Calls for ending free speech intensify as youth increasingly critical of Jewish narratives

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – A professor at an Ivy League college has overtly called for the elimination of Americans’ 1st Amendment rights in order to protect Jews from so-called “antisemitism.” The demand comes in the wake of numerous polls and studies that suggest Millennials and Gen Z have grown skeptical of Jewish-imposed political narratives.

On Sunday, University of Pennsylvania law professor Claire Finkelstein stated, “To fight antisemitism on campuses, we must restrict speech,” in an opinion piece for the Washington Post. In it, Finklestein made several damning admissions, including a belief that college campuses should restrict the “time, place and manner” of student demonstrations and officially reclassify anything considered “antisemitic” as a call to violence against Jews.

Jewish University of Pennsylvania law professor Claire Finkelstein. Photo: Harvard Law Youtube

“Antisemitism—and other forms of hate—cannot be fought on university campuses without restricting poisonous speech that targets Jews and other minorities,” wrote Finklestine in her Oped. “They do not have to stand idly by and wait for such speech to turn into “conduct.” Public institutions can restrict the “time, place and manner” of demonstrations; they can restrict speech that incites violence, that involves threats of violence against specific individuals or that involves the targeted harassment of members of the community.”

Finklestine—ironically, a member of Penn’s Open Expression Committee and chair of the committee on academic freedom—is an Algernon Biddle professor of law and philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania. Her OpEd was penned in the wake of recent testimony made before a House committee by three college presidents last week, which sparked “outrage” after they stated that pro-Palestine student demonstrations were covered by free speech policies.

“Antisemitism—and other forms of hate—cannot be fought on university campuses without restricting poisonous speech that targets Jews and other minorities”

Jewish University of Pennsylvania law professor Claire Finkelstein, Washington Post

The professors were grilled after it was alleged that some student protestors called for the “genocide” of Jews. Despite their seemingly principled stance on freedom of speech and political expression, Penn President Liz Magill was forced to resign, facing backlash from the Jewish community and the school’s wealthy stakeholders. She was ultimately replaced by Jewish vice-chair Julie Platt, a woman described as “one of the most prominent Jewish communal leaders in the country” by the JTA.

“I have worked hard from the inside to address the rising issues of antisemitism on campus. Unfortunately, we have not made all the progress that we should have and intend to accomplish,” she said in a statement issued by the Jewish Federations of North America. “I will continue as a board member of the university to use my knowledge and experience of Jewish life in North America and at Penn to accelerate this critical work.”

Pro-Palestinan demonstrators have taken college campuses by storm, spurned by Israeli bombings of largely civilian targets in Gaza. The anti-Zionist sentiments held by young Americans have since triggered a campaign of political repression aimed at protecting Israel from due criticism as its war quickly enters 2024. Photo: CNN

The recent attacks on freedom of speech emanating from the Jewish community come at a time of monumental criticism of Israel, a nation accused of countless war crimes and other controversies as it continues its relentless war on Palestine. According to the Gazan health ministry, the Palestinian death toll since the war began on October 7th has risen to more than 18,000 people as Israeli forces continue their ground invasion and reduce large swaths of the high residential areas to rubble.

Israel’s war has since created a veritable public relations nightmare for Jews abroad. Many now seek to curtail anti-Zionist rhetoric both overtly and covertly, mainly through the use of Jewish-controlled anti-Zionist organizations that deny the Palestinian right to militarily liberate themselves from Israeli occupation.

According to a recent survey conducted in the US, 20% of all Generation Z, aka “zoomers,” polled believe the “Holocaust” of European Jews during the Second World War is a “myth.” At the same time, nearly half of all millennials were unable to name a single concentration camp. Additionally, 28% believe Jews have too much power in the United States, with almost one in five New Yorkers believing Jews were deserving of the Holocaust.

“This needs to serve as a wake-up call to us all, and as a road map of where government officials need to act,” said Gideon Taylor, president of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.

Joining Taylor in sounding the alarm of rising “antisemitism” among the youth is CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan Greenblatt. In November, Greenblatt could be heard in a leaked phone call furiously raising concerns over “Gen-Z” and the social media platform of “TikTok” for instilling a “terrifying” lack of support for the state of Israel.

Greenblatt previously drew controversy for publically denouncing anyone who holds a pro-Palestinian sentiment as an “accomplice” to terrorist attacks. Meanwhile, Israel has targeted and destroyed hospitals, holy sites, and residential areas with impunity, largely with the help of US-funded warheads. Like Finklestine, Greenblatt has also pushed for curtailing speech protections to protect Jewish public perception and hopes to use social media policies to enforce strict moderation on those critical of Israel.

“It is essential that we gain insight into the policies platforms employ to mitigate content from designated terrorists, as well as the metrics used to gauge the effectiveness of platform policy enforcement,” he said during the call.

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