Following the surprise resignation on Saturday of University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) chancellor Elizabeth Magill amid allegations of anti-Semitism at American universities, political pressure is mounting from both the US and Israel against her Harvard and MIT colleagues following their testimony before a congressional committee on Tuesday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his satisfaction at the support of “friends and leaders of the Jewish community” in the US, which numbers six million people and is the largest outside Israel.

“Every university president in this country who cannot condemn anti-Semitism and the genocide of the Jews should resign or be removed,” Nancy Mays, a Republican congresswoman from South Carolina, told Fox News.

“Israel is the only country in the world that is in danger of a real genocide,” she estimated.

“One out, two more to go,” New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, also a Republican, commented on X Saturday night, referring to outgoing UPenn dean Elizabeth Magill and her colleagues Claudine Gay of Harvard and Sally Konrblath of MIT.


“This is just the beginning of the battle against the corrupting invasion of anti-Semitism that is destroying the most ’rounded’ institutions of higher learning in the US,” Stefanik added, calling on the chancellors of Harvard and MIT to “make the right decision” because “the world is watching.”

The three chancellors were criticized because during their December 5 hearing before a congressional committee regarding the rise of anti-Semitic acts in American universities.

In an intense atmosphere, the three rectors answered Stefanik’s questions for five hours. The MP pressed the three heads of the universities, asking them if the calls of pro-Palestinian students for an “intifada” hide behind them a call “for genocide against the Jews in Israel and the world”.

Towards the end of the hearing, Stefanik persisted, asking whether calling for Jewish genocide violated the university’s code of conduct on harassment.

The three chancellors declined to label these calls as bullying or harassment and pointed out that it depends on the “context” and whether it translates into criminal behavior or actions. They all defended freedom of speech.

“It doesn’t depend on the context, the answer is ‘yes’ and that’s why you should resign.” These are unacceptable answers,” emphasized Stefanik.

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On Friday, Gay expressed her “regret” that her remarks had caused more “pain and upset”, while Magill released a video apologizing after a donor threatened to withdraw a $100m donation to UPenn.

UPenn’s chancellor finally resigned on Saturday under pressure from the university’s alumni, students, donors and board members, as did board chairman Scott Bock.

For its part, the Education Committee of the House of Representatives on Thursday launched an investigation into “endemic anti-Semitism” at universities.

In Israel, which Washington supports militarily and diplomatically, Netanyahu yesterday denounced “a great wave of anti-Semitism in the US, coming from the left and reaching the right, with a big rise in universities.”

“The important thing is that friends and leaders of the Jewish community rise up against this anti-Semitism. There is only one way to fight: with honor and pride, without lowering our heads, but by going on the counterattack,” he emphasized in a statement.

After Hamas’ bloody attacks on Israel on October 7, followed by the Jewish state’s counterattack and the bombing of the Gaza Strip, the conflict is rocking US Ivy League universities such as Harvard, MIT, UPenn and Columbia.