Over the past two weeks, American college and university campuses have witnessed an explosion of antisemitic rhetoric and conduct that once had been thought to be unthinkable today.

A portion of the Columbia University lawn has become a tent city to protest—or more specifically, to protest the right of Israel, and Jews, to exist. As explained below, this malignant tumor needs to be removed, and we explain below how to do so.

Patient Zero was Columbia University, but that virus has cascaded beyond the Upper West Side of New York City across the nation to schools such as Yale, Cornell, Cooper Union, and Tulane. The George Washington University Law School has decided that it must treat its students like members of the Witness Security Program by moving final exams to an undisclosed location.

The University of Southern California canceled its graduation ceremonies, in part because of the fear that it could not restrain Hamas supporters who would try to disrupt the event. Other colleges have also succumbed to the worse angels of our nature. It is not an exaggeration to label what is happening on America’s campuses a nascent pogrom against the Jews.

Across the nation, protesters have shouted slogans such as “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” a thinly veiled endorsement of slaughtering the 9.6 million people living in Israel. Chants such as  “Globalize the intifada,” “Death to the Zionist state,” “Burn Tel Aviv to the ground,” and “Go, Hamas, we love you, We support your rockets, too” are among the “routine calls for their execution” that Jewish students have been made to endure.

If that weren’t bad enough, Cornell saw “an outbreak of threats to ‘shoot up,’ rape, and slash the throats of Jewish students on campus by pseudonymous harassers calling themselves ‘Hamas,’ ‘jew evil,’ ‘jew jenocide,’ ‘Hamas warrior,’ and ‘kill jews.’”

One person made that point Kristallnacht-clear by saying that, like Nazis, “Zionists don’t deserve to live.”

The Times of Israel reported that “anonymous antisemitic posts on a Greek life website” at Cornell contained these statements: “‘If i see a pig male jew i will stab you and slit your throat,’” and “‘If i see another pig female jew i will drag you away and rape you and throw you off a cliff. if i see another pig baby jew i will behead you in front of your parents.’”

Yes, college students say and do stupid things—for example, the ones holding “Gays for Palestine” signs. It’s possible some don’t know what would happen to gays in Palestine—and hopefully, the majority of protesters would not want to see Oct. 7 repeated over and over until there is no current occupant left from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

But the disgusting rhetoric we’re seeing at some of the most elite institutions in the world isn’t a function of ignorance. These are among the nation’s most highly educated people. The students at these universities are well-aware of what they are espousing and calling for, and their genocidal slogans underscore how unmoored they have become from any sense of reasonable disagreement and civility.

To make it worse, this lunacy and odiousness has not been limited to callow students. Russell Rickford, a Cornell history professor, said that he was “exhilarated” by Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorism—which included rapes, killings, and butchery—before apologizing for his remarks. 

In her testimony before Congress, then-Harvard President Claudine Gay refused to say that student or faculty endorsement of the genocide of the Jewish people violated the university’s code of conduct. When the president of a university refuses to condemn genocide without first considering the “context” of a call for the extermination of millions of people, it is easy to see how numbskull students might believe that anything goes.

Antisemitism is a vile enough phenomenon without adding hypocrisy to the mix. Yet, some members of the media, the academy, and Congress have done just that.

Remember, the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, involved a small number of extreme right-wing demonstrators. The media labeled the group as a new generation of Brown Shirts, and President Joe Biden said that the incident triggered his decision to run for the White House. Yet, those same parties have largely given a pass to extreme left-wing antisemites, as Columbia professor John McWhorter and National Review Editor-in-Chief Rich Lowry have noted.

Fortunately, not every college has succumbed to this madness. The University of Florida and University of Texas at Austin have decided that they will not allow a minority to take control of a university, inviting law enforcement officers onto campus to maintain order.

“Peaceful protests are constitutionally protected,” the University of Florida said. “Camping, putting up structures, disrupting academic activity, or threatening others on university property is strictly prohibited.” As University of Florida President Ben Sasse, a Republican former U.S. senator from Nebraska, said last fall, “Speech is protected. Violence and vandalism are not.”

The phenomenon of avowed, widespread antisemitism on America’s campuses, once thought to be a movement that could not arise in this nation, has several parents.

Hamas—an organization that the United States and the European Union have designated as a terrorist group—has been able to generate both sympathy for its murderous terrorist members and worldwide outrage at Israel’s efforts to prevent the reoccurrence of the rapes and killings that Hamas willfully inflicted on innocent Jews in Israel on Oct. 7.

Certain elements of the media have also displayed slavish affection for the so-called Squad, a small group of members of the U.S. House of Representatives who have ignored Hamas’ vile conduct on that day.

Finally, there’s the Biden administration’s selfish but crippling fear that offending the Arab population in Michigan—seen as a “swing state” in the 2024 presidential election—will cost President Joe “Pause” Biden the election this fall.

“Out of a perverse political calculation, the president’s party—with the honorable exception of Senator John Fetterman,” National Review’s editors wrote, “spent months mollycoddling the anti-Israel protest movement even as it devolved into a pro-terrorism movement.”

There are several steps that colleges can take to quell the spread of campus antisemitism.

First, start with an easy one: Prohibit the wearing of masks and face-covering keffiyehs on campus. Columbia University in April is not like the University of Alaska at Fairbanks in January. There’s no need for students to wear masks for protection against 40-degree-below-zero temperatures. Plus, this is April, not Halloween, so there is also no need to wear a mask to attend a costume party.

People wear masks during such protests to prevent themselves from being identified or to intimidate others, not to protect their faces from the elements or to participate in a harmless party.

Why is it important to be able to identify participants? Universities, along with their students, faculty, and administrators, should want to know which students are causing a ruckus on their property so that the school can identify and discipline them if a disturbance goes too far.

Colleges should also want to know if outsiders are responsible for on-campus turmoil so that the police can arrest them for trespassing. Mike Pompeo, a former CIA director and former secretary of state, said that “there is no doubt” that these simultaneous nationwide activities are “highly coordinated” and that not-for-profit organizations might be responsible for funding them. Beyond that, the public should want to know whether representatives of foreign governments have infiltrated our nation for the purpose of causing disruption on our campuses.

Can universities prohibit the wearing of masks on campus? Yes. In the Enforcement Act of 1870, Congress made this conduct a felony:

[I]f two or more persons shall band or conspire together, or go in disguise upon the public highway, or upon the premises of another, with intent to violate any provision of this act, or to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any citizen with intent to prevent or hinder his free exercise and enjoyment of any right or privilege granted or secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having exercised the same, such persons shall be held guilty of felony.

That act, which was aimed at the Ku Klux Klan, but could be used today against the far Left, is codified at Section 241 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code. It would apply to conduct undertaken on the grounds of state universities. State and private colleges may adopt the same rule of conduct under their student and faculty codes.

In addition, foreign governments have no free speech clause rights, and the Foreign Agents Registration Act demands that agents of foreign governments identify themselves by registering with the federal government. It is in Iran’s interest to see as many American schools as possible become anti-Israel hothouses, and our nation should want to determine whether foreigners are disrupting American campuses to foster Iran’s foreign policy objectives.

Second, prohibit tent cities from sprouting up in areas that should be open for use by all students, faculty, and administrators. Tents and sleeping bags are useful for camping, and they have a legitimate purpose when temporarily used for that purpose in a national or state park.

Establishing a tent city is an in-your-face way for a group to claim that this property belongs to us, not the school. Colleges should not let students take over particular campus areas for their own use. If you allow individuals or organizations to occupy portions of campus open spaces, you soon will see what happened at Columbia on Tuesday.

The media reported that “Columbia University has been forced to close its campus indefinitely after an anti-Israel mob broke into an academic building early Tuesday morning.” Allow people to take over portions of your campus, and soon you will see administration buildings become higher-ed versions of the Alamo.

Perhaps only when mobs take over the offices of university presidents will those officials realize the fecklessness of their refusal to force compliance with the law.

Third, universities should suspend or expel organizations, faculty members, administrators, and individual students who violate university conduct rules by urging the commission of violence against others, including groups defined by race, ethnicity, religion, or viewpoint.

The University of Texas at Austin has done so, suspending a group calling itself the Palestine Solidarity Committee for its conduct. Calling for the genocide of Jews should lead to the firing or expulsion of the speaker. Immediately. Consistently. Always.

Fourth, end the hypocrisy that has beset higher education in which left-wing organizations and individuals may act with impunity for conduct like calling for the genocide of Jews while parties on the right-wing are tarred and feathered for activities like handing out copies of the U.S. Constitution on campus without a permit and only in minuscule “free speech zones.”

No one believes that America’s universities would leave unpunished students who urge the genocide of all black students—regardless of the “context” of such as remark. No college faculty would stand for such on-campus speech, and every university board would suspend or fire any college president who tolerated, let alone endorsed, such conduct.

If a university president actually believes that there is a difference between that and what is going on now on their campuses, let him or her make that case. We’d love to hear it.

Fifth, cut off their funding. Radicals and the leftist institutions that harbor and “educate” them are sustained by an open spigot of federal subsidies, funded by American taxpayers.

U.S. colleges and universities enjoy more than $240 billion in federal subsidies annually, comprising student loans and grants, as well as tax benefits and federal work study programs.

They also receive tens of billions ($44 billion in 2019 alone) in federal research grants funded by taxpayers, billions in “indirect costs” that universities use to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion activities. And now, the Biden administration is lining the pockets of academia through various illegal, regressive, and unfair student loan debt cancellations, which directly reward and enable universities to continue to raise tuition.

This handout to college students who, statistically, are likely to out-earn their non-college counterparts, is also rewarding the bad behavior that has gripped universities across the country.

Congress could tamp down the antisemitic and anti-American protests that have blighted higher education by eliminating PLUS loans, restoring much of the loan portfolio to the private sector, reducing indirect-cost subsidies, and, critically, ending student loan cancellation where it can, such as through reversing the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

In 1943, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter, a Jew, described himself as “one who belongs to the most vilified and persecuted minority in history.” We thought, and hoped, that such persecution was behind us and that any such fear no longer had any widespread purchase in the United States.

Given the events on our nation’s campus over the past two weeks, it turns out that we were wrong. Antisemitism is not dead; it just went underground.

Now we know. Let’s drive a stake through the heart of that beast.