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June 16, 2020 2:06 pm

Fury at Florida State University After New Student Senate President’s Antisemitic Statements Revealed

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

The Wescott Building at Florida State University. Photo: Tim Ross.

Outrage has erupted at Florida State University after the new Student Senate president was found to have made racist and antisemitic statements online, including comparing Israel to Nazi Germany.

Ahmad Daraldik — who is Palestinian-American — recently replaced a previous president of the Student Senate who was expelled for expressing conservative Catholic views.

It was later discovered that Daraldik had made numerous statements online such as “stupid Jew” and “f**k Israel.”

A petition calling for his removal states that Daraldik “made antisemitic remarks in multiple social media posts.”

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“These antisemitic remarks are not welcomed on FSU’s campus, in the United States, and most importantly, on this EARTH!” the petition declares. “There is no justification for his remarks, and [he] needs to be removed from his position of power.”

Daraldik claimed he was being “defamed” because “I expressed my frustrations with a racist system that continues to commit human rights violations and was created through the genocide of my people.”

Ironically, a web page apparently belonging to Daraldik openly minimizes the genocide committed against the Jews during World War II, calling the Holocaust simply an “atrocity” and comparing Israel unfavorably to Nazi Germany. Both are considered antisemitism under the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition adopted by the US and many countries around the world.

On the web page, Daraldik speaks of “the contemporary Holocaust imposed upon the Palestinian people,” and shows a photo montage placing Nazi imagery side-by-side with Palestinian casualties.

He also claims Israel was taken away from the Jewish people because they violated the commandments of the Torah and that the Jewish religion forbids establishing a Jewish state.

Cindy Chamides — president of Noles for Israel — told Campus Reform, “What I can’t accept is someone elected to represent students saying and writing things that are blatantly antisemitic.”

“For those of us who are descended from Holocaust survivors, it’s especially painful for an elected leader to lie about and exploit what our families went through for his own political agenda,” she added. “He needs to take responsibility, step down, and learn from his mistakes.”

Miriam Elman — executive director of the Academic Engagement Network, an educational nonprofit committed to combating antisemitism and increasing Israel literacy on campuses — told The Algemeiner on Tuesday, “At issue isn’t merely one or two offensive social media posts. Intemperate and uncivil language to criticize Israel doesn’t necessarily render speech antisemitic, and there would be little point to getting upset if this were just a matter of Mr. Daraldik sharing a derogatory photo-shopped image of the IDF back when he was a kid.”

“Rather, the problem is that in recent days Mr. Daraldik has doubled down, continuing to criticize Israel by equating it with Nazi Germany,” she said. “He hasn’t given any indication that he understands, or even wants to understand, the concerns here and seems completely unwilling to engage with student peers who find his remarks deeply hurtful.”

“Mr. Daraldik’s social media posts are offensive, but his website is of a different magnitude,” Elman continued. “It is a project that he himself carefully curated and isn’t a spur-of-the-moment tweet or Instagram. The website engages in blatant Holocaust inversion, an ‘inverted reality’ where Israel’s behavior toward the Palestinians is compared to that of the Nazis towards the Jews. Such uses of Nazi analogies are unequivocally antisemitic.”

“The FSU Student Senate should be working to create an inclusive and welcoming learning community for all, not marginalizing and demoralizing the campus Jewish community,” she said. “It’s difficult to see how most Jewish students at FSU, and certainly those who identify with the State of Israel, could feel themselves well-represented, or even respected, with Mr. Daraldik as president of the Student Senate.”

The Florida State University branch of the anti-Israel group Students for Justice in Palestine responded to the controversy with a statement that claimed in florid rhetoric that Daraldnik was the victim of a “racially and politically motivated,” “Islamophobic,” and “discriminatory” campaign.

Among the signatories to the SJP letter are groups like the American Society of Civil Engineers, the FSU College Democrats and Young Democratic Socialists of America FSU, along with the Arab Student Union.

It is co-sponsored by Student Senators Ashley Gonzalez, Christian Sam, Deía Medley-Neyra, Sasha Martin, Travis Waters and Zane Absten, as well as representatives of Planned Parenthood.

Dr. Joseph Hellweg, an associate professor of religion, also signed the missive.

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