Section: Opinion

KSJP does not promote extremism

To the Kenyon Community:

We, the undersigned organizations, stand in solidarity with Kenyon Students for Justice in Palestine. We are writing in a response to an opinion article published in the Collegian on Nov. 3 by Adam Rubenstein, entitled “SJP brings extremism to campus.” We strongly condemn this article for its deliberate and accusatory targeting of particular Kenyon students and organizations.

The op-ed refers to an anonymous member of KSJP who compares Zionism to Nazism and declares this anti-Semitic. The article’s failure to provide proof for this statement with a quote or identification of this student implicates the entire organization with a weighty title. Likewise, KSJP and its members do not “[condone] codified Jew-hatred” in any of their statements, speakers, artists or presentations. This statement is incendiary and inflammatory.

The opinion piece targets specific student organizations in its argument, saying that KSJP and the Middle East Students Association (MESA) work toward “extremist goals.” This use of the word “extremist” carries strong implications and contributes to the hostile tone of the opinion piece. Furthermore, not only is this accusation blatantly inaccurate, it ignores that other organizations, including the Black Student Union, sponsored this event.

The op-ed states that KSJP is part of a “well-financed campaign to bring hatred to our campus.” However, as a recognized student organization, KSJP only receives funding from Kenyon. This would imply that Kenyon, as the financer, is responsible for funding extremism. We believe this sentiment paints the College poorly and inaccurately. Furthermore, it shows the dangers of mischaracterizing legitimately funded student organizations.

We, as organizations, stand with KSJP and concur that they have a space on this campus for nonviolent political protest movements (such as boycotts). Regardless of our political beliefs, we support KSJP’s right to actively advocate their causes at Kenyon. We support their undeniable right to contribute to political dialogue. We support their right to sponsor events and bring visitors to campus as they see fit. We support their right to feel safe and supported in participation as activists by all members of this campus community.

We are disheartened by the Collegian’s passive role in the publishing of this article. Regardless of the intent behind this op-ed, students on this campus have been implicated in violent movements that in no way represent the missions or actions of the students and organizations targeted by the writer of this opinion piece.

This piece was transcribed  by Emma Conover-Crockett ’17, a history and Asian studies major from Beloit, Wis., and co-authored by members of Adelante, African Students Association, Black Student Union, Council for Diversity and Social Justice Executive Board, Environmental Campus Organization/DivestKenyon, Indigenous Nations at Kenyon, International Society at Kenyon, Men of Color, Middle East Students Association, Muslim Students Association, Sisterhood, Snowden Multicultural Center and the South Asian Society.

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