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  • Writer's picturePete Gallego

DEI on Campus Must Address Antisemitism


Pictured: Students at the University of Texas at Austin celebrating Israel at the Israel Block Party on campus.

I’ve spent my life fighting discrimination and misinformation and have been a fierce advocate for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). So I’ve been dismayed this fall to see Jewish students excluded from the spirit and safeguards of DEI on many college campuses as they’ve faced a surge in antisemitism during Israel’s war against the Hamas terrorists.


That’s why I’ve joined Dr. Rachel Fish of Brandeis University and Boundless Israel to support

Jewish well-being on campus and challenge our fellow academicians to educate themselves

(quickly) on the reality for their Jewish students.


Dr. Fish and I offer different perspectives: She is Jewish, has an academic background, and

advises the president of a private university in New England; I am Hispanic and Catholic, served as a lawmaker, and am president emeritus of Sul Ross State, near the Texas-Mexico border.


But we understand our obligations to universal principles. We co-authored a column in the San Antonio Express-News with these four guiding principles for university administrators to

understand:

  • Antisemitism comes in many faces from both the right and left.

  • Support for Israel is integral to Jewish identity for most Jewish Americans.

  • The Israel-Gaza war is not a test case for neutrality in university statements: Moral clarity is required.

  • There is no contradiction between combating hate, condemning terrorism, and upholding academic freedom. 

One last thought . . .  it’s been more than a month since the October 7th terrorist attack on

Israel. Watching the Twin Towers fall that morning of 9/11 taught me a lot about terrorist

groups. Those moments remain indelibly imprinted in my mind.


Like Al-Qaeda, it is important to remember that Hamas is, was, and remains an organized

terrorist group. It is not an ethnic group, nationality, or religion. 


All of us can and should want peace. We can also be pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian at the same time — but we should be firmly anti-Hamas.

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