillels have been forced to increase campus security, and Jewish students have removed their yarmulkes and Stars of David that identify them as Jewish. This intimidation cannot continue.

Jewish students do not feel safe on their own campuses, and I am appalled that university presidents and administrators, including at GW, have yet to forcefully condemn Hamas terror and vile speech by student groups. You have not only a responsibility, but an obligation, to protect all students, including Jewish students, and ensure they can safely remain part of the campus community. There is no room for hate of any kind — including racism, Islamophobia, or antisemitism — on college campuses.

Thank you for your attention to this matter, and I look forward to learning about your efforts to immediately safeguard students on campus.

Sincerely,

Josh Gottheimer

MEMBER OF CONGRESS

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