George Washington University President Calls for Civility After Antisemitic, Anti-Zionist Incidents
George Washington University on Wednesday called for civility, following an antisemitic incident and the staging of an anti-Israel demonstration outside the school’s Hillel center on the second night of Sukkot.
“The George Washington University strongly condemns antisemitism and hatred, discrimination, and bias in all forms,” university officials said a letter signed by president Mark S. Wrighton and three other high level officials. “Each of us is pained by the harm caused by recent that appeared targeted to members of our community based on their Jewish faith or their affiliation with Hillel.”
The profanity-laden demonstration against a former member of the Israeli Defence Forces speaking at the University outraged national and local Jewish groups and raised concerns about the safety of Jewish students. Just days earlier, flyers saying “Zionist f*** off” appeared around campus.
In Wednesday’s letter, Wrighton challenged students to be a “model for engaging in meaningful discussions even when we disagree.”
“We need to be willing to engage in this important work together,” it continued. “We hope that move forward with a readiness to consider our own thinking and understanding, while continuing to find ways of advocating for what we believe in as individuals and as members of the university community.”
On Friday, Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, director of AMCHA Initiative, a nonprofit that monitors antisemitism in higher education, told The Algemeiner that similar treatment of any other identity group would be unequivocally condemned by university officials.
“No other campus identity group is routinely subjected to the same level of well-orchestrated campaigns of identity assault that Zionist and pro-Israel students are subjected to,” she said. “If this relentless assault on campus identity were directed against any other identity on campus, what would your response be?”
Rossman-Benjamin urged the university update school policies to ensure that all reports of identity based harassment are treated “equally for every single GWU student.”
“Harassment is harassment no matter which identity group it is directed at,” she added.