Pennsylvania Governor Condemns Antisemitism and University President’s Remarks in Visit to Jewish-Owned Restaurant

7 December 2023

Gov. Josh Shapiro denounces antisemitic protest and criticizes University of Pennsylvania president’s response to calls for genocide during a hearing on antisemitism.

Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro visited a Jewish-owned restaurant in Philadelphia following a pro-Palestinian protest that he labeled as a “blatant act of antisemitism.” During his visit, the governor expressed his support for the restaurant and called on the community to stand against hate and antisemitism. Additionally, he criticized University of Pennsylvania president Liz Magill for her response to questions about calls for genocide against Jewish people during a congressional hearing on antisemitism.

Pro-Palestinian Protest and Governor’s Response

Over the weekend, Goldie, a Jewish-owned restaurant in Philadelphia, became the target of a pro-Palestinian protest. Protesters demanded a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas War and chanted slogans accusing the restaurant of genocide. Governor Shapiro condemned the protest as antisemitic and expressed his solidarity with the restaurant owner. He emphasized that while protesting is a right that should be protected, it is unfair to hold a Jewish-owned business responsible for the actions of the Israeli government.

Condemnation of Antisemitism and Boycott Calls

Governor Shapiro strongly denounced the antisemitic actions and called for unity against hate. He likened the boycott calls against Jewish-owned businesses to actions during the Nazi regime, stating that there is no place for such bigotry in Philadelphia or anywhere in Pennsylvania. Shapiro emphasized the need to protect the rights of all individuals, regardless of their religious or ethnic background.

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Criticism of University President’s Remarks

During a congressional hearing on antisemitism, University of Pennsylvania president Liz Magill faced criticism for her response to questions about calls for the genocide of Jewish people. When asked if such calls violated the school’s code of conduct, Magill failed to provide a clear answer. Governor Shapiro condemned her remarks as a “failure of leadership” and called on the university’s board of directors to assess whether Magill’s comments align with the institution’s values.

Lack of Action and Failed Leadership

Governor Shapiro expressed his disappointment with the University of Pennsylvania’s lack of action following the Palestine Writes Literature Festival held on campus. He stated that he had been in contact with the university’s leadership to address the concerns raised by the festival, but no concrete action had been taken. Shapiro emphasized the need for all students to feel safe on campus and called on the university to demonstrate strong leadership in addressing antisemitism.

Conclusion: Governor Josh Shapiro’s visit to the Jewish-owned restaurant in Philadelphia served as a powerful statement against antisemitism and hate. His condemnation of the pro-Palestinian protest and criticism of University of Pennsylvania president Liz Magill’s response to calls for genocide highlight the importance of addressing and combating antisemitism in all forms. The governor’s call for unity and action against hate serves as a reminder that communities must come together to stand against bigotry and ensure the safety and well-being of all individuals.

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