December 13, 2018

Jewish Groups Call on Stanford to ‘Take Immediate Action’ Against Student Who Called for Violence Against Zionists

UPDATE: Stanford University spokesperson E.J. Miranda sent the following statement to the Journal:

Threats of physical violence have absolutely no place in the Stanford community. As we have discussed many times within our campus community, the mission of a university depends on the open exchange of ideas and the sharing of divergent viewpoints, including on controversial issues. At the same time, however, members of our community absolutely must be able to live, work and study at Stanford without fear for their personal safety.

We are actively addressing the issues surrounding the recent Facebook post that was physically threatening to some members of our community. The author of the post amended it to make clear that he does not support physical violence, and he apologized in a personal letter to members of the Jewish community at Stanford. While we recognize these steps taken by the author of the post, we also have an obligation to address the original communication and its effects. Our students must feel they are able to voice their own views on campus without fear of physical retaliation, and they also must feel physically safe in our student residences.

We are addressing these issues now. The author of the post will receive fair and thoughtful consideration, as our work with students demands. In matters involving individual students, privacy laws limit what the university can disclose publicly, and we understand that this may be unsatisfactory to some. We are working to address the issues in a manner that advances our commitment to an inclusive community and a safe campus environment.

ORIGINAL:

Jewish groups are calling on the Stanford administration to “take immediate action” against a student who called for violence against Zionists.

Hamzeh Daoud, who is set to be a resident assistant to a Stanford dormitory, wrote on Facebook that he was going to “physically fight Zionists on campus” who call Israel a “democracy” after the “nation-state” law was passed. Daoud later edited his post to “intellectually fight” and apologized.

In a joint statement, Lawfare Project Board of Directors Chairman Lawrence Hill and its Executive Director Brooke Goldstein, World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder and Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations CEO Malcolm Hoenlein called Zionism “a longstanding and sincerely held religious belief central to the Jewish religion” and pointed out that Daoud is in “a position of power over his peers as an incoming Residential Assistant and former student government member.”

Therefore, they argued that Stanford must take action to rectify the situation.

“There should be no room on any campus for these kinds of threats and intimidation,” the joint statement read. “No students should have to live with threats of physical violence because of who they are. Moreover, the law mandates that minority communities be offered protection from this kind of vicious, bigoted targeting.”

Similarly, Simon Wiesenthal Center Associate Dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper has told Stanford President Dr. Marc Tessier-Lavigne in a letter that Daoud’s comments “demands direct action from your office denouncing his verbal thuggery and threat.”

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) called on Daoud to be expelled in a letter to Tessier-Lavigne.

“Daoud does not support the right of anyone at Stanford to express any support for Israel, a full-fledged member of the United Nations,” the letter states. “Indeed, Daoud has called for supporters of the Jewish State to be “abolished” – i.e., destroyed – and he is determined to achieve that goal.  How he might choose to do it is frightening to think about.”

The letter adds, “You have a moral obligation to protect your campus community from harm.  You have a legal obligation under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act to ensure that Jewish and Israeli students are physically and emotionally safe at Stanford.  Consistent with Stanford’s own policies, Daoud should be expelled immediately.”

Stanford spokesman E.J. Miranda has previously told the Stanford Daily that the university is investigating Daoud’s comments.

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