Two significant things happened yesterday, and if I’m going to play Monday morning prophet, I think that they are connected in the spirit. Saleh al-Arouri was eliminated yesterday in a missile strike in Beirut, Lebanon, presumably by Israel. Who was he? The number two leader in Hamas’s political wing. He was primarily responsible for funding the Al Qassam Brigades, who, in large part, carried out the atrocities on October 7. I remember seeing their name written in Arabic in spray paint when I was inside Kibbutz Nir Oz.
Al-Arouri was only worth about $5,000,000, which is relatively poor for a top Hamas leader. He was under the protection of Hezbollah in Lebanon. The strike sends a clear message to Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah that Israel is not afraid to engage them. It sends a message to Hamas leaders that they are not safe in Lebanon. Nasrallah issued a threat back in August that Israel would pay the price if they dared to assassinate any of their leaders in Lebanon.
Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president, declared a general strike today in the Arab cities of the West Bank because nothing expresses outrage like injuring your own economy and the livelihoods of your citizens.
While Al-Arouri was in Hamas, not Hezbollah, providing protection and hospitality is a very big deal in the Middle East. Remember the story of Lot and the angels. If Nasrallah does not respond, he will look weak in the eyes of his colleagues. On the other hand, he does not want to drag Lebanon into a deadly war.
The precision strike killed seven people in a third-floor apartment in Beirut. Those eliminated were Hamas officials—no collateral damage.
The related news, only separated by a few hours, was that Harvard President Claudine Gay resigned. Gay came under fire for her unwillingness to categorically unconditionally condemn hate speech against Jewish students when she testified before Congress. It is ironic that the Harvard Corporation rightly declared, “some of this has played out in the public domain, much of it has taken the form of repugnant and in some cases racist vitriol directed at her through disgraceful emails and phone calls,” yet the institution seems far less concerned about racist, vitriol, directed at their Jewish student population. Racism is wrong unless you are perceived to be in a higher class is the message they are sending Jewish students.
Gay herself blamed racism despite being the perpetrator of racism against her own Jewish students. “It has been distressing to have doubt cast on my commitments to confronting hate and to upholding scholarly rigor—two bedrock values that are fundamental to who I am—and frightening to be subjected to personal attacks and threats fueled by racial animus.” Maybe now she knows how her Jewish students felt by her betrayal.
But let’s be honest, this is an empty claim. If she was the victim of racism, what are we going to say about Liz McGill, who had to resign as the president of Penn University? She’s white and suffered the same treatment. Racism is real, and Black people have suffered tremendously in America, but this is not racism.
When Gay was questioned by Republican Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (as were the presidents of Penn University and MIT) last month, they were asked if calling for the genocide of Jews was a violation of their university's codes of conduct. The simple answer would’ve been, “Absolutely! Unquestionably!” But none of the three university presidents could find their voices but instead decided to give vague, politically correct answers that would give cover to those persecuting Jewish students.
Gay claimed that it all would depend on the context of the speech: When “speech crosses into conduct, that violates our policies.” In other words, merely calling for the mass murder of an ethnic people group was OK as long as you didn’t actually do it! There would be no such standard for any other ethnic group besides the Jewish people. But she appeared more worried about the anti-Jewish groups on campus; how would they react to her comments? She was lambasted by politicians as well as pundits. Even Saturday Night Live poked fun at her in an opening skit.
Gay would go on to apologize, but there can be no excuse for her answer or that of the other two university presidents when they testified before Congress. She is the second to resign over the controversy, with one more to go, tweeted Stefanik.
I see the two stories as tied together because they represent two primary players on two battlefields. There is the violent warfront where Israel is fighting Hamas. But then there is the war of ideas and words being played out on university campuses and in the streets of Europe’s main cities.
It is fitting that it wasn't the other way around. In other words, we don’t want to shoot university professors and simply fire Hamas leaders. You fight a war of words with words and a real war with real weapons. Make no mistake, in some ways, the way American universities have embraced Islamic fascism is equally as shocking as the atrocities that Hamas carried out on October 7. Who would’ve ever dreamed that professors and university presidents would stand with rapists and blame their victims?
This is why I believe prophetically that the two are connected in the war against antisemitism and the hatred of the state of Israel. Nothing escapes God’s eyes. Harvard is the mother of all institutions of higher education. Hamas carried out a massacre against the Jewish people. One is leading the ideological war against Israel, and the other, the actual war against Israel. Both suffered greatly yesterday.
Photo credits: Wikipedia (al-Arouri) and YouTube (Gay)