FIRST ON FOX: Sens. Jacky Rosen, D-Nevada and James Lankford, R-Okla., sent a letter Tuesday to Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), requesting a hearing about the scope of antisemitism on college campuses.
The senators wrote a full committee hearing is necessary as Congress begins a new legislative year to “better understand the scale and scope of this scourge.”
“As co-chairs of the Senate Bipartisan Task Force for Combating Antisemitism, we are deeply disturbed by the increase in antisemitic incidents on college and university campuses across the United States following Hamas’s October 7 terrorist attack on Israel,” the letter reads. “No student should have to fear for his or her safety or ability to study in a safe environment, regardless of his or her ethnicity, religion, race, or national origin.”
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The senators highlighted several antisemitic incidents at universities since the Oct. 7 terrorist attack on Israel, emphasizing the failure of some university presidents and administrators to condemn such acts forcefully.
They are also concerned that despite the legal obligation to protect students from discrimination, many leaders have not adequately addressed or condemned antisemitic speech.
“Schools have a legal responsibility to protect their students from discrimination, yet many university presidents and administrators have failed to forcefully condemn antisemitic speech and incidents on campuses in the wake of Hamas’s terrorist attack,” the letter reads. “Even while testifying before the House Committee on Education and Workforce on December 5, university presidents failed to speak out with conviction against clear, horrific and flagrant displays of antisemitism.”
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Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, June 8, 2023. Sanders and a robust group of Democratic senators say they’re done “asking nicely” for Israel to do more to reduce civilian casualties in its war against Hamas in Gaza. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)
Israel declared war against Hamas after the terrorist group infiltrated the country on Oct. 7, firing thousands of rockets at residential areas and butchering, raping and torturing its civilians. At least 1,200 Israelis and 32 Americans were killed; over 240 people were taken as hostages into the Gaza Strip.
Following these events, protests broke out on college campuses — and pro-Palestinian demonstrations frightened Jewish students for, in many cases, sympathizing with Hamas’ crimes.
Incidents of antisemitism at universities also rose after the attacks, including an incident where Jewish students were trapped in a library at Cooper Union as protesters tried to break in.
At Cornell University, a student made threats of violence against Jewish students. Additionally, at Stanford University, an instructor singled out Jewish students, likening them to “colonizers” and asked them to stand separately, citing actions attributed to Israel against Palestinians. The senators cited these incidents among numerous antisemitic occurrences occurring across colleges and universities in recent months.
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Coverage of Israel has been put under a microscope since the Hamas terror attacks of October 7. (Peter Gerber for Fox News Digital)
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“We look forward to hearing from you on the swift and meaningful actions the Committee can take to keep Jewish students safe, which should include, at a minimum, holding a full committee hearing on campus antisemitism,” the senators wrote.
Last month, Rosen also called for a review of college policies to protect Jewish students from antisemitic harassment, urging compliance with federal civil rights standards.
Fox News’ Hannah Grossman contributed to this report.