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Cancel culture or just deserts? Debate erupts over people facing backlash for anti-Israel statements

Conservative columnist Bethany Mandel strongly condemned rhetoric from some American university students blaming the Hamas terrorist attacks on the Israeli government, and rejected arguments that refusing to hire those students was an example of “cancel culture.” 

Mandel criticized the argument that leftist students who are members of pro-Palestinian organizations — some of which blame Israel for the recent terrorist assault on the country that launched a war — are not responsible for their rhetoric. In one high-profile example that gained national media attention, more than 30 student organizations at Harvard University said Israel was “entirely responsible” for “unfolding violence” against the country. Some of the Harvard groups withdrew their signatures after the initial backlash.

“Four-year-olds are able to decide their gender, but 24-year-olds aren’t able to understand that endorsing a genocidal massacre against 1,400 civilians is bad,” Mandel said, mocking the argument that these students should not be held fully responsible for their statements regarding the Israel-Hamas war. 

The fierce debate on college campuses over the Israel-Hamas war has also become cultural. Washington Post columnist Megan McArdle called out some conservatives for pushing what she termed as “cancel culture” against students who have lost out on job opportunities and even had offers rescinded as a result of their statements on the Hamas attacks. 

Some “student groups,” the columnist wrote, “suggested that the real blame for the rape of Israeli women and the murder of Israeli babies belonged to … the Israelis. An American Studies professor at Yale tweeted, ‘Settlers are not civilians. This is not hard.’ The president of NYU Law’s Student Bar Association opened the group’s weekly newsletter with a cheery ‘Hi, y’all’ before going on to declare that ‘Israel bears full responsibility for this tremendous loss of life.’”

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Jeffrey Clark is an associate editor for Fox News Digital. He has previously served as a speechwriter for a cabinet secretary and as a Fulbright teacher in South Korea. Jeffrey graduated from the University of Iowa in 2019 with a degree in English and History. 

Story tips can be sent to jeffrey.clark@fox.com.

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