June 24, 2024

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June 24, 2024

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We Must Reverse The Trend Of Antisemitism And Marxism On Our College Campuses

Mike Pompeo

Graduation ceremonies across the country in recent weeks were marred by persistent student protests and encampments, which were ostensibly in support of peace in the Middle East but, in reality, were little more than a thinly veiled outlet for students and outside agitators to express antisemitic, anti-American vitriol while cloaking themselves in a guise of righteousness.

Americans watching these vile displays, where students chanted “death to America,” “from the river to the sea,” and “10,000 more October 7th’s,” and even terrorized their fellow Jewish students on multiple occasions, should be rightly concerned for the future of our country.  In their aftermath, it is essential that we take a hard look at what our education system actually teaches our children at every level and assess what kinds of citizens and human beings our current model is producing.  Having recently attended Liberty University’s graduation ceremony, I believe it offers a model for a better path forward.

Lest we fall into the trap of thinking these protests are just another passing fad and chalk them up to the naivete of youth, we should take a hard look at what has happened on college campuses over the past few weeks.

First, these protests weren’t just the pet project of naïve college students – that isn’t remotely true.  They were the result of ideologically possessed faculty members and administrators who almost entirely hold to a far-Left worldview, hate the Jewish nation State of Israel, and sympathize blindly with the plight of the Palestinian people, regardless of the facts.  They are also the result of students who have been taught that there is more value engaging in self-righteous displays of protest, even if it means being arrested, than there is in doing the hard work to earn a quality education.  And of course, we can’t forget the startling number of people arrested in these campus protests who had no connection to the universities – either as students or faculty – nor can we forget that student protesters are being influenced by and repeating the foreign propaganda being spouted by Hamas and the Iranian regime. These factors amount to a sad truth: Our universities are no longer essential places of learning.  They have become staging grounds for politically motivated causes.

The leftward, antisemitic lurch in our universities has been a prime cause for the deeply troubling rise in antisemitism across the United States.  Since the horrific attacks on October 7 by Hamas on innocent Jews and others where over 1,200 were killed and over 200 hostages were taken, incidents of antisemitic hate have increased over 360% in the United States, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).  That is why we should not treat antisemitic hate speech as free speech – and the displays on our college campuses, some of which have even resulted in violence against Jewish students, bear a concerning resemblance to college campuses in 1930s Germany.

Reversing this trend will not be easy, but we can start by identifying a model for higher education that works.  As Distinguished Chair for the Helms School of Government at Liberty University, I had the privilege of seeing such a solution up close. Over the past year, I observed classes and was able to be present for graduation.  In that time, I saw real students motivated to learn, not ignorant, self-righteous activists.  I saw professors with a genuine love for teaching, not ivory-tower intellectuals who wanted to indoctrinate their students to believe in Marxist presuppositions.

Most importantly, I saw what happened amidst the campus protests in the lead-up to graduation.  There were no encampments, nor were there any vile chants.  Something different happened: The Liberty community worshiped and prayed. Students, teachers, and alumni gathered in massive numbers to exalt the Lord and pray for Hamas’ victims.  And during the graduation ceremony, no students got up and walked out in order to cause an intentional disruption. 

What made things different at Liberty?  I can only answer from my own experience: Liberty students are taught to think for themselves. They are asked to build their education upon a commitment to living a faithful and purposeful life, and they are held to that commitment.  They are taught the truth about America and its place in the world – that we are an imperfect nation that has striven, throughout our history, to fulfill the promises inherent in our founding principles, and that when America does that, we are a force for good in the world.

Not every university or college in America needs to be a private, Christian university like Liberty.  But if we want to reverse the trend of antisemitism and far-Left progressivism on our college campuses, we should support alternatives that are already successfully bucking that trend.  A poll taken just a few months before the Oct. 7 massacre showed that only 36% of Americans have confidence in our higher education system, and that number is likely even lower today.  The American people – in particular, America’s parents – want something different.  They should look at schools like Liberty for their answer.


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Mike Pompeo

Graduation ceremonies across the country in recent weeks were marred by persistent student protests and encampments, which were ostensibly in support of peace in the Middle East but, in reality, were little more than a thinly veiled outlet for students and outside agitators to express antisemitic, anti-American vitriol while cloaking themselves in a guise of righteousness.

Americans watching these vile displays, where students chanted “death to America,” “from the river to the sea,” and “10,000 more October 7th’s,” and even terrorized their fellow Jewish students on multiple occasions, should be rightly concerned for the future of our country.  In their aftermath, it is essential that we take a hard look at what our education system actually teaches our children at every level and assess what kinds of citizens and human beings our current model is producing.  Having recently attended Liberty University’s graduation ceremony, I believe it offers a model for a better path forward.

Lest we fall into the trap of thinking these protests are just another passing fad and chalk them up to the naivete of youth, we should take a hard look at what has happened on college campuses over the past few weeks.

First, these protests weren’t just the pet project of naïve college students – that isn’t remotely true.  They were the result of ideologically possessed faculty members and administrators who almost entirely hold to a far-Left worldview, hate the Jewish nation State of Israel, and sympathize blindly with the plight of the Palestinian people, regardless of the facts.  They are also the result of students who have been taught that there is more value engaging in self-righteous displays of protest, even if it means being arrested, than there is in doing the hard work to earn a quality education.  And of course, we can’t forget the startling number of people arrested in these campus protests who had no connection to the universities – either as students or faculty – nor can we forget that student protesters are being influenced by and repeating the foreign propaganda being spouted by Hamas and the Iranian regime. These factors amount to a sad truth: Our universities are no longer essential places of learning.  They have become staging grounds for politically motivated causes.

The leftward, antisemitic lurch in our universities has been a prime cause for the deeply troubling rise in antisemitism across the United States.  Since the horrific attacks on October 7 by Hamas on innocent Jews and others where over 1,200 were killed and over 200 hostages were taken, incidents of antisemitic hate have increased over 360% in the United States, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).  That is why we should not treat antisemitic hate speech as free speech – and the displays on our college campuses, some of which have even resulted in violence against Jewish students, bear a concerning resemblance to college campuses in 1930s Germany.

Reversing this trend will not be easy, but we can start by identifying a model for higher education that works.  As Distinguished Chair for the Helms School of Government at Liberty University, I had the privilege of seeing such a solution up close. Over the past year, I observed classes and was able to be present for graduation.  In that time, I saw real students motivated to learn, not ignorant, self-righteous activists.  I saw professors with a genuine love for teaching, not ivory-tower intellectuals who wanted to indoctrinate their students to believe in Marxist presuppositions.

Most importantly, I saw what happened amidst the campus protests in the lead-up to graduation.  There were no encampments, nor were there any vile chants.  Something different happened: The Liberty community worshiped and prayed. Students, teachers, and alumni gathered in massive numbers to exalt the Lord and pray for Hamas’ victims.  And during the graduation ceremony, no students got up and walked out in order to cause an intentional disruption. 

What made things different at Liberty?  I can only answer from my own experience: Liberty students are taught to think for themselves. They are asked to build their education upon a commitment to living a faithful and purposeful life, and they are held to that commitment.  They are taught the truth about America and its place in the world –