McConnell: College Leaders ‘Need to Control’ Antisemitism

( – Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a recent news appearance that college administrators must regain control of their campuses by maintaining that antisemitic hate speech is dangerous and not included in free speech.

On Sunday, April 29, McConnell sat down for an interview with Margaret Brennan of CBS News’ “Face the Nation” and told her that although the First Amendment was important, it did not give people “the ability to claim there’s a fire going on in a theater” because that would threaten everyone else. He said that “what needs to happen” is for the university presidents to take “control of the situation” by pushing back against antisemitism on campuses while still allowing free speech.

The Republican Kentucky senator told Brennan he believed antisemitism “was largely gone” in the US until he recently saw “a number of young people” who he said were “actually antisemitic.” McConnell asked why the activists don’t “all sit down and have a civil conversation,” accusing them of “trying to dominate” the conversation. He reiterated that he believes university presidents represent “the first line of defense” for keeping university campuses functional and safe.

McConnell added that it wouldn’t be necessary to call in the National Guard if the administrators can regain control and restore order amid the ongoing uprisings related to the Israel/Hamas war. He told Brennan that time would tell if they can get control back, but that they “ought to be able to,” arguing that college education is supposed to be about “civil discussion” and that he would also be interested in hearing an explanation from “antisemitic people” about how they justify their rhetoric.

Ever since Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, 2023, protests have been ongoing across the country, but the activity has ramped up in recent weeks following the decision by the US Senate to pass a new foreign aid package that includes money for Israel. The $95 billion package covers money for Ukraine and defending Taiwan, as well as funds toward helping Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip harmed and displaced by Israel’s military operations.

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