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July 14, 2020 3:06 pm

Florida State University Student Senate, Led by President Accused of Antisemitism, Filibusters Resolution Defending Jewish Students

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

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

A Florida State University student government resolution that sought to combat antisemitism and ensure the empowerment of Jewish students on campus was successfully filibustered last week by the Student Senate, whose president has himself been accused of antisemitism.

Ahmad Daraldik — who is Palestinian-American — recently replaced the previous president of the Student Senate who was expelled for criticizing the Black Lives Matter movement.

It was later discovered that Daraldik had made numerous offensive comments online, such as “stupid Jew” and “f**k Israel.” In addition, a web page belonging to Daraldik openly minimizes the Holocaust, calling it simply an “atrocity” and comparing Israel unfavorably to Nazi Germany.

A bid to remove Daraldik gained a majority vote, but fell short of the two-thirds majority required.

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In response, Jewish students and their allies pushed Resolution #59, which called for the appointment of a student liaison to “increase Jewish communication and representation” in student government, requiring education in “Jewish culture and antisemitism through communication with the Jewish community on campus,” and the creation of a task force to deal with issues facing Jewish students on campus.

Among the stated reasons for the resolution was “the statements made by President Daraldik caused deep hurt and fear to the Jewish and Israeli communities, as well as to many other students at Florida State University.”

Although the resolution was approved by the Student Life and Academic Affairs Committee, its progress was stymied in the Senate, which did not vote on it after a five-hour meeting in which it was filibustered.

Cindy Chamides, president of the Noles for Israel student group, told The Algemeiner, “After many antisemitic incidents at FSU, such as finding swastikas in the bathrooms, being photographed and demonized on social media for standing next to an Israeli flag, our own Senate president comparing Israelis to Nazis, and more, passing this resolution is the first potential step in healing our hurt community at FSU.”

“When it came time to speak, Jewish voices were drowned out by those trying to minimize our experiences with antisemitism,” she said. “Students at the meeting claimed, ‘Jews are not underrepresented,’ and even declared those in support of the resolution are racist or somehow associated with white supremacy.”

“This resolution does not ask for anything controversial or egregious, just for better representation for our community,” she added. “In the five-hour Senate meeting, the 35-plus students who spoke, plus dozens more who care about Resolution 59, waited for the resolution to be addressed while senators filibustered the meeting for two hours by debating general housekeeping. The resolution wasn’t even voted on.”

“Despite this being an urgency for the Jewish students on our campus, the Student Senate as a whole again failed to act in the best interest of its constituents,” Chamides concluded.

Daisy Judge, a member of the executive board of Christians United for Israel at FSU, told The Algemeiner, “The last Senate meeting was another push of coordinated attacks against the Jewish people at FSU.”

“A bill that’s primary purpose was to give better representation to Jewish students on campus was tabled after students had waited for five hours to hear the results,” she said. “It was disappointing and showed an extreme lack of care for the students at FSU.”

“During this process, Jewish students and organizational allies have been labeled as right-wing,” Judge concluded. “Student senators have been harassing students for contacting them as their constituents, and Jewish students are being denied a liaison to the Student Government Association itself.”

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