Nikki Haley Vows to Limit Free Speech to Combat Growing Anti-Israel Sentiment

nikki haley antisemitism
U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

The war in Israel has stirred up plenty of debate, from how much the United States should get involved, to the threat posed against American Jews and the American homeland in general, and whether a two-state solution was ever and will ever be a viable option in the region. Like many international issues of high emotional value, this debate is played out most noticeably on college and university campuses. 

The timing of these questions falls fortuitously as GOP presidential candidates hope to make their breakouts from the pack and start eating into Donald Trump’s massive lead. Former Ambassador and staunch Israel supporter Nikki Haley wasted no time coming out, as almost everyone did, against the horrific attacks on Israel.

But have candidates like Ms. Haley lost sight of what we stand for and what we should be fighting for in their fever pitch to prove their dedication to the Israeli cause? For some, it’s not enough to send billions in taxpayer money and possibly commit American soldiers to the fight.

Goodbye First Amendment

GOP Presidential candidate Nikki Haley blasted the Biden administration on X for not being more firm against antisemitism, writing:

“You can’t fight antisemitism if you can’t define it. Joe Biden and the Left refuse to call anti-Zionism antisemitism.”

This statement by Ms. Haley claims that if you are openly critical of, or believe that the creation of a Jewish state in the Middle East was and is flawed, it is the same thing as hating Jews in general.

She went on to write:

“As president, I will change the official federal definition of antisemitism to include denying Israel’s right to exist, and I will pull school’s tax exemption status if they do not combat antisemitism in all of its forms – in accordance with federal law.”

Her statements are directed at the prevalence of college students demonstrating and, at times, defacing college property in support of Palestine and, in the most extreme cases, in support of the terrorist group Hamas that attacked Israel earlier this month.

But we’ve heard this sort of threat before, and the irony is it was Republicans like Nikki Haley who fought against it.

Free speech unless it’s hateful

Students at George Washington University projected the following phrases onto campus buildings:

“Glory to our martyrs”

“Divestment from Zionist genocide now”

“Free Palestine from the river to the sea”

In response, another GOP presidential contender, Senator Tim Scott, said:

“If this was done by a foreign national, deport them. If the college coddles them, revoke their taxpayer funding.”

But it was just two years ago that Senator Scott co-sponsored a Senate resolution that required colleges to:

“…facilitate and recommit themselves to protecting the free and open exchange of ideas.”

The Senator had added at the time:

“Restrictive speech codes are inherently at odds with the freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment.”

Senator Scott was right in 2021 when he spoke out against colleges stifling conservative voices opposed to the Black Lives Matter movement, critical race theory, and gender ideology—however, those on the more extreme left political spectrum deemed such activities hateful and downright harmful, and sought to have them banned.

RELATED: 700 Hollywood Stars Sign Open Letter In Support Of Israel

Remember Title IX

The Biden administration has tried to push a rule requiring schools that accept federal funding to interpret Title IX protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Title IX was originally meant to specifically allow for the protection of women in education and sports. 

This new interpretation would force colleges to include someone’s sexuality and personal proclivities on gender identity. Essentially, if a college didn’t allow males to participate in women’s sports, stay in female-only housing, change in women’s locker rooms, and use women’s bathrooms, they could lose federal funding. 

Heritage Foundation legal expert Sarah Perry explained the obvious violation of the First Amendment in this case:

“…it will not only require the adherence to these beliefs. It will force speech. It will compel speech in violation of the First Amendment…”

RELATED: Billionaire Cuts Off Donations To Columbia University Because College Kids Have ‘S*** For Brains’

Sound familiar? It should; it’s what Nikki Haley is proposing to do for colleges that don’t crack down hard enough on students who speak out against Israel, including those who are critical of a dedicated State of Israel in the Middle East. And yes, including those who proclaim, probably in total ignorance, the destruction of the Israeli state.

They are the same in these two scenarios. Just because one instance is less palatable than the other doesn’t make it any less wrong and anti-American.

The return of black listing

Nikki Haley wrote:

“College campuses are allowed to have free speech, but they are not free to spread hate that supports terrorism.”

Yes, actually, they are. “Hate” is not a crime, and if it were, we’d have to lock ourselves up. In most jurisdictions, inciting violence is already prohibited.

College campuses are allowed to have free speech, period. Anytime we start adding caveats to the allowance of free speech, we start our descent into the destruction of the principles of America, the same principles that make us exceptional. 

The fact that there is a serious consideration for creating black lists for corporations to utilize so they don’t ‘inadvertently’ hire a graduate who participated in anti-Israel sentiment should send shivers down the spines of any freedom-loving American. Who do you think runs those corporations? Conservatives?

Instead of calling for black lists, CEOs should require their human resources and hiring divisions to do a modicum of research on potential new hires.

Companies have a right not to hire people based on their poor college life decisions; they don’t have a right to be lazy about their hiring practices by demanding black lists from universities.

Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy said of these black lists:

“It wasn’t great when people wearing Trump hats were fired from work. It wasn’t great when college graduates couldn’t get hired unless they signed oppressive ‘DEI’ pledges. And it’s not great now if companies refuse to hire kids who were part of student groups that once adopted the wrong view on Israel.”

No doubt Ms. Haley will jump on Mr. Ramaswamy’s stance leading up to the next debate, which brings me to the decision voters must consider.

RELATED: Only One Republican Votes Against Resolution Backing Israel, Won’t Condone ‘Open-Ended Promise Of Military Support’

America or Israel First?

Just as criticisms of support for Ukraine saw Americans labeled “Putin sympathizers,” now Americans who criticize support for Israel and their existential fight marks Americans as “antisemites.” What happened to the Ukrainians during the Russian invasion was abhorrent and is still heartbreaking.

The atrocities committed by Hamas on Israeli babies, children, women, and men rightly conjure memories of the Nazi concentration camps. The college students praising Hamas are ignorant fools and a product of our education system and our general cultural and societal decline.

A young 18 – 21-year-old doesn’t arrive on campus and magically get brainwashed into believing killing babies is acceptable; that sort of stupidity and soul rot starts long before college. But if we elect leaders who would rather destroy what makes us American in a misguided attempt to protect Israel – what exactly are we fighting for? 

Satirist P.J. O’Rourke once said:

“My freedom of speech stimulates your freedom to tell me I’m wrong.”

Strangling the speech of those who believe things we find despicable and evil doesn’t solve the problem. One does not change the hearts and minds of the lost by silencing their voices.

More speech is always the answer, not less. Because in silence and darkness hate grows, only in light and open discourse does it ever weaken.

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USAF Retired, Bronze Star recipient, outspoken veteran advocate. Hot mess mom to two monsters and wife to equal parts... More about Kathleen J. Anderson

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