Even Red State Colleges Are Folding To Antisemitism. I Experienced It Firsthand. (Op-Ed)

OPINION: As Editor-In-Chief Of My Student Newspaper, I Tried To Publish A Profile Of A Student Worried About His Friends In Israel. The Fallout Was Typical.

Image Credit: Google Earth / The College Fix

By Matthew Giffin – Middle Tennessee State University

In the weeks since the Hamas invasion of Israel on Oct. 7, students and faculty at colleges across the U.S. have given way to the pressures of antisemitic, pro-Hamas voices, abandoning moral clarity and sound judgment.

While students at Ivy League and coastal schools have been among the most prominent examples, students in deeply red, southern states have joined in supporting terrorism and suppressing pro-Israel voices.

Just two weeks ago, I was the editor-in-chief of Middle Tennessee State University’s student newspaper, MTSU Sidelines. Animated by the horrific images I saw Oct. 7, I wrote a story profiling a MTSU student worried about his friends in Tel Aviv.

Sidelines received unprecedented feedback from students on the article’s Instagram post, and the student I profiled asked that I take down the article out of concern for his safety. I did.

But then the editorial board, against my expressed wishes, published a statement: “In retrospect, Sidelines failed to report on the casualties the Palestinian people have suffered and focused only on damage done to the Israeli population.”

Even though we published my profile story to the Sidelines website days before we posted it to Instagram, the editors and faculty advisor did not say I had “failed to report” on anything until the article had garnered more comments than I have ever seen on a Sidelines piece, nearly all of them from the “Free Palestine” crowd.

The editors who worked on the statement and our faculty advisor ignored my several protestations against its wording.

Unable to stand behind a dishonest and harmful representation of my story, I resigned.

And so I, a student in a public university journalism program in deep-red Tennessee, joined the company of student newspaper contributors like Sahar Tartak, who, in a Yale Daily News opinion piece, dared to speak the widely reported truth that Hamas terrorists had raped women and beheaded men during the Oct. 7 attack. The paper’s editorial board censored her with a “correction,” The Washington Free Beacon reported Oct.31.

The editors’ note read, “Oct. 25: This column has been edited to remove unsubstantiated claims that Hamas raped women and beheaded men.” The student newspaper later apologized for that.

Many of us have been desensitized to things like this happening at Ivy League schools since we have been confronted with so many examples.

Just after the attack, dozens of student groups at Harvard University signed a letter “hold[ing] the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence,” The Fix reported at the time.

ABC reported Nov. 2 that Ibrahim Bharma, a Harvard student and editor of the Harvard Law Review, joined several others in cornering and shouting at a Jewish student, according to the antisemitism watchdog group Canary Mission.

Students at many elite universities, including Stanford and American University in Washington D.C., have demanded the university support Palestinians and end support for Israel.

Even red state students justify terror

I had not expected such things to happen at the likes of Middle Tennessee State University.

However, my university is not the only red-state public campus where students have attempted to suppress sympathy for Israel.

Two days after Oct. 7, a vigil honoring killed Israelis at the University of Florida was interrupted by a stampede of students, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

At the University of Arizona, two education professors were recorded telling a “Cultural Pluralism for Young Children” class that Hamas is not comprised of terrorists, but is a “resistance” group opposed to Zionism, The Fix reported.

University of Georgia police arrested a student after allegedly saying he would kill an Israeli student and using an antisemitic slur on Oct. 20, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Even more, according to recent research, a majority of students across the country support for Hamas or equate the extremist group with Israel. Fifty-one percent of people aged 18 to 24 in the U.S. surveyed by a Harvard/Harris poll believe the Oct. 7 attack was “justified.”

Additionally, 52 percent do not believe Israel is justified in its mission to destroy Hamas, the poll found. Fifty-three percent think falsely that Israel, not Hamas, governs Gaza. Finally, a whopping 64 percent believe that Israel and Hamas are “morally equivalent” in their causes.

Thankfully, most of these majorities are slim; most still identify Hamas as a terrorist group, and 52 percent will say they side with Israel when directly asked.

That said, these majorities are loud as well. My school’s chapter of the Young Democratic Socialists of America recently held a vigil for Palestinian victims a little more than a week after I tried to tell the story of a student watching to see if his friends would meet the same fate.

My campus’ anti-Israel students have been shouting. Now I am shouting back. We must match and exceed their volume.

Not all ground has been ceded yet, but young people on college campuses not yet captured by this moral insanity need to realize what time it is. We must take action before things get worse.

*Note: Article Republished on The Tennessee Conservative by express permission from The College Fix.

4 thoughts on “Even Red State Colleges Are Folding To Antisemitism. I Experienced It Firsthand. (Op-Ed)

  • November 20, 2023 at 6:44 pm

    Great article!!! Thank you to the author and to TN Conservative News.

    I agree 100% > “Now I am shouting back. We must match and exceed their volume.”

  • November 20, 2023 at 7:09 pm

    So apposing the televised narrative is antisemitic? Never forget the lies that got us into Iraq about the solders taking babies out of the incubators and slamming them on the floor!

  • November 21, 2023 at 11:16 am

    Truth is the first casualty in war but so are a lot of other things that only seemed true.
    As it turns out, the IDF is hardly invincible and Mossad really isn’t much better than the CIA.
    The Palestinian Resistance however knew what Israel would do because Israel had made “disproportionate response” policy public i.e. “mowing the lawn”. Many of the Oct. 7 casualties were inflicted in firefights by callous IDF. Israel also faked a lot of the initial atrocities and their tunnel-hospital line is falling flat.
    So, what about this “Greatest Ally” that does exactly what its enemy wanted it to do and then lies about it?
    Hamas wants foreign recognition and that is exactly what is happening now that Israel has proven itself to be what Hamas said it was.
    Israel gave north Gaza orders to evacuate south and then starts bombing the south?
    Anyone could have told poor BeBe that armor wouldn’t do well against RPGs in a city reduced to rubble.

    I’d never paid much attention to any of this. It’s not my war. But, Israel made it so. So, now I do some research, I discover that there has rarely been so clear cut a case of one side being wrong : Israel!
    Israel created Hamas to divide the Palistinains and then impose the military in lieu of the “two state solution”. Natenyahu has deliberately provoked a series of incidents over the last 17 years aimed at liquidating Palestinians who’d lived there for centuries.
    Whether the 2 state would have worked or not, it’s clear that the military solution didn’t. Natenyahu is finished unless he escalates a regional or world war, as Zelesnky tried to do. The region waits on Erdogen with his 2 million strong army and Edeogen has flipped Germany to pro-Palestine despite the “Jawohl Jonnies”. Formal recogntion of Palestine is making the rounds and a retrun to 1967 broders which now would be de facto indpendance. Bucking that could make Israel into a graveyard like Ukraine. Never a good idea to start a war and then fight it on someone else’s dime.
    This is clearly the dumbest thing Israel has ever done and it could be the last.
    See “Killing Gaza” or Ahed Tamimi’s story and maybe you’ll see that this time, the Left is right.
    That said, taking it out on individuals here is rude. However, we shouldn’t never have been involved to begin with but giving Israel $ 4 billion foregin aid every year makes it our business hence, I’m an isolationist.

  • November 27, 2023 at 4:29 pm

    The closer you get to city centers the more blue it is, the closer you get to Universities the more blue it is. An infection in the body politic has been revealed, I was seeing the Anti Israel students when I visited my son at UC Santa Cruz 2017-2019. Of course this all gets mixed up with relativism, critiquing Israelis for doing no worse than we did to NAZIs in World War II. As always the left demands changes to the rules of war, with no debate or legislation.


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