Hate Speech on “Both Sides” of US Campus Protests, Says UN Official

In fact, a UN representative called the current antisemitic pro-Hamas campus demonstrations in the United States “troubling” due to “the rise in hate speech on all sides.”

Irene Khan, the U.N. special rapporteur on freedom of expression and opinion, stated, “One after the other, the Ivy League heads of colleges and universities, their heads are rolling, they’ve been chopped off.”Khan stated to a U.N. news agency that “legitimate speech needs to be protected, but sadly, there is a hysteria that is taking hold in the United States.”

Following a congressional hearing on campus antisemitism on December 5, the presidents of Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania resigned under pressure because they, along with the president of MIT, were unable to state whether calls for the genocide of Jews violated their institutions’ code of conduct.

It “clearly polarizes even further the political climate on this issue between ‘them’ and ‘us,” according to Khan.

From the comments, it was not obvious to whom “them” and “us” were referring.

Over the past few weeks, pro-Hamas demonstrations have mostly consisted of unapproved “encampments” that have taken over university property, limiting the freedom of movement for those communities and impeding the institutions’ ability to function.

Despite the overwhelming evidence of overt antisemitism expressed during these events, JNS was unable to locate any documented instances of pro-Israel or Jewish protestors making Islamophobic or genocidal statements on or off campus.

“Go back to Gaza” was reportedly chanted by a group of Christian nationalists during a counter-rally on Thursday outside Columbia University, taunting those inside.

In her interview, Khan asserted that there is “confusion” in many of the protests regarding what is considered hate speech or incitement to violence against what is “basically a different view of the situation in Israel” and the regions controlled by Hamas/Palestinian Authority.

She stated that “incitement to violence is prohibited under international law,” but she did not provide an example of where the protests this spring had gone over that line.

JNS did not hear back from Khan’s office after requesting an explanation.