Harvard President Claudine Gay, ridiculed by many Tuesday for not taking a harder stance against antisemitism during congressional testimony, said Wednesday her comments were misconstrued.
"There are some who have confused a right to free expression with the idea that Harvard will condone calls for violence against Jewish students," Gay wrote in a statement posted on Harvard’s X account.
"Let me be clear: Calls for violence or genocide against the Jewish community, or any religious or ethnic group are vile, they have no place at Harvard, and those who threaten our Jewish students will be held to account."
Under intense questioning from Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., on Tuesday, Gay wouldn’t directly answer whether calling for the genocide of Jews would violate Harvard’s code of conduct or rules against bullying and harassment. Neither would the presidents of MIT (Sally Kornbluth) and the University of Pennsylvania (Liz McGill). Each president used "it depends on the context" as an initial response.
After questioning Gay, Stefanik fired back, "It does not depend on the context. The answer is yes, and this is why you [three] should resign. These are unacceptable answers across the board."
Even the White House weighed in Wednesday on the hearing, contrasting itself from the vague stances of the university presidents.
"The president has been very clear. He has had total moral clarity on this, and the president has set an example for all leaders during this gut-wrenching increase in antisemitism," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said during her daily briefing. "Calls for genocide are unacceptable. It's vile and it's counter to everything this country stands for.
"I can't believe I even have to say that. I shouldn't have to. We witnessed the worst massacre on Oct. 7 suffered by the Jewish people since the Holocaust and the latest in a heartbreaking pattern that goes back thousands of years.
"Statements that advocate for the systemic murder of Jews are appalling, and we should all stand against them. We should all stand against them. You're talking about the most basic values that unite us as Americans."
Michael Katz ✉
Michael Katz is a Newsmax reporter with more than 30 years of experience reporting and editing on news, culture, and politics.
© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.