What Antisemitic Campus Chants Tell Us About This Angry Era - Living Strong Television Network
What Antisemitic Campus Chants Tell Us About This Angry Era

The rage of the mob is a poor substitute for real community.

This piece was adapted from Russell Moore’s newsletter. Subscribe here.

As Columbia University and other elite campuses erupt into protests against the United States’ diplomatic and military support of Israel’s war against Hamas, US Sen. John Fetterman denounced the antisemitic speech of some of these protesters, remarking on the social platform X, “Add some tiki torches and it’s Charlottesville for these Jewish students.”

Whatever one thinks of Fetterman’s analogy or of the Israel-Hamas war, we would do well to listen to the common ring of the Charlottesville chant, “You will not replace us! Jews will not replace us!” with the one recorded this week on the Columbia campus: “We have Zionists who have entered the camp!”

An observer might have asked in Charlottesville, “What Jews are trying to replace you?” The white nationalists there would no doubt have told such a person that a shadowy cabal was seeking to import immigrants, to commit “white genocide.” Just so, another observer might ask at Columbia, “What Zionists have entered your camp?” Israeli military forces? No. The “Zionists” in question are Jewish students—one wearing a Star of David—attempting to walk on campus.

At one level, the video of the students chanting seems almost farcical, like a parody out of an old episode of Portlandia. The leader yells out a sentence; the followers repeat it back—even to the point of repeating back, in unison, “Repeat after me.” Does that part really have to be repeated? Well, kind of; that’s part of what happens in a chant. The message is not reasoned discourse. The rote nature of the repetition …

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