Pennsylvania Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro and Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) on Sunday joined religious leaders and students from the University of Pennsylvania to denounce the rise of antisemitism in the wake of the attack in Israel on Oct. 7 in which Hamas killed more than 1,200 Israelis and kidnapped about 250 others.
The event was held one day after the president of the University of Pennsylvania resigned following an outcry over her testimony on Capitol Hill, where she equivocated about whether calls for genocide against Jews would violate the school’s code of conduct.
“I have seen Pennsylvanians take actions, big and small, and both matter, to combat antisemitism,” Shapiro said at the event, which took place at Congregation Rodeph Shalom in Philadelphia. “I’ve seen it here in Philadelphia, where students raised their voices, where students made sure they were heard in the halls of power at their university, and leadership was held accountable. The students did that.”
Casey, who introduced Shapiro, said at the event: “We shouldn’t have to gather on a rainy day in Pennsylvania to talk about antisemitism, but we must.”
This is not the first time Shapiro, who is Jewish, called out the rise of antisemitic incidents following the Oct. 7 attack in Israel.
On Dec. 6, Shapiro made an appearance at Goldie, a Jewish-owned falafel restaurant which had just been the focus of a pro-Palestinian protest, where demonstrators chanted, “Goldie, Goldie, you can’t hide. We charge you with genocide.” Shapiro said the fact that protestors targeted a Jewish -owned business was a “blatant act of antisemitism.”
“Got some great falafel and tahini shakes here, which I’m looking forward to having on my way back to the Capitol,” Shapiro said in front of the restaurant, according to NBC Philadelphia. “I think this is a moment where the good people of Philadelphia should come together and not only support restaurants like this, but need to stand up against hate and antisemitism in all forms.”
Now-former University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill’s refusal to say a call for genocide against Jews violated her school’s policy came after a question from Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY). Stefanik has since been calling for the presidents of Harvard and MIT — who were also at the hearing — to resign.
However, Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), who is Jewish, said Stefanik’s crusade against the university presidents is hypocritical.
“Where does Elise Stefanik get off lecturing anybody about antisemitism, when she’s the hugest supporter of Donald Trump, who traffics in antisemitism all the time?” Raskin said Sunday in an interview on MSNBC. “She didn’t utter a peep of protest when he had Kanye West and Nick Fuentes over for dinner. Nick Fuentes, who doubts whether Oct. 7 even took place because he thinks it was some kind of suspicious propaganda move by the Israelis.”
Raskin added, “The Republican Party is filled with people who are entangled with antisemitism like that, and yet somehow she gets on our high horse and lectures a Jewish college president from MIT.”