Pete Hegseth: Princeton fostering ‘continued antisemitism’ by hosting speaker who compares Israelis to Nazis
Princeton University is pushing the “disturbing continued antisemitism” fostered on college campuses by hosting a prominent pro-Palestine activist who has repeatedly compared Israelis to Nazis, Fox News’ Pete Hegseth said.
“A guy like this should not be chosen in the first place if your goal is to foster dialogue,” Hegseth, a Fox & Friends Weekend co-host and Princeton alumnus, said. “If your goal is to foster one particular viewpoint you’ve decided is the legitimate viewpoint, then he probably represents the views of the English department, which is left-wing and pro-Palestinian.”
Princeton hosted pro-Palestinian activist and journalist Mohammed El-Kurd on Wednesday, sparking outrage from the campus’s Jewish community. El-Kurd has accused Jewish Israelis and Zionists of eating the organs of Palestinians; often called them bloodthirsty; repeatedly compared Israelis to Nazis; and praised terrorism against Israeli civilians.
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“Believing in what he’s espoused is by definition, intolerance,” Hegseth told Fox News Digital. “The university says it does not tolerate intolerance, but only as it pertains to other forms of racism.”
“Somehow antisemitism gets a carve-out,” he added. “And it’s an ongoing sin and a stain that the modern left is oddly, eerily and scarily silent on.”
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The executive director for Princeton’s Center for Jewish Life, Rabbi Steinlauf, told The Princeton Tory: “We have reached out repeatedly to Professor Jeff Dolven in the Department of English, expressing our disappointment in this invite, and respectfully asking that his department publicly provide context for Mr. El-Kurd’s rhetoric: our request is for the English Department to acknowledge and call out his dangerous language.”
The Anti-Defamation League wrote that “even a cursory analysis of his [El-Kurd’s] social media and his book ‘Rifqa,’ reveals an indisputably troubling pattern of rhetoric and slander that ranges far beyond reasoned criticism of Israel. It is unvarnished, vicious antisemitism.” In his book, El-Kurd wrote, “they [Israelis] harvest organs of the martyred [Palestinians], feed their warriors our own.”
El-Kurd has also compared Israelis to Nazis in numerous tweets from May and June of last year.
He tweeted that “Zionist settlers” were starting fires in a Palestinian neighborhood in Jerusalem and said “these are the sadistic barbaric neonazi pigs that claim to be indigenous to our land.”
“I don’t care who this offends they have completely internalized the ways of the nazis,” he tweeted in another.
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Hegseth said the English department’s sponsorship of El-Kurd “is part of the disturbing continued antisemitism that is allowed to fester and be fostered at college campuses across America.”
“If you’re going to bring that radical of a view in, at least bring a fact-based, commonsense view from the pro-Israeli side who will call out the ahistorical and, frankly, immoral stances that he takes,” Hegseth told Fox News.
El-Kurd, a correspondent the progressive magazine, The Nation, was invited to Princeton as the speaker for the annual Edward W. Said ’57 Memorial Lecture, which is intended to foster serious discussions about the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.
A Feb. 5 letter, signed by over 40 students, called on the English department to “openly denounce a speaker committed to disseminating hatred, libel, and calls to violence against Jewish members of the University community.” The letter clarified that in the name of free speech, they were not calling for cancelation, but condemnation of the event.
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The concerned students urged the English department to work with Jewish partners on campus to host another speaker that would bring healing to the Jewish community for harm caused by El-Kurd.
“Good on the students for not trying to cancel or silence this guy like the left does,” Hegseth said. “Real tolerance is tolerating ideas you abhor, and I think free-thinking students understand that.”
“But clearly Princeton is more than willing to invite intolerant Islamist, antisemites to have a free speech podium, but would they do the same with pro-life Christian conservatives? Of course not,” he added. “The double standard is glaring, as always.”
Dolven, the English department’s chair, responded to the letter in an email obtained by Fox News. He wrote that, while he and others in the department share concern over the rise of antisemitism, “my colleagues have invited Mr. El-Kurd to speak to us out of a sense that he has urgent experience and ideas to bring to the campus.”
“Open dialogue is my best understanding of a safe space, one where we care for one another and afford our guests our careful attention,” Dolven continued.
A Princeton spokesperson referred Fox News to the school’s page on academic freedom and free expression. It states that “because the University is committed to free and open inquiry in all matters, it guarantees all members of the University community the broadest possible latitude to speak, write, listen, challenge, and learn.”