Letter to the Editor: Vassar Community Members’ Statement of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

The following is a letter submitted by a group of professors, and among the signatories are professors, alumni and students. The Miscellany News welcomes a variety of opinions, and articles and letters that appear in the opinions section do not necessarily reflect the views of the paper. If you would like to submit a letter to our opinions section please email misc@vassar.edu.

As members of the Vassar community and people of conscience, we denounce the ongoing attacks on Palestinians by the Israeli armed forces. We especially condemn the recent extensive bombardment and killing of over 200 people and injuring of thousands more in Gaza, an open air prison of two million inhabitants, mostly descended from refugees expelled from other parts of Palestine. This intensification of violence follows the displacement of the residents of Sheikh Jarrah and the attack on worshippers in Al-Aqsa mosque during Ramadan. We situate these flashpoints in the broader context of the Nakba, Israel’s ethnic cleansing, dispossession, containment, and expulsion of Palestinians since 1948. Tragically, all we can hope for in the current ceasefire is a return to the unacceptable status quo ante, or a slowdown in home demolitions and killings.

We affirm that the Palestinian struggle is an indigenous resistance movement confronting settler colonialism, apartheid, and ethnic cleansing, and stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people. This is not a symmetrical battle. Israel is one of the most heavily militarized states in the world and receives $3.8 billion in military aid annually from the United States. As we write, the US Congress is considering a $735 million arms sale to the Israeli regime. In the past decade alone, US aid has not only underwritten the dispossession, jailing, torture, maiming, and killing of thousands of Palestinian men, women, and children throughout the region, but also the creation of an acute humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

We agree with Human Rights Watch, the Israeli human rights organization B’tselem, and the United Nations, which have all described Israel’s systemic discrimination and violence against Palestinians as apartheid, a recognized crime against humanity. In the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza, and within Israel, Palestinians resist daily humiliation and violence from the Israeli military, settler militias, and lynch mobs. We salute their bravery and steadfastness.

We recognize that peace can only be achieved with justice in Palestine/Israel. It is not possible under conditions of military occupation, blockade, discrimination, dispossession, and the enduring direct, structural, and cultural violence inflicted upon Palestinians.

We reject what the so-called peace process has become: an instrument of continued land grabs and state violence, propagating the fiction of a “two-sided conflict” and the perpetual postponement of a just solution.

We support the Palestinian right to return, the end of the occupation, and the right of all inhabitants of Israel/Palestine to live in dignity, safety and freedom. We stand with Palestinians, their Jewish Israeli allies, and all those around the world fighting for this noble goal.

We see the movement against racism, police brutality, and mass incarceration in the United States and the Palestinian struggle against apartheid as interconnected. We agree with The Movement for Black Lives’ declaration that “The fight for Palestinian rights and dignity is integral to the fight for human rights everywhere.”

We know that educators who teach and speak about Palestine do so at great risk in a climate of censorship. We stand with the statement issued by Scholars for Palestinian Freedom. We also join our colleagues at Yale, Princeton, the Universities of Illinois Chicago and Urbana-Champaign, Universities of California Santa Cruz, Berkeley, and Davis, Harvard, CUNY, and Gender Studies Departments around the country to express our solidarity with Palestinians.

All members of the Vassar community are invited to sign here. Below is a current list as of June 8, 2021.

In solidarity,

Ismail Rashid, History
Joshua Schreier, History and Jewish Studies
Maria Hantzopoulos, Education
Katherine Hite, Political Science
Diane Harriford, Sociology
Eva Woods Peiró, Hispanic Studies
Patricia-Pia Célérier, French and Francophone Studies
Joseph Nevins, Geography
Sam Okoth Opondo, Political Science and Africana Studies
Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert, Hispanic Studies
Hiram Perez, Women, Feminist, and Queer Studies
Mario Cesareo, Hispanic Studies
Claire Sagan, Political Science
Erin McCloskey, Education
George Ciccariello-Maher, Political Science
Kirsten Wesselhoeft, Religion
David Tavárez, Anthropology and LALS
Mita Choudhury, History
Taneisha Means, Political Science
Kimberly Williams-Brown, Education
Vinay Swamy, French and Francophone Studies
Susan Hiner, French and Francophone Studies
Paulina Bren, International Studies
Barbara Olsen, Greek and Roman Studies
Kirsten Menking, Earth Science
John Andrews, Sociology
Pinar Batur, Sociology
Giovanna Borradori, Media Studies
Candice Lowe Swift, Anthropology, Africana Studies, International Studies 
Lydia Murdoch, History
Catherine Tan, Sociology
Amitava Kumar, English
Elena Krell, Women’s Studies
Annie Brancky, French and Francophone Studies
Leonard Nevarez, Sociology 
Gabrielle Cody, Drama
Wendy Graham, English
Sophia Siddique Harvey, Film
Jodi Schwarz, Biology
Seungsook Moon, Sociology, Asian Studies Program 
Eréndira Rueda, Sociology
Mia Mask, Film
Jonathon Kahn, Religion
Tom Ellman, Computer Science
Miriam J Cohen, History
Lisa Collins, Art
Isatu Rashid-Mfon, Gordon Commons
Tim Koechlin, International Studies
Molly Nesbit, Art
Marcela Romero Rivera, Hispanic Studies
Ashley Fent, Geography
Maria Hoehn, History
Peipei Qiu, Chinese and Japanese Studies
Nancy Bisaha, History, Medieval and Renaissance Studies
Jasmine Syedullah, Africana Studies
Shona Tucker, Drama
Connie Ndonye, SILP
Denise A. Walen, Drama 
Kathleen M Susman, Biology, Neuroscience and Behavior 
Curtis Dozier, Greek and Roman Studies
Eve D’Ambra, Art
Ah-Young Song, Education 
Nicholas Barone ’19, PhD student in History, Princeton University
Alexis Fernandez, ’18
Jonathan Alperstein, ’18, Graduate student in Anthropology, Dartmouth College 
Abby Zorn, ’10
Isabel Schneck, ’19
Ephraim Cephas ‘19
Sheharyar Imran, ’17 PhD student in Political Science, Johns Hopkins University 
Olivia Moseley, ’04
Noor Mir, ’12
Leena*
Raphe Gilliam, ’19
Sally Gaston, ‘19
Lily Berman, ’19
Maya Smorodinsky, ’05
Chrissy Griesmer, ’19
Jen Estruth, ’07
Jordan Peye, ’18
Landry Levine, ‘17 
Kota Lee *19
Ayela Faruqui, ’19 
Elizabeth Fetterolf, ’17 
Joshua Espada ‘18 
Sharika Hasan, ’19 
Michael Fracentese, ’16
 Imrul Islam, ’17
Ali Sadek, ’21
Samuel Sylvester, ’19 
Melissa S Turoff, ’07 
Eliza Hardy Jones ‘02 
Amy Miller, ’20 
Kimberly Nguyễn ’19 
Erin James ’07
Ethan Cohen ’16
Sarah Shanley Hope, ‘01 
Abrianna Harris, ‘21 
Maximilian Cordeiro, ’16
 M. Gabriela Espín, ’11 
Sabrina Castillo, ’18 
Isabel Bielat ‘20
Cecil Carey, ’17
Wyatt Carey, ’21 
Katerina Pavlidis, ‘20, Graduate Student in World Literatures, Oxford University 
Hollace Francy ’15
Itamar Ben-Porath, 21
Wanda Noonan, 16 
Jan Bindas-Tenney, 02
Erika Nagasaki ’17
Caitlin Munchick, ’17
Grace Sparapani, ’16
Shreya Suresh, 21
Ananya Suresh, 21
Rachel McCormick ’06
Naomi Dann, ’14
Rebecca Katz, ’10
Elena Schultz, ’19
Madeleine Cavanagh, ’18, JD Candidate at Harvard Law School
Ezra Mead, ’21 
Sofía Gutiérrez, ’18 
Sophia Steinert-Evoy, ’17 
Sarah Barash, ’20
Sam Anderson ’09 
Sophia Chambers, ‘10
Mike Alberti, ’09 
Alexander Steele, ’11 
Kyle Chea,‘10
Eva Grenier, ’09
Katharine Rooney, ’19
Mike Godbe, ’09
Ivanna Guerra ‘20
Matthew Brill-Carlat ’19
Reilly A Hay, ’18
Mohtad Allawala
Clare Neal, ‘17
Abdulai Koedoyoma
Karen Gregory ’97
Hayley Craig, ’22
Noah Byck Mlyn, ’16 (transferred) 
Brielle Quarles, ’22
Sawer Bush, ’22
Alex van Biema, ’22
Jake Ferguson, ’20
Spencer D McGrath, ’21
Sarah Kraemer, 07
Charmaine Chua, ‘08, UC Santa Barbara
 Arianna Schlegel, ’03
Tamika Whitenack, 21
Leon Moore, ’24 
Lena Stevens ‘21
Ella Xiao, ’21 
Gwendolyn Collaço, ’11 
Emily Frank, ’21 
Hannah Hildebolt, ’21 
Maret Gable, ’18 
Janet Song ‘23
Liza Garrity ’17
Vassar Asian American Working Group (VASAM) 
Athena Davis ’20
Weintana Leah Abraha, ’11
Nicky Zarchen, ’17
Yasmine Seghir ’18
Tatiana Santiago, ’19
Christopher Unruh, ’23
Pia Tate,
Melissa Hoffmann ‘21
Mara Russell, ’22
Phoebe Davin ‘23
Thomas Poole ‘14
Christian Phelps ‘16
Ana Castillo James, ’16
Mojan Farid, ’20 
Ruth Sawyer, ’10
Sarah Kopp, ’22
Evelyn Frick, ’19
Sophie Blumenstock, ’19 
Oona Maloney, ’22 
Jocelyn Rendon, ’22 
Brett Rabine, ’21 
Caroline Knowles, ’22 
Joseph Sullivan, ’12 
Deirdre May, ‘12 
Sasha Stadler, ’12
 Maeve Smith, ’24 
Sabrina Surgil, 21 
Dan Boscov-Ellen, ’08 
Polly Cancro, ‘08 
Benjamin Krakow, ’08 
Jake Mier, ’22 
Hannah Segrave, ’08
Nicole Massad, ’14
Eli Wassertzug ‘22
Joe Mangan, ’23
Eben Levey ‘08, PhD Candidate, University of Maryland, College Park
Zoë Zahariadis, ’21 
Matthew Kolbert, ’17
Razvan Stanescu, ’16
Silvana Rueda, ’10
Gay Fishbein, ’79
Sarah Haley, ’01
Mariesa Samba ’13
Tali Shapiro, ’19
Alexandria J Smalls 18′ 
Delphine Douglas, ’18
Sessi Kuwabara Blanchard, ‘18 
Gloriana Macagnone, ’18 
Miranda Amey, ’20 
Anya Bernstein, ’20 
Lennon Jones, ’16 
Alexia Garcia, ‘18 
Atefeh Karabi, ’21 
Andrew Joung, ’16
Pedal Miranda, ’18 
Nathaniel Wulff, ’15 
Gloriana Macagnone, ’18
Hallie Ayres, ’18 
Sara Goldberg, ‘18 
Henry Rosen, ’17 
Sophie Asakura, ’16
Sessi Kuwabara Blanchard ‘18 
Jasmin *, ’21
Lennon Jones, ’16
Karina Norton, ’20
Sequoia Hatch, ’20
Maxwell *, ’22
Yold Delius, ‘19
Molly Dolman, ’20
Cal Quinn-Ward, ’22
Conor Allerton, ‘18
Aran Montare Savory, ’16 

63 Comments

  1. While faculty members and students do not lose their rights for free expression by taking a job at Vassar or enrolling for a course of study, at the same time they do not have the right to appropriate the College name and therefore imply representation of the academic and graduate community.
    This group is not the Vassar Community. It is a particular partisan political entity. They should not use the name Vassar which wrongly appropriates the college as an implied endorsement of their opinions.

  2. This is so full of falsehoods it’s hard to know where to begin. There were no attacks on worshippers at Al Aqsa. There were attacks on Jewish worshippers at the Western Wall by Arab youths, which the Israeli police had to do something about before they killed or maimed someone with their rocks and Molotov cocktails. I could go on.

    Anyhow, I guess being truthful or even seeking the truth isn’t important to the Vassar Community anymore. There’s also no remorse for putting out this inflammatory piece of propaganda while Jews are being attacked in our streets. I assume that Elizabeth Bradley and the rest of the administration support this letter, or it wouldn’t say that it’s from the community.

    • Thank your letter. You have succinctly and sadly described the situation and tolerance of anti-Semitism at Israel once again.

  3. The only entity that should have the authority to speak for the College, is the College. I do not believe an ad hoc group expressing a seemingly biased opinion and assertions has the right to speak for the College. They can speak for themselves. I disagree with them. Hamas controls Gaza and irrespective of how you feel about issues in East Jerusalem or at Al-Aqsa that does not justify firing 4,000 missiles at Israel nor preclude Israel from responding where Hamas is embedded amongst every day Palestinians. Human shields is the worst possible crime

  4. This statement by “the Vassar community ” hardly represents the entire community. Instead, it represents those who are uninformed and biased against Israel.
    Why is Israel blamed for defending itself against 4000 rockets deliberately aimed at Israeli civilians?
    The inflammatory use of patently false claims of ethnic cleansing, apartheid, a d lynch mobs demonstrates the lack of knowledge by the signatories. Israel has offered peace agreements 5 times, which the Palestinian leadership has rejected.
    It is true that Palestinians are suffering, but it is due to the leaders that they have elected.
    I am ashamed to call Vassar my alma mater, given this level of ignorance and vitriol against Israel.

  5. These signatories circa 1944: “As members of the Vassar community and people of conscience, we denounce the ongoing attacks on Germans by the Royal Air Force. We especially condemn the recent extensive bombardment of German cities…” all while Nazi cruise and ballistic missiles (V1 and V2 respectively) were raining on English cities. The British however had far more warning time than the Israelis (who have as little as 30 seconds) to reach their bomb shelters.

    I wonder what these Vassar people would say if Gaza were to switch places with Canada and begin to fire thousands of missiles into New York City, Buffalo, Albany, and Poughkeepsie. I am confident that, if that happened, the sources of the missiles would be destroyed as quickly as U.S. bombers could reach them regardless of who was President, and that most (99%) Americans would approve of that as a reasonable and necessary act of self-defense.

    “We situate these flashpoints in the broader context of the Nakba, Israel’s ethnic cleansing, dispossession, containment, and expulsion of Palestinians since 1948.” Please see what the Anti-Defamation League has to say about “Nakba,” and note that “since 1948” is when Israel was created inside the tiny borders defined for it by the United Nations, and 19 years before the terrorists’ second attempt to commit genocide of the Jews (the first was in 1948) compelled Israel to occupy Gaza, Judea, and Samaria. Use of “1948” suggests to me quite frankly that these people are denying Israel’s right to exist as opposed to protesting any so-called “occupation.”

    “We support the Palestinian right to return…” The Jewish Virtual Library says “The “Right of Return” – A Plot to Destroy the Jewish State” and adds, “Prior to Israel’s War of Independence in 1948, the Jews of Palestine urged Arab inhabitants to remain in the area and become part of the nascent state. Despite these pleas, however, the majority of Arabs fled, many heeding their own leaders’ promises that they could return after the Jews were driven into the sea.” So it was actually the would-be perpetrators of genocide in 1948, and not the Jews, who caused the Palestinians to leave their homes.

    I’ll close by saying that, if this letter is actually representative of Vassar’s academic community, SUNY tuition is a lot cheaper.

  6. The conspicuous absence of any reference in the letter to the thousands of rockets fired at Israeli civilians in the recent conflagration is both heartless and mendacious. Israel was defending its citizens from this rain of terror. The vast majority of dead in Gaza were Hamas militants. Moreover, a significant number of the rockets aimed from Gaza landed in Gaza and killed civilians. The terrorist group also purposefully fires from civilian areas in a perverse nihilism for strategic purposes. That said, the extraordinary efforts that Israel took to avoid civilian casualties is unprecedented in human history.
    I implore the Vassar community to simply look at the Hamas Covenant, Chapter 7, which contains an explicit call for genocide of the Jews (not Israelis, as if that matters). In the United States Constitution, we have the Bill of Rights. Hamas has kill the Jew behind rocks and trees.
    I trust that many of the signatories would not have so blithely condemned the Jewish State if they actually knew what was happening.

    • Eric raises an excellent point. Not only did Hamas fire rockets at Israeli civilians, the terrorists did not even care whether some rockets landed on other Palestinians.

      Talk show host Ben Shapiro played a recording of an IDF soldier’s telephone call to a father in Gaza to warn him that, as his building contained terrorists and would soon be bombed, he should evacuate with his family. I think Israel is the only country on earth to tell the other side where it plans to attack even though the terrorists also could use this information to escape. In any event, the father replied that he intended to stay there with his child to be killed so they could become martyrs to the Cause.

      In addition, any civilian casualties caused by Israel while firing on terrorists are not only Hamas’ responsibility but also justifiable homicide. This does not mean the civilians did anything to deserve to be killed or harmed, it is justifiable to terminate an immediate threat to Israeli civilians. Remember that, when terrorists similar to Hamas hijacked U.S. passenger planes almost 20 years ago, President Bush ordered the Air Force to shoot them down (thus killing the innocent flight crews and passengers along with the terrorists) to prevent their use as weapons. Two F-16 pilots whose jets were unarmed agreed to crash their planes into one of the airliners for that purpose even though they knew they would probably be killed themselves. None of the fighter planes had a chance to do this but my understanding is that this was the order. See “F-16 pilot was ready to give her life on Sept. 11” at the Washington Post. ““We wouldn’t be shooting it down. We’d be ramming the aircraft,” Penney recalls of her charge that day. “I would essentially be a kamikaze pilot.””

      So, if two of our pilots were willing to perform an almost-certain kamikaze mission to destroy an aircraft full of people only four or five of whom were terrorists (to prevent the plane from being used as a weapon), then Israel can destroy any Hamas target it wants as far as I am concerned for the same reason.

      Hamas is also guilty of felony murder. Suppose for example that criminal X opens fire on police officer Y who returns fire, only to have Z step into his line of fire to be killed instead of X. A murder has indeed been committed, but not by the cop; X has caused a death while committing a felony even though he did not do the actual killing. Hamas is therefore guilty of murdering all the civilians involved, not just in Israel but also in Gaza.

  7. While I am waiting for my response to be approved, I have shared this post with organizations such as the ADL due to perceived anti-Semitism based on language like “Nakba” and “since 1948” as denying Israel’s right to exist as opposed to arguing over territory occupied by Israel in 1967.

  8. I’m a VC graduate who supports Israel’s right to exist in peace and for college journalism to be balanced and unbiased. If the Miscellany News is going to print a “Letter to the Editor” signed by members of the “Vassar community” condemning Israel’s actions, it should and must (in my opinion) print a letter stating opposing viewpoints. It saddens me that Vassar appears to continue in the direction of anti-semitism which was already underway when my son graduated in 2013. I prefer to remember the mid-’70s, when I was a student and the exchange of opposing view points was treated with respect–rather than intimidation–and everyone had an equal right to his or her individual opinion.

  9. As an Alumnus of VC (Class of ’80) I read over the Pro-Palestinian statement signed by members of the VC community. I’d like to share with the VC community some observations.

    First of all, I was surprised at just how much the statement is a virtual rote regurgitation of the same old tired Palestinian talking points. Really, is this the best they can come up with?

    1) “We especially condemn the recent extensive bombardment and killing of over 200 people and injuring of thousands more in Gaza…” – and, of course, there is no mention whatsoever of the provocation by Hamas, i.e. the indiscriminate launching of 4,000 rockets into Israel, terrorizing a civilian population, as if Israel has not the right, indeed the duty to protect its citizens from such barbaric attacks.

    2) “…an open air prison of two million inhabitants, mostly descended from refugees expelled from other parts of Palestine.” The usual propaganda – if it’s an ‘open-air prison’, the Palestinians have only Hamas to blame for that. It could become an oasis of peace, if their leadership chose peace over war. We all know it is not so much an open air prison, as an open air military installation, with civilians used as shields for their military, instead of vice-versa.

    3) “This intensification of violence follows the displacement of the residents of Sheikh Jarrah and the attack on worshippers in Al-Aqsa mosque during Ramadan. ” The Sheikh Jarrah issue is a legitimate legal issue over property rights. It was used as a provocation to instigate the violence at the Haram al-Sharif. Typical twisting of facts to fit a false narrative.

    4) “We situate these flashpoints in the broader context of the Nakba, Israel’s ethnic cleansing, dispossession, containment, and expulsion of Palestinians since 1948.” This is just more flagrant Palestinian propaganda. Witness the population of Israeli Arabs with equal rights, representation in the Knesset, on the courts, in all manners of professions in Israel, including the police and army. The accusation of ethnic cleansing is sheer mendacity, along the lines of Jasbir Puar’s notorious accusation of organ harvesting she made in VC’s Green Room, where nary an eyelash was batted at such an outlandish idea, really beyond the pale (reminiscent of George Orwell’s saying that some ideas are so stupid, that only an intellectual would believe them).

    5) “We affirm that the Palestinian struggle is an indigenous resistance movement confronting settler colonialism, apartheid, and ethnic cleansing, and stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people.” This repeats the lie of settler colonialism, which is based on the poorly written work of sloppy scholarship “Orientalism” by Edward Said (SEE Martin Gilbert’s devastating critique – https://www.nybooks.com/articles/1982/08/12/orientalism-an-exchange/). This puerile piece of propaganda wholly ignores the indigenous nature of the Jewish nation in the land of Israel – but why let historical facts get in the way of your partisan revisionism?

    6) “In the past decade alone, US aid has not only underwritten the dispossession, jailing, torture, maiming, and killing of thousands of Palestinian men, women, and children throughout the region, but also the creation of an acute humanitarian crisis in Gaza.” Not to mention the thousands of Israeli lives lost to terrorist actions…never mind that this is a wholly inaccurate representation of the Arab-Israeli conflict. If there are lives lost on both sides, then blame must be apportioned to the aggressor who consistently rejects peaceful coexistence in favor of a genocidal program to make Israel ‘Judenrein’, from the river to the sea, as it were (and which is the stated goal of the BDS movement, btw).

    7) The apartheid libel – this is a real old one, and has been completely discredited, despite the regular trotting out of this canard by Israel’s critics – “We agree with Human Rights Watch, the Israeli human rights organization B’tselem, and the United Nations, which have all described Israel’s systemic discrimination and violence against Palestinians as apartheid, a recognized crime against humanity…” Israel, of course, in no way, shape or form has race laws as per the apartheid regime of South Africa. Richard Goldstone’s 2011 op-ed in the NY Times does as good a job as any as giving the lie to this brazen bit of agitprop: https://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/01/opinion/israel-and-the-apartheid-slander.html?pagewanted=print

    8) “We recognize that peace can only be achieved with justice in Palestine/Israel. It is not possible under conditions of military occupation, blockade, discrimination, dispossession, and the enduring direct, structural, and cultural violence inflicted upon Palestinians…’ This statement willfully ignores the undisputed fact that Israel has offered a just and more than fair peace deal on numerous occasions, only to be rejected each time by the Palestinians. As Abba Eban said, the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. Even Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia (calling it ‘a crime against the Palestinians’) fully placed the blame on the failure of the Camp David Clinton/Barak peace accord of 2000 on Yasir Arafat who, instead of negotiating in good faith for peace and the establishment of a Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace and security with Israel, launched his infamous intifada.

    It’s been said many times, and is still true: If today the Arabs put down their arms, tomorrow there would be peace. If today Israel put down its arms, tomorrow there would be no Israel.

    9) “We see the movement against racism, police brutality, and mass incarceration in the United States and the Palestinian struggle against apartheid as interconnected. We agree with The Movement for Black Lives’ declaration that “The fight for Palestinian rights and dignity is integral to the fight for human rights everywhere.””. The so-called intersectionality between oppressed groups lies in the falsehood of ‘settler-colonialism’, which has been addressed above. If people in this country interpret our history as founded in the sin of slavery, a la ‘1619 project’, that is their prerogative, but the ‘1619’ project, much like Edward Said’s “Orientalism’, has been shown by scholars of history to be filled with inaccuracies and sloppy scholarship – see Jason Riley’s op-ed in the WSJ to that effect: https://www.wsj.com/articles/correcting-1619s-falsehoods-about-the-american-founding-11621981288?mod=opinion_major_pos8

    10) “We know that educators who teach and speak about Palestine do so at great risk in a climate of censorship…” This is quite laughable, when it is common knowledge that the PC censorship on campus, in hi-tech social media and in the mainstream media is wholly a product of the progressive left, the child of Herbert Marcuse’s Frankfurt School NeoMarxist 1968 doctrine of ‘repressive tolerance’, in essence giving intellectual carte blanche to censorship of alternative narratives, of which this bit of leftist propaganda is part and parcel.

    The Arab-Israeli conflict is complex, and simplistic one-sided polemics do little to advance understanding and resolution. The solution, however, is simple: accept peace, accept the right of two peoples to live in peace and security side by side, and all will be resolved.in the blink of an eye. May it happen in our time.

    Salve,
    Elliott J. Vizel
    Class of ’80

  10. No mention of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Iran or 4500 rockets fired indiscriminately at civilian areas.

    Got it. At least you are not trying to pretend you are fair minded.

  11. Why no mention of the thousands of rockets from Gaza Hamas has rained down on the Israeli population? Why no mention that Israel gives evacuation warnings when they plan to strike buildings harboring Hamas fighters alongside civilian populations in an attempt to spare the civilian casualties. Have any of these signatories bothered to check which countries make up the UN groups who are constantly condemning Israel? It’s definitely a list of “who lives in glass houses should not throw stones”. Fortunately, Israel has an efficient DEFENSE system or it would have been wiped from the earth long ago.

  12. While I think the article is filled with factual inaccuracies, I am going to leave aside the factual inaccuracies in the article and focus instead on what those involved seem really to be advocating.

    According to the professors who likely wrote the article, the Palestinian Arabs are victims of settler colonialism – i.e., due to the migration of Jews as refugees to what is now Israel. Not considered by these “professors” and their co-signatories is that their position nullifies the most basic (and likely history’s very first) human right, namely, the right of oppressed people to find refuge where that refuge is made available.

    For Jews in particular (and not only Jews), the ability to find refuge where it is made available has been a lifeline for more than two millennia. Moreover, the land where Israel is now situated was specifically assigned as a place of refuge for oppressed Jews both by the then rulers of that land (i.e., the UK) and by International law (i.e., the Palestine Mandate). And, as the anti-Jewish pogroms of the late 19th Century and the early 20th Century, the Nazi extermination campaign in WWII and the oppression of Soviet Jewry all demonstrate, the vast majority of the world’s Jews have in recent times had good reason to seek refuge where it has been made available – i.e, primarily in the US and what is now Israel.

    It is certainly true that hundreds of thousands of Arabs were displaced at the time of Israel’s founding. However, displaced people can make new lives. Dead people can’t. Had the Jewish “settlers” from Europe remained in Europe, the vast majority of them would have died horrible deaths at the hands of the Nazis. Had Jews from Arab countries stayed in Arab countries after Israel was founded, they would have continued to suffer pogroms and oppression and many of them, as occurred just before WWII in, for example, Baghdad, would have been massacred. In the scheme of things, settler colonialism by Jews is not the only consideration relevant to the dispute. Instead, it is one sided bigotry to view the Arab Israeli dispute only through that ideological prism.

    Professors, who are supposed to understand and present all sides of disputes, should know better. Pretending that their voices represent the Vassar community is disgraceful. Pretending they are “people of conscience” is beyond disgraceful.

    No “people of conscience” would ever voice support for one state for Arabs and Jews in today’s Middle East, with its instability, seemingly endless wars and widespread oppression, racism, antisemitism and discrimination. People of conscience, whatever their views might be of Israel, would at least recognize that the concerns faced by Israel’s Jews are real and need somehow to be addressed with realistic solutions. I thus conclude that those who wrote and, perhaps, some of those who signed the letter are using vitriol directed at Jews to advance some other pet cause, basically following in the footsteps of the anti-Dreyfusards – quite an irony given the role the Dreyfus affair played in Israel’s founding.

  13. So disappointed in “the Vassar community.” No statement denouncing the attacks on AMERICAN Jews by Palestinians in the US in NY, Florida and LA. Because let’s face it, when you support a terrorist regime in Gaza you really don’t care about Justice, truth or equal rights. You care about radical politics.

  14. “Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims.”

    “The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: 0 Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!”

    These are direct quotes from the Hamas Charter. To those individuals who signed the document above, are these direct quotes of Jewish killings ok with you?

    Hamas has declared time and time again they want the destruction of Israel. (No, it is not about the settlements! Not that the settlements aren’t a burning problem.) Hamas have been, and still is, declared a terrorist organization, despite it being the “democratically” elected party in Gaza. And they would take over in the West Bank, as well, if Fatah would allow an election…which they have not in almost 2 decades.

    My heart bleeds for the Palestinian people, truly, but not Hamas. The Palestinian people have been used for the political gain of too many, for too long. Their plight is real and it saddens me and the world. But that does not make the political situation so straight forward. And not being aware of historical context and looking at strong versus weak (like Trevor Noah did) is naive. Yes, Israel is very technologically advances and very strong. But don’t we like that about countries? Doesn’t Vassar strive to educate its’ students so that they can take their knowledge and advance society, and make a stronger more capable country? Israel is a model of innovation to the world! Israel has thrived despite being attacked from day one and multiple times since, because of its forward thinking, its tenacity to survive, its capacity to compromise and rethink their situation. Peace with Jordan and Egypt would have been considered inconceivable prior to ’73, but look at them know. Business partners. Not lovey dovey partners, but cooperating and daily trying to build a new future together. And of recent additionally with other arab nations who previously wished nothing but ill for Israel. And that has benefited those nations and Israel greatly!!!! Israelis do want a partner with the Palestinians. They have offered the olive branch many times and have been rebuffed. Arafat went to his grave with millions of dollars stored away in private bank accounts and the legacy of throwing a peace deal away.

    In regards to Israeli’s recent military action. Death to any civilians is terrible. I think Israel could have done more to prevent this. They were wrong in some of their tactics. But, really folks…if Cuba decided to shoot hundreds of missiles into Miami, do you think we would care how accurate they were? Does intention not count for anything? And if the Cuban military infrastructure was situated within a city, how would YOU suggest our military handle that? Especially if you felt it was just going to happen again and again. Put yourself in Israeli’s shoes. This is a war that is ongoing. This ceasefire will only last a short time…everyone knows that. It has achieved nothing politically. Unfortunately, more death will still occur. And no surprise, Israel’s priority is to avoiding the death of its’ citizens. Yes, that is not pretty, but that is life when you are surrounding by people who follow a charter declaring YOUR death.

    I am a Jew, a Zionist and a believer in a 2 state solution. I am a believer in peace. I am a believer in hope. I do not whitewash all of Israeli policies/practices. Some of them infuriate me. I do point blame where blame should be directed. And I blame Israel at times and I greatly blame Hamas and I blame this letter to the editor as being off base.
    You have your POV and I have mine. From my perspective a 2 state solution has been offered many, many, many, times to the Palestinians. But compromise is not in the cards for their political leaders. Revenge is in the cards. Death to Jews is in the cards. Complete return to the land despite 5 million people living there is all the Palestinians hear and all that is taught. Unfortunately, Israel does not have a political peace partner. So they have to deal with the situation. And when you suspect an attack from your neighbor you act differently. And that is horrible for the Palestinian people, but also the Israeli people.
    More work needs to be done, 100%. The status quo is terrible and yes, more terrible for the Palestinian people. Regarding this letter to the editor, it simplifies a complex situation. To equate the issues of Black Lives Matter to those of the Middle East is academically juvenile. Additionally, it places blame on only one party. That mentality will accomplish nothing. We need to encourage the Palestinian people to strive for peace without their current political leaders. And you need to better understand the Israeli perspective. Sixty miles of tunnels have been created to attack Israel. (The money spent on those tunnels could have built more schools and improve the cities infrastructure by the way.). So of course, Israel is going make damn certain there are no military imports. Hamas has made it clear what they would do with advanced weaponry.
    And one final thing…regarding the letter just so you understand how it makes some of us feel…You denounce Israel for its attacks (ok, i got it), but then follow with, “We affirm the Palestinian struggle”, without once mentioning a denouncement of the hundreds of rocket attacks into civilian areas in Israel. (Sure not many were killed, but the intention was to kill many, correct.) Just saying, it seems like you are fine with Palestinians killing Jews, and that does not feel good. And is audacious to be published.

  15. The writers would, no doubt, have been happier if Israel did not have the Iron Dome that destroyed many of the thousands of missiles Hamas fired at Israel. Many more Israelis (Jews and Arabs) would have been killed, probably more than in Gaza, without the Dome! 4,000 missiles were fired and why?…because the Israeli police ,admittedly acted goonish and heavy handed in response to Arab stone throwing and slingshot ting rocks. They, the VC signatories, would have rationalized and excused more Israeli deaths as justified under their delusionary interpretation of history! We need a genuine discussion without screaming fanatics, and self righteous revisionists . Answers are possible with an honest discussion of the real history of the region and a real understanding of Hamas, Hezbollah and a genuine desire to find a solution. Not one of the signatories would survive a month under Hamas rule!~

  16. Germane to this discussion of the latest round of hostilities across the Israel-Gaza border, this op-ed by internationally renowned jurist Irwin Cotler is quite timely. Here he provides a description of the theocratic dictatorship of Hamas, its effectively terrorist regime, its stated ideology and practice of genocidal antisemitism, and how it is the true stumbling block in the path to legitimate Palestinian self-determination. For those who profess ‘intersectional’ solidarity with this regime, I suggest you may wish to rethink your political orientation in light of this geopolitical reality.

    https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/gaza-10-steps-on-the-road-not-yet-traveled/

    “Gaza: 10 steps on the road not yet traveled.

    Remove Hamas and its ilk from the picture, and Israeli-Palestinian peace is possible: two states for two peoples living side by side in peace and security.

    Each and every loss of life in Gaza and Israel is a human tragedy. If we want to prevent further tragedies in this conflict — let alone frame the basis for its resolution — then we have to go behind the oft-repeated clichés such as “cycle of violence” and false moral equivalences that cloud and corrupt understanding, to probe the real root causes of conflict, and finally travel the road not yet taken to its just resolution.
    While the deliberate and indiscriminate bombardment of Israeli civilians — underpinned by genocidal antisemitism and incitement — have been the trigger for this latest war, there is a longer and underlying proximate cause: the Hamas Terrorist War of Attrition against Israel since 2000.

    Simply put, from 2000 to 2004, Hamas suicide bombers murdered over 1,000 Israelis — wounding some 3,000 — in a horrific and sustained terrorist assault that was defeated in part by the Israeli “Operation Defensive Shield” in 2002, and in part by the building of a security barrier, which dramatically reduced penetration by Hamas suicide bombers.

    In 2005, with the Hamas terrorist onslaught defeated, Israel moved to unilaterally disengage from Gaza. Accordingly, Israel withdrew all its soldiers and citizens, uprooted all its settlements and synagogues, while leaving behind 3,000 operating greenhouses and related agricultural assets, the whole as the basis for industrial and agricultural growth and development in Gaza.

    How did Hamas respond? They destroyed the greenhouses, brutalized the Fatah Palestinian opposition, effectively instituted a theocratic dictatorship in 2007, repressed its own people, and began the launching of more than 14,000 missiles targeting Israeli civilians in subsequent acts of aggression before this latest war. In effect, then, Hamas squandered the opportunity offered by Israel to live in peace, to utilize the industrial and agricultural assets, and to engage in state-building; rather, Hamas preferred to divert resources for the building of a terrorist infrastructure that would punish its own people while threatening Israel. Hamas has continued this pernicious path with impunity, investing in missiles, “suicide drones,” terror tunnels, and other tools they have tailored to murder civilians.

    But while these unceasing terror attacks — and ongoing threats — have again forced Israel to take action in self-defense and to target the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza, this ongoing proximate trigger does not tell the whole story. Rather, it is a symptom for the root cause — the unwillingness of Hamas to recognize Israel’s existence within any boundaries. And more: the public call in the Hamas Charter — and in its repeated declarations — for the destruction of Israel and the killing of Jews wherever they may be.

    Let there be no mistake about it. Hamas is a unique — and evil — manifestation of genocidal antisemitism. These are not words that I use lightly or easily, but there are no other words to describe the toxic convergence of the advocacy by Hamas of the most horrific of crimes — genocide — anchored in the most enduring of hatreds — antisemitism – with terrorism as the instrumentality to pursue these goals.

    Simply put, genocidal antisemitism is the root cause and has fueled the Hamas terrorist assaults targeting Israeli civilians.

    Accordingly, a comprehensive and enduring ceasefire is urgently needed, one that will put an end to Hamas Terror — not only against Israelis — but be also protective of Palestinians, who are held as hostages and human shields by Hamas to protect terrorist infrastructure.

    Such a ceasefire will hopefully be the initial basis towards an Israeli-Palestinian peace, anchored in two states for two peoples living side by side in peace and security. This will require traveling on the road not yet taken: an agreed upon, and guaranteed, set of international, legal, diplomatic, political, security, humanitarian, and economic undertakings and initiatives as follows:

    1. Hamas must cease and desist from its policy and practice of targeting Israeli civilians and terrorizing Israeli civilian populations. A robust international stabilization and protection force — with the necessary mandate, mission, and numbers — should be deployed to ensure that the ceasefire is respected;

    2. The ceasefire must be accompanied by humanitarian and medical relief, the delivery of some of which has been hindered by Hamas itself. Clearly, after the tragic death and destruction, there must be mandated and comprehensive international humanitarian assistance. Donor states must ensure that their humanitarian support is not abused and used for malign purposes, and must exercise effective oversight over recipients such as the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), whose textbooks have contributed to incitement and whose civilian infrastructure have been used by Hamas for military purposes.

    3. An immediate imperative is the repatriation of the remains of Hadar Goldin — abducted and murdered by Hamas during the 2014 Gaza war, in violation of a UN-brokered ceasefire — and Oron Shaul, and the return of civilian hostages Hisham Al-Sayed and Avraham Mengistu. The withholding of remains and holding of civilian hostages are standing violations of international law, and the responsibility of the international community to redress as the guarantors of these fundamental norms.

    4. Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other terrorist militias must be disarmed, related terror infrastructure and assault tunnels dismantled, and an end put to terrorist use of incendiary balloons targeting agricultural communities and causing environmental devastation.

    5. An end must also be put to the Hamas capacity to manufacture or smuggle terror assets. Simply put, there must be a supervised monitoring of the importation of building materials – like cement and steel – that have been used for the manufacture of weapons and tunnels, rather than the building of hospitals, schools, and mosques for which they were intended. As well, the prohibition of the transfer or smuggling of weapons, such as advanced terror technology from Iran, must be ensured.

    6. The direct financing of Hamas, which was put to military and terrorist purposes, must end. The international community must ensure that States such as Iran, Turkey, and Qatar do not continue to finance Hamas and its war crimes, and that banks in China and other jurisdictions do not facilitate this criminal funding.

    7. An international framework — one of the more important initiatives of the road not yet traveled — will be necessary to secure and maintain the demilitarization of Gaza, while supervising the secure entry of people and goods into Gaza.

    8. Such an international framework must seek to end Hamas’s pernicious practice of recruiting child soldiers and using human shields, both clear violations of international law. Enforcing these crucial norms through sanctions, prosecutions, and concerted international cooperation can help put a halt to the horrors and harms of Hamas’s use of human shields, including children.

    9. The deployment of this international protection force — and the demilitarization of Gaza — can provide a basis for the reciprocal opening of border-crossings, the commensurate easing of the blockades, and the development of civilian and commercial infrastructure such as a deep-water port. Indeed, the movement of people, goods, commerce, trade, development, and evolving economic prosperity were precisely what was contemplated — and was clearly possible — when Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005. Ultimately, the demilitarization of Gaza — the dismantlement of the terrorist infrastructure embedded among civilians — can lead to a “Marshall Plan” for Gaza with the goal of securing economic growth, development, and a sustainable peace.

    10. A crucial point oft ignored: Palestinian society in Gaza must be freed from the cynical and oppressive Hamas culture of hate and incitement. This not only constitutes a standing threat to Israel, but undermines the development of authentic Palestinian self-determination. No peaceful solution will be possible if massive resources continue to be poured into Hamas state-controlled media, mosques, refugee camps, training camps, and educational systems that serve the sole purpose of demonizing Israel and the Jewish people, and inciting war against them. There must be accountability for incitement, both by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, including an end to the latter’s “pay to slay” program, which glorifies, supports, and incentivizes terrorism.
    Hamas’s militant rejectionism of Israel’s right to exist — its public call for Israel’s destruction and the killing of Jews wherever they may be — have threatened the safety and security not only of Israelis but of Palestinians too. Regrettably, the Gazan people’s desire — and right — to live in peace and security cannot be realized so long as Hamas continues to hold its own people hostage, while pursuing a strategy of terror and incitement. Indeed, this war in Gaza is not only one of self-defense for the Israeli people, but should lead to the securing of the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people, who deserve better than to be held hostage by a terrorist regime.

    These initiatives, undertakings, and objectives are the road not yet taken. Admittedly, all this may be difficult to secure. But the time has come — indeed it is long past time — to realize that if we want to protect the lives of both Israelis and Palestinians, this must become the road we travel now.

    • All written by an “eminent jurist” in the Times Of Israel ! Of course you won’t read the word apartheid anyway. Fair and Balanced. As the Fixed News crowd claims.

      • I’m sure this will fall on deaf ears, but please stop trolling. There are folks commenting here with long strings of facts, context and, in some cases, journalistic links to back them up. People are creating a pretty informed discourse. But, in true propagandist form, you just litter the page with short bits of hate rhetoric. I remember you doing the same thing when there were other Israel/Palestine discussions in this forum. It’s a shameful, bullying approach you take. Like other trumpists of the left, you keep repeating rhetorical lines with no real information behind them. Well, just as repeating lies worked for trump, it has now become a strategy employed by some of my fellow lefties, particularly as regards Israel. We see you. Please bring facts or let the grown-ups speak in your absence.

    • Nice article from Mr. Vizel, I hope the signatories above expand their eyesight and try to read and try to understand a bit of what is and what was and why! I too notice not a comment about the Hamas missiles that initiated this mess!

  17. The way I see it the leaders of Hamas and Netanyahu are the villains, each seeking to perpetuate their own power and neither caring about their people. For that reason, I say, “A pox on both of them.” When they’re gone maybe then there’s hope for peace with a two-state solution. The above letter is not helpful. It is shameful. I have stopped contributing to Vassar and I will continue not giving until the administration and teaching staff stop taking sides, stop the political mongering, resist inciting and perpetuating hatred, and act like educators.

  18. This Letter to the Editor was originally created and circulated using the Vassar Google apps for Education, and titled “Vassar Community Stands with Palestinians.” It does not even mention Hamas, the recognized terrorist organization that maintains a murderous tyranny over Gaza and launched over 4000 rockets aimed at Israeli population centers. That dozens of faculty members signed on to this one-sided screed using a Vassar platform and purporting to be the voice of the Vassar Community illustrates much of what is so troubling about higher education today. Complex realities are reduced to the rigid oppressor/oppressed ideological framework by professors who believe their primary (indeed only) role is to nurture activists for the approved causes as they define them — and not, as Vassar’s Mission Statement still anachronistically proclaims — to promote “analytical, informed, and independent thinking and sound judgment.” Indeed, the Letter begins by describing its signers as “people of conscience”; a not- so-subtle warning to students and other faculty that anyone foolish enough to question the screed is not.

    The Letter also asserts that its signers put themselves “at great risk” given the climate of censorship they say exists. This is another perversion of reality. Students who dare openly to support Israel are routinely labeled racist and supporters of settler-colonialism, and speakers whom they invite to campus are harassed and disrupted. Anti-Zionist students, by contrast, enjoy at Vassar an annual hatefest known as Israeli Apartheid Week, sponsor numerous speakers and films that trash Israel, and regularly introduce BDS resolutions that would exclude Israeli academics from teaching at Vassar — a type of censorship that the Letter signatories wholeheartedly endorse.

    I urge Vassar students: do not allow yourselves to be indoctrinated by faculty misusing their pedagogical platforms, or intimidated by the tactics of some of your fellow students. Do your own research, pursue a variety of sources across the political spectrum, find those students who are willing to engage in a real give and take discussion, and above all, use your common sense. When a tyrannical, terrorist regime such as Hamas (which subjugates women and executes gays) proclaims as its goal the eradication of your state, and uses its own population as human shields while it lobs thousands of rockets at your civilian centers, do you lay down your arms with the hope that you will all live peacefully in one big happy progressive nation? Or do you defend yourselves as best you can, striving to avoid civilian casualties as much as possible, so that you and all of your diverse fellow citizens can continue to live in a nation that strives, however imperfectly at times, to be an open society in which the motivating dynamic is to achieve prosperity, not victimhood.

  19. I honestly have to question how many of the faculty members who signed this factually and historically challenged Statement of Solidarity bothered to read it. And whether any of those who did read it bothered to do the slightest bit of research to verify whether what they were signing was even remotely accurate. It sets a poor example when faculty of a distinguished institution like Vassar publicly buy into a clearly extreme and convoluted piece of propaganda such as this rather than exercise the rigorous and critical thinking skills for which they were presumably hired.
    Elliott Vizel, Class of ’80, has done a magnificent job of refuting this Statement, point by point, above, and I have little to add to that as well as the many other excellent and well reasoned comments already posted here. I will say, however, that the Statement reflects the same false and incendiary rhetoric being spewed by proponents of BDS on campuses and in communities across the country that has recently triggered a dramatic and frightening escalation in violent attacks, both verbal and physical, on American Jews. And nary a word from the Vassar administration, which has, up to now, stood in support of every other minority community that has been subjected to such vilification and abuse. It would appear that antisemitism is not among the forms of bigotry and hate that Vassar feels the need to condemn unequivocally.

  20. I am grateful and impressed by the thoughtful and insightful comments by the Vassar graduates presented here. I am thankful for the work of the Vassar Miscellany students interested in journalism and the presentation of all viewpoints.
    The more you look, the worse it gets.
    Clearly, the responsibility here is with the College President Elizabeth Bradley for failing to uphold the policies of the College for truth and education and against misinformation and discrimination. From review of past events, this has been going on for a while.
    Several of the lead off signatories on this letter, which is accurately described as a screed, are tenured and hold high level administrative positions on the Vassar faculty board.
    Who would send their children here for an education?
    I strongly recommend two actions:
    A #1: A No Confidence action against the College President and the involved Vassar Faculty Administrators.
    B#2: Stop Donating.

  21. Face it. Israel is constantly violating one of the most important human rights. It was a right that humans cherished and enjoyed for millennia. It was the right to attack and murder Jews with impunity.
    Israel had been created to violate this right. The IDF is violating this right every day by its mere existence. That makes many humans like the authors of this letter very angry.

  22. As the great mathematics professor Tom Lehr wrote,
    “Oh the protestants hate the catholics
    And the catholics hate the protestants
    And the hindus hate the muslims
    And everybody hates the jews, but during
    National Brotherhood Week
    National Brotherhood Week its
    National everyone smile at
    One another-hood week, be
    Nice to people who are
    Inferior to you. it’s only for a week so have no fear
    Be grateful that it doesn’t last all year”

    The only reason to bother to write this nasty, ill informed attack piece is not to put forward a thoughtful, well researched report on the state of affairs in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank, but to gloss over painful facts of history and current reality and “hate the Jews”. If this does represent “The Vassar Community “, I would advise all Jewish students study elsewhere. For the money you’re paying you deserve better , informed academics, not cheap bandwagon tired half-truths.
    So disappointing.
    Class of 1978

    • This clearly does not represent the Vassar Community. The letter says “Members if the Vassar Community” which these people are. But note who the long list of signatories does NOT include: senior administrators, current students in any significant number or STEM professors. What you do see on the list are recent SJP alumni and radical leftist/activist professors in the Humanities like Joshua Schrier. Vassar is still a great school, but the Humanities faculty are radical anti zionists. It is the flavor of the decade for Humanities faculty. Its how you get attention when your career is stalled and pathetic and nobody wants to read the boring book you just spent 5 years writing.

      Note that Schrier speaks neither Hebrew nor Arabic yet puts himself front and center as the academic face of the anti Israel pro Hamas faction at Vassar. Just read about his pathetic dodge of Brett Stephens and Steven Cook in 2014 and you will know all you need to know.

  23. I am so glad that professors and students are standing up for the Palestinian people. Clearly the United Nations and Human Rights Watch know something about the situation. I condemn violence from either side, but note that the violence perpetrated on the Palestinian people is clearly more devastating and chronic.

    • How do you quantify violence perpetrated on the Palestinian people as being clearly more devastating and chronic? Is being subject to 4,000 randomly targeted rocket attacks not devastating and chronic? Is having less than a minute to get yourself and your family into a bomb shelter not “devastating and chronic” enough for you? Should Israel decommission Iron Dome so more Jews can be killed and things could be a bit more proportional? Hamas intentionally positions its military assets and infrastructure within densely populated civilian areas in a conscious effort to increase casualties, that is a violation of international law. Given how much of Hamas’ infrastructure was destroyed by the IDF, the air campaign conducted by the IAF was unprecedented in modern military history in terms of limiting civilian fatalities within Gaza. Had any other Air Force in the world been tasked with a similar mission, fatalities would have been in the thousands if not tens of thousands. Israel responded in a manner in which any sovereign nation on the planet would if their population came under random attack from a neighboring country. If you are so willing to discount the degree of violence being directed at the citizens of Israel, perhaps the next time Hamas or Islamic Jihad decides to shoot rockets into Israel you can take a trip to one of the communities adjacent to Gaza and see how much you enjoy being shot at.

      • “see how much you enjoy being shot at.” – How would you enjoy living in an apartheid state ?

        • Raj seriously, that’s the best you got?

          Apartheid is defined as; a former policy of segregation and political, social, and economic discrimination against the nonwhite majority in the Republic of South Africa. Israel is not South Africa. Of the 9.2 million people who live in Israel, 75% (the vast majority) are Jewish. Of that Jewish population the majority are technically persons of color themselves. There are slightly less than 2 million Israeli Arabs (who are Muslim, Christian and Druze) they maintain the same rights as Jewish Israelis (including the right to vote) and participate in all aspects of Israel’s highly advanced economy. There elected Arab members of the Knesset. Arabs also participate in the judicial system and do serve in the military. If that is apartheid please tell me exactly where it is? In Gaza, Hamas is responsible for civil administration and security, Israel has no role in that process. In Judea and Samaria, Fatah (not Israel) is responsible for civil administration in Areas A & B. Israelis are not even permitted to enter Area A and rarely enter Area B. Again where is the apartheid?

          Over the years I have noticed you are a fairly regular commenter on this website always posting under a pseudonym. The rules and etiquette on online commenting discount persons who post under pseudonyms, removing any credibility from their statements. You are nothing more than a troll and a coward. If you are going to issue vitriolic anti-semitic statements and make outright lies, at least tell us who you really are.

          • Andrew G. Newman

            I have no problem posting my name. I changed my browser setting once to enable. So there now what’s your new smear.

            Now would you have the same standards for organizations like Canary Mission from smearing people anonymously, Of course not Would you have the same for every Alum on this board. Of course not.

            The long and short of your endless spiel is that millions of Palestinians live in the West Bank and (technically Gaza) under Israeli Military Rule. You can dance around the issue by telling us how wonderful Israeli Arabs have it etc.

            But as you know it that just pure spiel to deflect from Israeli Apartheid. And of course you gotta trot out the “anti-semitism” shtick. If nothing else gotta to do the smear.

            “Israelis are not even permitted to enter Area A and rarely enter Area B” – So if you wall of a place like a prison, across the street , and put them under millitary rule, that’s not apartheid.

            How dishonest are you gonna get, bro.

          • Oh Raj,

            It makes little sense to continue to debate with a person who is unable to comprehend or simply unwilling to accept the facts of an argument. It makes even less sense to debate a person who simply does not even know they have been bested (in this case you have been bested by numerous commenters). As such I am no longer willing to engage you on the facts at hand, and would urge others to do the same. At this juncture what is most disturbing is your continued unwillingness to unmask yourself even after you have claimed you are willing to do so. Claiming that you need to use a new browser to do so is utter bullshit. If your assertion that the Alums of the 70’s, 80’s & 90’s are dinosaurs and that majority opinion now sits with your side, well there is nothing to fear. Please identify yourself by the first and last name you used as a Vassar student and your graduating class. Failure to comply confirms you are a coward.

        • Jews in the middle east dont get to live in an apartheid state. They were killed and driven out by pogroms and government orders so there are no jews left in iraq, Egypt, afghanistan, morocco, jordan, syria, etc.

          I wonder what would happen if Hamas took over in Israel?

    • Ellen,

      I am terribly disappointed in your reply. I have not seen a statement opposing the outrageous number of antisemitic attacks against Jews in the US. The overwhelming number of these come from the left. Hundreds of synagogues have been vandalized. 3 mass shootings in the past few years. Hundreds of Jews beaten and attacked in the streets in the US. You have the privilege of not knowing about the attacks of “Palestinian” terrorists over the years. Watch the footage from the Munich Olympics. Read about the Palestinian attack on the JCC in Los Angeles, or the massacre at the Synagogue in Turkey. As someone who is proudly Jewish, and who knew you when we were at Vassar together, there are no words to describe my disappointment in your willful choice to ignore the violence implicit in your words. When you say, “I condemn violence from either side” you have stopped. But you didn’t. Because you have failed to educate yourself on the history of antisemitism. Should you choose to understand the violence of your words, I would be happy to continue the conversation. But I suspect you are far too comfortable with your judgment of Israel and Jews to learn more.

  24. It is difficult to know how to continue to respond to the ongoing and malicious one-sidedness of the current professors and students of the Vassar College on issues concerning Israel, other than to say that you bring shame and embarrassment on all of us. This is not an intelligent piece. It does not demonstrate any depth of understanding of the history of the region or the political complexities of this remarkable part of the world. (Can you explain how an indigenous people such as the Jews can be charged with “settler colonialism”? Are you even aware that the Jews are an indigenous people to this part of the world?) The piece also shows a nihilistic ignorance of international law and the application of legal tenants to situations of war. (Can you articulate the distinction between an act of war and a war crime?) The ongoing pro-Hamas stance of Vassar professors and students marks a gross deviation from Vassar’s historical commitment to the plight of women. (Are you aware that in February, Gaza’s Hamas-controlled judiciary voted to restrict the free movement of unmarried women?) Many people in the world already look upon Vassar with disdain. That is sad, because Vassar has such a rich history. I do what I can to bring a reputation of honor, integrity and intellectual rigor to the Vassar name. But if you cannot impose discipline on your thinking and teaching, you will continue to consign Vassar to be a laughingstock of the educational and professional world.

  25. Anyone want to share with me the Hamas peace proposal? That’s right, there isn’t one, and never will be one. All they want is to destroy Israel and expel all the Jews. If I am wrong, would one of you please send in another letter with the Hamas peace proposal? With all of your might, why can’t you convince them to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state? You can’t, because they won’t. Where are the Jewish communities in the Arab and Persian worlds? Gone. Why? As long as the Palestinians vote Hamas into power, the Palestinian people will live with the consequences of Hamas policy. Why don’t you find another cause? There is much to be done in this country with your boundless energy. Volunteer. Become Guardians Ad Litem.

    • “the Hamas peace proposal?” – And the Likud proposal. I looked up UN documents , i found none. Just destroy Palestine and kick them out.

      “why can’t you convince them to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state?” – you mean within the borders of Israel , or whatever lands they steal ?

      “Where are the Jewish communities in the Arab and Persian worlds? ” – And they got the country of Israel. Did you forget that ?

      “As long as the Palestinians vote Hamas into power,” – Israel created Hamas. there was no Hamas when the ethnic cleansing began.

      “Why don’t you find another cause?” – fighting apartheid and ethnic cleansing is a good cause.

      Finally are you done with the pretend that Israeli ethnic cleansing is due to Hamas. Hamas is just an excuse isn’t it. Be honest for once

  26. If you have the time or inclination you can look up many of the signatories to the letter on Canary Mission. Many many have histories of clear and direct antisemitism. One of my favorites is Joshua Espada, a recent VC grad. Here is one of his Twitter posts:

    Infamous Quotes
    “Too cheap to buy Reece’s cup so I took Choco chips and peanut and mixed them in a bowl #jew”
    Joshua Espada, Twitter, Feb 10 2013

    As we all know SJP Vassar has a similar history including posting actual Nazi propaganda.

  27. I am ashamed but not surprised by the letter published in the Miscellany News, the paper I wrote for and edited for four years. It is the formerly objective fact-based student paper that presented liberal and balanced views on both sides of an issue. Why did the editor of the Misc title this opinion piece a “statement of Vassar’s community solidarity”. It is just wrong! Look at the opinions above if you think the column represents the Vassar community.

    In the past week I listened to an NPR broadcast and a Throughline podcasts, in both cases 2 Muslims and a Palestinian professor made a better and more objective case for what is really happening on the ground than this lopsided opinion piece. It does not represent a balanced nor factual view of this conflict or the history of the Palestinian mandate and the creation of Israel.

    All the woke uniformed illiberal students that get their news from Insta/FB/Twitter need to get their nose out of their phones and read the history of the conflict and region. OR at least the last 10 minutes of Bill Maher on HBO last Friday.

    I am so tired of all the liberal woke progressives in the government, universities, and media in the country who think that there is no connection between anti-Israel/anti-zionist sentiments and antisemitism. DOES IT MEAN YOU ARE ANTISEMITIC IF YOU CRITICIZE ISRAEL? NO! But stop fooling yourself into thinking there is no significant connection. Supporting Hamas and its tactics is supporting their goal of wiping Israel off the map. Which I have a strong feeling is what most of the signers to this letter truly want.

    • ” Supporting Hamas and its tactics is supporting their goal of wiping Israel off the map. Which I have a strong feeling is what most of the signers to this letter truly want.”

      Just like everyone else, for all your supposed “moral outrage” you won’t utter the word apartheid.

  28. The words that Ms. Laurie Josephs, Lynn Benswanger or none of the holier than thou alumni who demand for a supposedly more balanced narrative here are “Israeli Apartheid”.

    That tells the Vassar student all they need to know. These persons (not any one in specific) represent the past. Their generation is the one that propped up Israeli apartheid. They are the ones who screamed down, got fired, smeared anyone who spoke up for Palestinians.

    Today they shriek in anger cause the tide has turned. Many of the younger generation and in Congress openly call Israel an apartheid state. Therefore they take it out on these pages.

    Finally some inconvenient history for all the holier than thous. Israel created Hamas. Go look it up

  29. Correction to the aboce

    The words that Ms. Laurie Josephs, Lynn Benswanger or none of the holier than thou alumni, who demand for a supposedly more balanced narrative here, will not say , are “Israeli Apartheid”.

    • Raj, darling.
      The ‘apartheid’ libel you are repeating ad nauseum (are you a one trick pony? Or is this just your favorite hobby horse?), has long been discredited, FYI.
      See my post above which references this canard trotted out on a regular basis by the bash Israel crowd – in particular South African jurist Richard Goldstone’s NY Times op-ed on the subject which is linked in my post.
      Of course, I highly doubt you’ll bother to read it, as it would threaten your patently biased perspective on the issue at hand.
      But please continue posting your emetogenic screeds – I need a good laugh now and again.

      Elliott Vizel ‘80

      • Vizel honey bro,

        I trust Human Rights organizations than some joker who changes his tune every second day.

        I have a simple question. If the rights of Palestinians in Israel is not apartheid, because Richard Goldstone states it, then would you be willing to state that you would have no problem if minorities in America were living under those very rights.

        Common bro, man up and answer that question.

  30. I was wondering how long the ad hominem attacks would take to arrive.
    Raj, please stand up and identify yourself instead of hiding behind your first name.

    • Ad hominem attacks – the refuge of intellectual pygmies who otherwise have nothing to say. Bravo to the ‘next generation’ of logocentrist lightweights. Well, when you’re bring indoctrinated as opposed to educated…garbage in, garbage out.

      Elliott Vizel ‘80

      • “Ad hominem attacks” – Elliot my man, what exactly do think the rest of Vassar alumae think of the posts by a small bunch of entitled alumni when it comes to Palestinian rights. ?

        Time to buy a mirror.

  31. I got no problem stating my name.

    What exactly are the ad hominem attacks ? Me questioning your avoidance of Israeli Apartheid. Any student on campus will know that you are basically dodging the issue.

    Now why don’t you have the courage to address Israeli Apartheid. That you wont. And neither will none of the entitled alumni in this group.

  32. “Raj” has been posting on every article about Vassar’s Palestine agitprop problem since at least 2014. Are you not an alumni, yet, Raj? If you have been a Vassar student for the past seven years, you have no right to call other people “entitled.”

    • Mark Wagner, a little tautological logic would help you. Me calling some alumni “entitled” doesn’t lead to a tautology that all alumni are “entitled”. Ponder over that, while I worry about my rights.

  33. I realized I was (or became) a progressive at Vassar. Between values I already had, my own life experiences and the much accumulated knowledge and experience I got at Vassar, I realized that my passion for human rights, fairness and justice, dignity for all and colorblind egalitarianism put me clearly on the left side of western politics. And that has never changed.
    But something else I came to understand- and become passionate about- in my time at Vassar, is information sourcing and discerning between what is known and what is (sometimes mal-intentioned) without evidence. In short, I learned to try forming my views only from what is provable truth.
    In the intervening years, I have seen my fellow progressives, especially on college campuses, take on an almost universally anti-Israel stance that is simply not based on or corresponding to known facts. I could go on about the Jews’ archaeologically- and genetically-proven, unbroken presence in the land of Israel for thousands of years as an indigenous people. I could go on about the many wars fought in the region by and against a variety of colonizers, the exiling and murdering of Jews numerous times, the lopping off of 75% of the British Mandate of Palestine to hand to an Arabian family to form the entirely a-historic country of Jordan, which is full of… Palestinians without self-determination. There are many, many more facts that are relevant and which show the letter published here to be a largely contrafactual smear. But others here have replied with such informative posts and links.
    So, I’ll just say how disappointed I am that so many academics- whether faculty or student- at Vassar and on many other campuses- have crafted a vitriolically anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian narrative that simply does not comport with known facts about the region. This is not me claiming that Israel as a country is blameless or that all Palestinians are somehow bad or wrong. Not at all. But it is me saying that the common rhetoric about Israel/Palestine among those with whom I usually share political views, is simply not based on the complete set of facts. And that it has been hard for me to reconcile this inconsistency in any way other than to see it as Jew-hatred.

  34. I recently looked up the United States’ own Rules of Land Warfare whose content underscores the lack of even rudimentary diligence behind the content of this letter. https://armypubs.army.mil/epubs/DR_pubs/DR_a/pdf/web/ARN19354_FM%206-27%20_C1_FINAL_WEB_v2.pdf Please see “Protection of Civilians, a Shared Responsibility.”

    “Military commanders attacking enemy military objectives must make reasonable efforts to reduce the
    risk of harm to the civilian population when conducting an attack. Military commanders do this by taking
    feasible precautions to reduce risk to protected persons and object.” Israel does this by aiming weapons, including very expensive precision-guided munitions, only at terrorists and their equipment.

    “Military commanders and other officials responsible for the safety of the civilian population must, to
    the extent feasible, separate the civilian population from military objectives to protect the civilian population
    from the effects of combat.” Hamas does the opposite.

    “The civilian population and individual civilians must not” be used to shield military objectives or
    operations from attack (DOD Law of War Manual, 5.16; consider AP I art. 51(7)). The party controlling
    civilians and civilian objects has the primary responsibility for the protection of civilians and civilian objects,
    as it has the greater opportunity to minimize risk of harm to civilians. Civilians may also share in the
    responsibility to take precautions for their own protection. Nonetheless, the military commander engaged in
    the attack of that military objective remains obligated to take feasible precautions to reduce the risk of harm
    to protected persons and objects.” Hamas again does the exact opposite by using civilians as shields.

    “.Military commanders must be prepared for the possibility of an intermingling of civilians with military
    objectives or that some military objectives (in particular, roads and bridges) are objects commonly used by
    both the civilian population and military forces. Neither the mere presence of civilians nor intermingling or
    common use renders a military objective immune from attack.” The presence of civilians therefore does not render terrorists and their equipment such as rocket launchers immune from attack.

    “Warning Before Attack
    Unless circumstances do not permit, effective advance warning must be given of an attack that may
    affect the civilian population (see DOD Law of War Manual, 5.11.5; HR art. 26; Hague IX art. 6; consider
    AP I art. 57(2)(c)).” Israel does this routinely even though no warning is required if a warning would also help enemy combatants avoid being hit. “A warning is not required if circumstances do not permit. Such circumstances include legitimate military reasons, such as exploiting the element of surprise in order to provide for mission accomplishment and preserve the attacking force.” As an example, the U.S. dropped leaflets on Japan that warned the civilian population that, while the US had no desire to harm noncombatants, military objectives would be targeted and, as “bombs have no eyes,” civilians should stay away from the objectives in question.

    “Failure of Defender to Separate or Distinguish Does Not Relieve Attacker of the Duty to
    Discriminate in Conducting Attacks
    A party that is subject to attack might fail to take feasible precautions to minimize the harm to civilians,
    such as by separating the civilian population from military objectives. In some cases, a party to the conflict
    might attempt to use the presence or movement of the civilian population or individual civilians in order to
    shield military objectives from seizure or attack. When enemy persons engage in such behavior, commanders should continue to seek to discriminate in conducting attacks and to take feasible precautions to reduce the risk of harm to the civilian population and civilian objects. This enemy conduct, however, will diminish the ability to discriminate and to reduce the risk of harm to the civilian population.” This applies directly to Hamas, Even though Israel does seek to discriminate in conducting attacks, harm to civilians results directly from the criminal conduct of Hamas.

    If we go back to the Lieber Code, which was enacted during the Civil War, the takeaways are still the same and the conduct of Hamas would have fallen into the categories of “perfidy” and “fiendish.”

    “Honorable belligerents often request that the hospitals within the territory of the enemy may be designated, so that they may be spared. An honorable belligerent allows himself to be guided by flags or signals of protection as much as the contingencies and the necessities of the fight will permit. It is justly considered an act of bad faith, of infamy or fiendishness, to deceive the enemy by flags of protection. Such act of bad faith may be good cause for refusing to respect such flags.”

    An honorable belligerent therefore does not fire on schools, hospitals, or places of worship but, when the enemy uses these to house weapons and/or combatants, it is an act of bad faith, infamy, and fiendishness that relieves the other side from the obligation to respect such places in the future. HAMAS = Hiding Among Mosques And Schools. It is to be noted that, during the Second World War, both sides tried to avoid the bombardment of the Abbey at Monte Cassino to the extent that one German officer, when invited to dinner with the Abbot, deliberately avoided looking out the windows (where he would have seen Allied troops) so as to not use the protected building as an “observation post.” https://www.americanheritage.com/bombing-monte-cassino The Abbey was later bombarded nonetheless, but only because the Allies saw what they believed to be German combatants, radio equipment, and so on; their own orders were to avoid harming the historic building if possible.

  35. I will state upfront that I don’t agree with the “pro-Palestine” opinion stated here, and particularly not the fact that they claim to represent the Vassar community.
    However, that is not why I’m writing. I’ve just returned to the US from living off and on in France for over 30 years. I’m deeply saddened by how polarized this country has become. And Democrats are equally as bad as Republicans. I consider myself to be a Centrist, with more left leaning views. As such, I tend to try to research both sides of any argument before forming my own opinion. The BLM movement is of interest to me, but more from a sociological point of view, than the subject of racism itself. I found the thoughts on this subject as expressed by people such as Dr John McWhorter, a black professor at Columbia, to be interesting. I shared his viewpoint (not mine) on Facebook and was immediately labeled a “racist”, and lost many friends, including my brother, as a result.
    As a Vassar grad of 1980, I am nostalgic for those days when we could openly express and debate our opinions without being called horrible names and losing friends in the process.
    So, while I don’t agree with the statements being made here, can we just try to listen and be respectful of one another? Isn’t that we learned at Vassar?

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