I watched the three presidents from Harvard, Penn, and MIT a few days ago shamelessly weave words in their testimony before a US congressional panel investigating campus antisemitism. Claudine Gay of Harvard, Liz Magill of the University of Pennsylvania, and Sally Kornbluth of MIT attempted but failed to justify the antisemitic screams of their students who are endorsing the genocide of Israeli Jews.
I thought about the many societal hurdles these women university presidents must have faced in being elevated to these prestigious academic positions. They were able to move past centuries of discrimination against the equality of women in the workplace, and they have Jews to thank for the progress in women’s rights.
Yet the breathtaking indifference of these three presidents toward the genocide of Jews sadly reflects their willful blindness—not to mention their lack of moral courage—to the contribution Jews have made to protecting and uplifting the dignity of women and to the foundation of civilization as a whole.
If the students and faculty on these and other campuses who support the sadistic daydream of Hamas to annihilate Jews in Israel—and, according to their founding charter, ethnically cleanse the world of Jews—civilization as we know it would crumble, and the fundamental human rights of women would be sent back to the Dark Ages.
Sadly, these three presidents who have come this far in their careers fail to realize the dignity and respect women are experiencing today in places of leadership is due to the ancient wisdom and forethought of the Jewish people.
Consider the woman in the 31st chapter of the Book of Proverbs in the Jewish Bible. She signs real estate contracts in land purchases: “She considers a field and buys it” (16). She is a business owner: “With the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard” (16). She makes a profit from the sale of goods: “She perceives that her merchandise is profitable” (18). She is a philanthropist: “She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hand to the needy” (20). Her dignity and tenacity are celebrated: “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the things to come” (25). Her husband respects and honors her leadership qualities: “Her husband praises her” (28). The writer of the proverb directs the leaders of the city to celebrate the woman as an equal: “Give her the fruit of her hands and let her works praise her in the city gates” (31).
This Jewish proverb was written 3,000 years ago. The fact that women in America could not legally buy, sell, or own real estate until 1900 shows how advanced Judaism was on the issue of women’s rights long before the rest of the world. Consider also the celebration of matriarchs within Judaism—Sarah, Rebekah, Leah, and Rachel, and Jewish political leaders like Deborah and Esther.
Furthermore, in the first Jewish marriage contracts (Ketuba), a woman’s emotional and sexual dignity were mandated. This was during a time when women were degraded and abused as sex slaves in the rest of the known world. Throughout the Jewish Scripture, men were commanded to honor and respect their wives even more than themselves. The legal system within Judaism had built-in protections for women: “You shall not abuse the widow or orphan. If you do abuse them when they cry out to me, I will surely heed their cry” (Exodus 22:22–23).
Presidents Claudine Gay, Liz Magill, and Sally Kornbluth owe a considerable debt of gratitude to the Jewish people for securing women’s rights. But instead of appreciation, they offer only passive indifference to the antisemitic rage of those in their institutions demanding the murder of Jews—an indifference they mix with pedantic platitudes about proper contextualization.
For millennia, the Jewish people have been the guardians of the infinite value of every human life. Suppose we give in to the demands of Hamas and the mob rule on university campuses fomenting against Zionism and Jews. In that case, we will erase the people who have shepherded and protected God’s moral law. When antisemites call for the destruction of the Jewish people, the threat is against the moral undergirding of civilization—a foundation without which we cannot survive. It is for this very reason that Jews have been historically targeted with annihilation: they have communicated the moral law of God to a world that despises God’s righteousness.
Let’s not forget that Western law was built on the foundation of a Jewish ethical and moral worldview, and America’s Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights were drawn from the natural law of the Noahic covenant. One of America’s founding fathers, John Adams, wrote in a letter to F. A. Van der Kemp, “I will insist that the Hebrews have done more to civilize men than any other nation.” The Jews, said Adams, have been destined to “preserve and to propagate to all mankind the doctrine of a supreme, intelligent, wise Almighty sovereign of the universe, which I believe to be the great essential principle of all morality, and consequently, of all civilization.”
Somehow the presidents of Harvard, Penn, and MIT missed this legacy and have chosen to close their eyes to the ultimate expression of antisemitism, the eradication of Jews from this world. By doing so, they endorse not only the ravenous brutality of Hamas terrorists who raped and slaughtered Jewish girls and women but also give sanctuary to the Hamas dream of a worldwide radical Islamic caliphate that, if ever fulfilled, would return women globally to sex slaves—destroying their dignity and erasing with the Jews any hope of women’s rights. These three presidents not only dismissed the cries for the genocide of Jews as trivial, but their cowardice in the face of the wanton rape of Jewish women by Hamas mocked the dignity of women everywhere.