The chancellor of Rutgers University in New Jersey issued a statement condemning anti-Semitsm and then, in the wake of flak from a pro-Palestinian group, apologized for its statement, JTA reported.
The statement issued by Chancellor Christopher J. Molloy and Provost Francine Conway last week said that the university condemns “all forms of bigotry, prejudice, discrimination, xenophobia, and oppression, in whatever ways they may be expressed.”
“We are saddened by and greatly concerned about the sharp rise in hostile sentiments and anti-Semitic violence in the United States,” the statement continued. “Recent incidents of hate directed toward Jewish members of our community again remind us of what history has to teach us.”
The next day, Rutger’s Students for Justice in Palestine issued a statement condemning the chancellor’s statement, saying that it “conveniently ignores the extent to which Palestinians have been brutalized by Israel’s occupation and bombing of Gaza,” and “cannot be separated from widespread attempts to conflate antizionism with antisemitism and derail Palestinian voices and activism.”
“The statement released by Chancellor Molloy and Provost Conway thus cannot be interpreted as anything other than a deflection from Rutgers University’s role in financially supporting the Israeli state, and thus its human rights abuses and occupation of Palestine, by direct or indirect means.”
Later that day, Molloy and Conway issued another statement apologizing for the first one.
“In hindsight, it is clear to us that the message failed to communicate support for our Palestinian community members,” the apology said. “We sincerely apologize for the hurt that this message has caused.”
But that wasn’t enough for the Palestine group which stated that the condemnation of anti-Semitism “was unwarranted due to the absence of any publicly reported antisemitic incidents in the Rutgers New Brunswick community that had not already been addressed by the administration.”
“While the possibility remains that those martyred were of the Muslim faith, this does not serve as a prerogative for Chancellor Molloy and Provost Conway to address Islamophobia,” the statement said. “Israel’s occupation of Palestine is an egregious injustice which transcends religious conflict.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)