Natan Sharansky warned that elite American universities are driving an increase in anti-Semitism and cultural division by spreading "neo-Marxist philosophy in the heart of the free world."
Sharansky, an Israeli human rights activist who spent years in a Soviet gulag, said schools such as Harvard and Yale have become bastions of support for terrorism—a big difference from World War II, when the vast majority of the Western world opposed the Nazi regime.
"All the world was against the Nazi regime, and nobody was sorry with [it] being destroyed," said Sharansky during a discussion with the Jewish Institute for National Security of America on Wednesday. "Today, the legitimacy for the regimes like Hamas is coming from Oxford, from Harvard, from Yale, from Penn, from all these centers."
"This neo-Marxist philosophy in the heart of the free world, that's why this division between the free world and not-free world is not so clear," he said.
Sharansky's comments come as universities have faced backlash over their tepid responses to Hamas's Oct. 7 terrorist attacks and as many student groups defended the mass slaughter.
Sharansky slammed the colleges for responding with "cheers" to the "most awful, unbelievable pogrom in modern history."
"These are enablers, those who give [terrorists] legitimacy. And that's [the] intellectuals of the free world," he said.
Sharansky said the "Critical Theories" taught at universities "divide the world into the oppressed and oppressors" and compared them to the Marxist-Leninist politics that he and his peers were taught growing up in the Soviet Union. He warned that the "Critical Theories" pit "all the white against black, all the men against women, all the straight against gays, all the Israelis against Palestinians."
"When it becomes the base for social activity, for political activity, it's very dangerous," he said, noting that this was how the Soviet Union "killed tens of millions of people."
Sharansky said that to protect the future of the free world, the West has to "stick to the philosophy of the free world," particularly the ideas of equality and freedom of speech.
The former Soviet dissident will help lead a mass "March for Israel" in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 14.