Pressed To Address Anti-Semitic Sign Displayed at Campus Rally, Northwestern Law Dean Instead Denounces 'Doxing'

Hari Osofsky in email to students suggests those who film campus protests 'convey hate'

Hari Osofsky (, protest sign
November 22, 2023

Jewish law students at Northwestern University last week asked their dean to condemn an anti-Semitic sign displayed at a campus rally. Instead, the dean sent an email to students that suggested those who film campus protesters are "convey[ing] hate" and "doxing."

During a Nov. 16 campus protest, anti-Israel students were filmed holding signs that accused Israel of genocide and said, "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free," a phrase that calls for the Jewish state's extinction. Jewish students went on to meet with Northwestern law school dean Hari Osofsky, a source told the Washington Free Beacon, urging her to issue a condemnation letter. While Osofsky did send students a Tuesday email addressing unacceptable "behavior at our Law School," that email condemned "doxing," not anti-Semitic signage.

"We need to collaborate to create a community that supports and welcomes everyone," the email said. "To do so, we must avoid expressing ourselves in ways that convey hate, denigrating others in person, on social media, and on email, and doxing."

Osofsky's email marks the latest incident of an elite American college failing to live up to its own standards on anti-Israel and anti-Semitic campus demonstrations.

Three days before the protest, on Nov. 13, Northwestern issued a statement that called on "all members of our community to use our collective voices to emphatically reject statements or banners that significant parts of our community interpret as promoting murder and genocide," including "flying flags associated with Hamas and banners with the slogan 'From the River to the Sea.'" After a student displayed such a banner, however, Osofsky declined to mention the sign, even as she pledged to support "anyone needing assistance" and build "a more welcoming and inclusive community."

At MIT, meanwhile, school officials declined to follow through on threats they made to suspend students who participated in an unauthorized campus protest. Some of those students are foreign and thus could face "visa issues" should they be suspended, the school acknowledged in a statement.

During the Nov. 16 protest, some students used signs to cover their faces and wore tape over their mouths. One attendee removed the tape to tell a student filming the protest that she and other demonstrators "do not consent" to appearing in photos or videos. Protesters then carried signs through a campus building, promoting an Israeli ceasefire, accusing Israel of genocide, and calling for the Jewish state's eradication.

"This is a textbook case of genocide," a sign held by one of the protesting students read. "Bombing kids is not self defense," said another. A third referred to deaths in Gaza as acts of martyrdom, claiming that "5" was the "most common age of martyrs in Gaza."

Osofsky, who did not return a request for comment, suggested during her meeting with Jewish students that she would either refrain from addressing the protest, issue a "vague" statement on the event, or denounce both anti-Semitic signage and doxxing, according to a source. Days later, the dean's email ignored the signage while denouncing "doxing," which anti-Israel students urged Osofsky to address, according to the source.

In addition to the signage, anti-Israel students at the protest last week appeared to violate university policy by leaving the campus location they pledged to stay in, according to a source. The demonstrators instead marched around campus, potentially obstructing students who were going to class—a violation of the school's "demonstration policy."