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Miyares calls out Virginia college presidents for ‘deafening silence’ on Israel, Hamas

Rebecca Barnabi
israel palestine
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Tensions have risen across the United States on college campuses since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7.

Jewish students feel threatened and unsupported in the U.S.

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares sent a letter to all public Virginia college and university presidents yesterday encouraging them to step up and protect their Jewish students.

“First, groups like ‘Students for Justice in Palestine’ have repeatedly held demonstrations in Virginia where protestors chant ‘from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.’ This statement is a call for the complete destruction of Israel and denial of its right to exist. Conveniently, these protestors never explain what would happen to the eight million Jews who live between the river and the sea, leading to the inescapable conclusion that the protestors are calling for a second Holocaust against innocent men, women, and children,” Miyares wrote.

The letter reminds college presidents that the First Amendment does not protect speech that is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action, and which is likely to incite or produce such action.

The Anti-Defamation League reported a 388 percent increase in antisemitic incidents compared to 2022. Yet, most university leaders have remained silent.

The silence directly conflicts with the rightful universal reaction to the 2017 Unite the Right rally at UVA. Miyares notes that “your deafening silence in 2023 following your unhesitating condemnation in 2017 has not gone unnoticed.”

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.