GOP rep announces committee hearing on antisemitism on college campuses

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-Mo.) said Wednesday the committee will hold a hearing next week on antisemitism on college campuses amid the ongoing war between Israel and militant group Hamas.

Smith announced in an interview with Fox News’s Martha MacCallum that the committee will hear from multiple witnesses in a Nov. 15 hearing, including a student at Cornell University whom he said experienced antisemitism in the wake of Israel launching its retaliatory war against Hamas.

“Cornell University for one; one of our witnesses will be a student at Cornell, a Jewish student that is experienced antisemitism and … will talk about how even one of the professors at Cornell University basically promoted what happened on Oct. 7 of over 1,000 people losing their lives,” Smith told Fox News.

While it was not immediately clear which professor Smith was referring to, one Cornell professor, Russell Rickford, came under fire last month after saying at a rally that he was “exhilarated” by Hamas’s attack on Israel, which killed more than 1,400 people, including hundreds of civilians. He later apologized for his words amid fierce blowback.

In a separate incident at Cornell earlier this month, a series of antisemitic threats were posted to an online discussion board that included the school’s Jewish center address, threats of violence against the center and threats aimed at the kosher dining hall on campus, which was closed as a result.

Cornell is one of several schools that have reported antisemitic incidents since Hamas, a U.S.-designated terrorist group, carried out its Oct. 7 massacre into Israel. Israel launched a massive bombardment of Gaza in response, including airstrikes, bombings and recent ground attacks in Gaza City.

More than 10,000 Palestinians have been killed in the conflict, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry, whose numbers cannot be independently verified.

Tension and debate over the conflict have flared on college campuses in the form of rallies and protests, with some students and student groups calling for a cease-fire in order to assist Palestinian civilians under siege.

On the other side of the conflict, students have accused their school leaders of not condemning the Hamas attacks strongly enough.

The Anti-Defamation League last month tracked a massive increase in antisemitic incidents, reporting a 388 percent spike in incidents over the same period last year. FBI Director Christopher Wray echoed those findings, saying the U.S. saw “historic” levels of antisemitism in the wake of Hamas’s attacks.

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