This Chanukah, Let’s Vow to Defeat Our New Oppressors: Higher Education

We know from history that Jew-hatred, the world’s oldest and once again most fashionable form of bigotry, is the chameleon of all hates — forever taking on new hues to suit the scapegoating needs of the day. It has always been thus, and it will always be thus. This is a cancer for which there is sadly no cure.

But as we also know: Am Yisrael Chai  — the people of Israel live. There is no more appropriate time on the calendar to double down, and to more fearlessly embrace our peoplehood, than this festival of Chanukah — which, contra the predictable blather about abstract “freedom” or “justice,” commemorates the military victory of the defiant, particularist Maccabees over the submissive, universalist Hellenizers. The message of Chanukah, which began Thursday evening, is a simple one: Choose authentic Judaism, not assimilation and appeasement.

But in the aftermath of Tuesday’s astounding congressional hearing with the presidents of Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, during which the demonic triumvirate smirked their way through rigorous bipartisan questioning and repeatedly failed to condemn calls for genocide of the Jewish people as contrary to their universities’ codes of conduct, we must make another related commitment. This Chanukah, modern-day Maccabees and like-minded fellow defenders of our Western heritage must commit to razing to the ground today’s Hellenizers: American higher education.

Hellenistic paganism was a civilizational threat to the Jews back then; woke-ism, and specifically the regnant “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” (DEI) regime, is a civilizational threat to the Jews (and Christians) today. That our foes now wear pantsuits instead of Greco-Roman armor, and that our terrain is now one of cultural clout and fiscal support instead of a literal cavalry-speckled battlefield, is hardly relevant.

For hours, Claudine Gay, Liz Magill and Sally Kornbluth, the leaders of three of America’s most “prestigious” educational institutions, steadfastly refused to stipulate that calls to annihilate the Jewish people violate either First Amendment norms or their own universities’ codes of conduct, which generally prohibit “intimidation” and “harassment.” Instead, through awkward pauses and supercilious half-grins, they regurgitated lawyerly talking points: “it might,” “it depends,” “I’d need to see the context,” and so forth.

These moral midgets have made plain their disdain for the Jews. They have poured tremendous fuel on a raging conflagration, and they should all resign in disgrace.

We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the ladies erred because the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. felt compelled to post a not-so-subtle message Wednesday on Twitter/X: “Opposing calls for genocide against Jews shouldn’t be difficult or controversial.” As one Twitter/X wag dryly noted: “Do you know how badly you have to mess up to be subtweeted by a Holocaust museum?”

Harvard and Penn have since tried to walk back what Gay and Magill said — or, more, refused to say — under oath. But the damage is done. Memes have been circulating online of a T-shirt adorned with Harvard’s iconic red shield and the slogan, “Hamas University: The ISIS of the East.”

Higher education in America has become worse than a blight; it is a debilitating cancer corrupting countless impressionable minds, destabilizing countless once-venerable institutions and impairing the common good. The universities are the leading incubators, promulgators and disseminators of the DEI catechism, which (in classic Marxist phraseology) divides society into “oppressor” and “oppressed” classes to which varying bundles of rights and privileges affix. “Oppressed?” Good for you: You get the most rights, privileges and sympathies! “Oppressor?” What a pity: You get bupkis — and the “oppressed” people’s eternal ire, to boot!

If you guessed that the Jews, the most oppressed people in human history, count as “oppressed” according to our DEI overlords, guess again.

Our universities truly are the enemies of the people, and in their current state they are wholly unworthy of receiving even a single penny of taxpayer support. Indeed, one of our formidable tasks now is to slowly reorient incentive structures in the precise opposite direction: Employers should not hire from these schools and professional schools should not admit applicants who completed their undergraduate studies at these schools.

Perhaps most important, parents must reject paying tuition to send their children to these schools, no matter how gifted their children and no matter how enticing the “lay prestige” of a school like Harvard may be. Weimar-era Germany had plenty of “prestigious” institutions, too. How did that work out?

Recapturing the institutions from the talons of our treacherous, woke-besotted ruling class is arduous work. It begins by refusing to bend the knee to our would-be conquerors, and by instead telling the world: “We are here, and we are staying true to our people and our way of life.”

In other words, it means being a Maccabee.

Happy Chanukah to all.

To find out more about Josh Hammer and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Get the news corporate media won't tell you.

Get caught up on today's must read stores!

By submitting your information, you agree to receive exclusive AG+ content, including special promotions, and agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms. By providing your phone number and checking the box to opt in, you are consenting to receive recurring SMS/MMS messages, including automated texts, to that number from my short code. Msg & data rates may apply. Reply HELP for help, STOP to end. SMS opt-in will not be sold, rented, or shared.

About Josh Hammer

Josh Hammer is senior editor-at-large of Newsweek. A popular conservative commentator, he is a research fellow with the Edmund Burke Foundation and a syndicated columnist through Creators. A frequent pundit and essayist on political, legal, and cultural issues, Hammer is a constitutional attorney by training. He is a former John Marshall Fellow with the Claremont Institute and a campus speaker through Intercollegiate Studies Institute, Young America’s Foundation, and the Federalist Society.

Photo: WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 05: (L-R) Dr. Claudine Gay, President of Harvard University, Liz Magill, President of University of Pennsylvania, and Dr. Sally Kornbluth, President of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, testify before the House Education and Workforce Committee at the Rayburn House Office Building on December 05, 2023 in Washington, DC. The Committee held a hearing to investigate antisemitism on college campuses. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)