Section: Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editors

To the Editors:

Having served as faculty advisor to MESA (Middle Eastern Students Association) for many years, please allow me to defend the students of that organization, as well as the members of Students for Justice in Palestine (KSJP), from the accusation made in Adam Rubenstein’s recent op-ed (“SJP brings extremism to campus,” Nov. 3) that they are responsible for bringing hatred and extremism to our campus because they co-sponsored a recent appearance by Palestinian-American poet Remi Kanazi. The article accuses KSJP of condoning extremism and “Jew hatred” and MESA of aiding them in its goals. That accusation is ugly, untrue and dangerously inflammatory. In the years I have observed KSJP on this campus, I have seen them call for an end to the Israeli occupation and for the creation of a democratic Israeli-Palestinian state that would protect the rights of all its citizens equally, regardless of religion or ethnicity. Such a position is neither extreme nor anti-Semitic. I have never heard any member of either group, or any speaker they have brought to campus, call for the ethnic cleansing of Jews from Israel-Palestine. Mr. Kanazi condemned that position in his recent appearance. So did Professor Steven Salaita when he came to Kenyon last year. Criticism of Israeli policy and support for Palestinian rights, even when it includes calls for non-violent actions including targeted boycotts and sanctions, is neither anti-Semitic nor extremist. And condemning students who make such arguments as hate mongers is inaccurate and unfair.


Vernon James Schubel

Professor of Religious Studies


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