News Release

Government Compelling Private Universities to “Pledge of Allegiance” to Israel; Universities Disciplined Students for Rallies


The Intercept reports: “Ahead of Congressional Testimony, Columbia President Cracks Down on Student Advocacy for Palestine” regarding Congressional hearings happening Wednesday morning.

Common Dreams reports: “‘My Own University…Has Abandoned Me’: USC Cancels Muslim Valedictorian’s Speech.”

On Tuesday, the House by 377-44-1 passed a resolution that the “slogan, ‘from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’ is antisemitic and its use must be condemned.”

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports: “Republicans and Democrats in U.S. Congress are uniting to pass a bill that would create a national coordinator of the fight against antisemitism — though it faces competition from another Republican-backed bill that seeks to define antisemitism.”

SAREE MAKDISI,, @sareemakdisi
Makdisi is professor of English at UCLA. His books include Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation, Tolerance Is a Wasteland: Palestine and the Culture of Denial and Reading William Blake.

See his recent interview in Jewish Currents: “Literary scholar Saree Makdisi discusses Zionism’s structures of denial, imperial racial logics, and the horizon of coexistence.”

In his interview with The Drift magazine, Makdisi said: “What we are seeing now is only the latest manifestation of a longstanding campaign to try to redefine the term ‘anti-Semitism’ — to take it away from the dictionary meaning that worked very well for a long time, and to turn it into something else. Under the new definition, anti-Semitism includes criticism of Zionism and of the policies and actions of Israel. …

“Congress should not be involved in overseeing private universities, or even public universities, because they’re state-managed, not managed by the federal government. And yet, suddenly, Congress was inserting itself into issues on campus with a clear disciplinary message, which was made evident in the resolution that the House passed soon after the [prior] hearings, condemning the supposed rise of anti-Semitism on campuses, as well as the university presidents themselves. The job of those presidents, when they were summoned before the halls of power, was to say, What is this about? Who are you to be interrogating us? What is the context for this? Can you think of any precedent for this? It’s never happened before. The closest I can think of is the House Un-American Activities Committee, decades ago. But those investigations were designed to make people pledge an oath of allegiance to America. These hearings were functionally about making Americans pledge allegiance to a foreign country, which is truly extraordinary.”

See his piece “A Context Dependent Decision: The implication is: You may speak, but only I get to determine the meaning of your words.” He co-hosts the Makdisi Street podcast with his brothers, Ussama Makdisi and Karim Makdisi.

Also see from “Democracy Now”: “Yanis Varoufakis Banned from Germany as Berlin Police Raid & Shut Down Palestinian Conference.”

See past IPA news releases including “Columbia University Scolds Students for ‘Unsanctioned’ Gaza Rally Where They Were Attacked With Chemicals.”