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Weekly Column: From The Mailbag--Addressing Antisemitic Activities On College Campuses

Guest column submitted by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo

As participants in the decisions made in Congress, Idahoans contact me regularly with valuable input about the issues our country faces.  One of the issues Idahoans have contacted me about is antisemitic and pro-Hamas activities on college campuses.  The following is a condensed version of my response:

I unequivocally denounce statements supporting Hamas.  The October 7, 2023, Hamas terrorist attack on Israel represented the greatest single-day loss of life for the Jewish community since the Holocaust and commands a swift and forceful response from the United States.  Although most of the world rightly condemned these horrific acts against innocent civilians, college campuses around the country have seen increased student demonstrations and statements supporting Hamas’ actions, which have provided fertile ground for and resulted in antisemitic violence and harassment.  

The rhetoric espoused by these students and the failure of university administrations to properly address it have harmful consequences.  There are numerous examples of Jewish students being subjected to antisemitic slurs, threats and violence.  While these actions have represented clear violations of university policies, they have been met in some cases with days of inaction from the schools’ administration, emboldening agitators. 

Congress must use every tool at its disposal to ensure Jewish students are able to learn in an academic environment free from the threat of harassment and violence.  No solution, including the discontinuation of federal funds for certain colleges, is off the table.  I encourage all relevant congressional committees to adopt rigorous oversight of the relationship between the federal government and universities that sanction antisemitic activities.

Additionally, federal law enforcement must be appropriately enabled to respond to antisemitic crimes, whether they are committed on college campuses or elsewhere, and, if necessary, remove perpetrators who are temporarily residing in our country.  Absent the requisite punishment, both from law enforcement and academic institutions, these acts will become all too normal. 

At this critical juncture in our nation’s history, there is an evident and growing need for our leaders to provide unambiguous moral clarity.  All lawmakers of good conscience, regardless of partisan affiliation, must speak out during this time of escalating antisemitism, and work to bolster protections for Jewish citizens.  I have joined my Senate colleagues on multiple oversight letters to federal agencies and university administrators backing efforts to ensure such discriminatory acts end.  Below are some legislation I have also co-sponsored consistent with those objectives:

  • Antisemitism Awareness Act, which would direct the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to use the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism when investigating antisemitic acts on campuses;
  • Multiple Senate Resolutions strongly condemning the rise of antisemitism on campuses

of institutions of higher education across the United States;

  • Countering Antisemitism Act that would improve the national coordination of strategies to counter antisemitism; and more.

Our nation is too great for hate.  I condemn and reject racism and bigotry in all of its forms, and remain committed to working with my colleagues in Congress to ensure law enforcement has the resources and backing it needs to counter violent extremism and hate crimes.

Realizing many Idahoans may not have the chance to contact me, I post information about various issues of importance on my website, at, as well as news releases, information about accessing my Facebook and YouTube pages and following me on Twitter and Instagram.  Resources to assist Idahoans who need help with federal agencies and how to contact me are also on the website and as follows:

  • Boise

251 E. Front St., Suite 205

Boise ID, 83702

Phone: (208) 334-1776

Fax: (208) 334-9044

  • Coeur d' Alene

610 Hubbard, Suite 209

Coeur d' Alene, ID 83814

Phone: (208) 664-5490

Fax: (208) 664-0889

  • Idaho Falls

410 Memorial Dr., Suite 204

Idaho Falls, ID 83402

Phone: (208) 522-9779

Fax: (208) 529-8367

  • Lewiston

313 'D' St., Suite 105

Lewiston, ID 83501

Phone: (208) 743-1492

Fax: (208) 743-6484

  • Pocatello

275 S. 5th Ave., Suite 100

Pocatello, ID 83201

Phone: (208) 236-6775

Fax: (208) 236-6935

  • Twin Falls

202 Falls Ave., Suite 2
Twin Falls, ID 83301

Phone: (208) 734-2515

Fax: (208) 733-0414

  • Washington, D.C.

239 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510

Phone: (202) 224-6142

Fax: (202) 228-1375

The messages you send me help shape my approach on a number of important matters.  Please continue to contact me and share your thoughts and ideas. 

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