An anonymous student newspaper at Amherst College is under fire for publishing a piece that was initially titled “In Defense of Hamas” in their second Fall 2022 issue.
The Amherst Contra piece, which does not appear to be online yet although a print version of it has gone viral on social media, called Hamas “the perennial boogeyman of discussions on Israel-Palestine” and that while they may very well be a terror group, “Israel and the U.S. government are equally as violent and less justified.” The anonymous piece argued that Hamas’ violence is “a drop in a pool” compared to the U.S. and Israel, accusing the latter of murdering and torturing Palestinian civilians. It goes onto say that Hamas violence against is “far more morally justified” than Israeli actions against Hamas because “violent resistance groups” are the result of “constant human rights abuses.” The author concluded the piece that by stating that discussions about Hamas are merely attempts to obfuscate from Israel’s “decades of systematic apartheid and oppression.” The piece online has been renamed to “Recontextualizing Hamas” after the Contra acknowledged that “the original title did not accurately reflect the content of the article, and was extremely inflammatory, which shut down the possibility of any meaningful discussion before it could even begin.”
— StopAntisemitism (@StopAntisemites) October 20, 2022
Jewish groups condemned the piece.
“Glorifying a foreign terror organization that espouses #antisemitism and hate, and is responsible for the killing of so many innocent Israelis, Americans and others, is inexcusable,” Anti-Defamation League New England tweeted. “We expect @AmherstCollege to speak out against this dangerous and misguided article.”
Glorifying a foreign terror organization that espouses #antisemitism and hate, and is responsible for the killing of so many innocent Israelis, Americans and others, is inexcusable. We expect @AmherstCollege to speak out against this dangerous and misguided article. https://t.co/Nct2z2zeOt
— ADL New England (@ADL_NewEngland) October 20, 2022
StandWithUs CEO and Co-Founder Roz Rothstein also said in a statement to the Journal, “Publishing a defense of an internationally recognized terrorist organization that promotes murder and targets innocent civilians in Israel, and uses its own people as human shields, is beyond appalling. Justifying this terrorism as a tactic to paint Israel as being terror-driven, when it is in fact driven by its responsibility to protect its citizens of all backgrounds, is dishonest and slanderous. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has been praised by military experts around the world for its maximum promotion of morals and ethics during and between conflicts. To attempt to state otherwise, particularly anonymously, simply showcases cowardice and bigotry. Amherst’s administration must condemn this justification of violence against Jews and Israelis of all faiths, a group of people who share an identity with members of the Amherst community, in the strongest of terms and take measures to ensure their safety on campus.”
Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action Agenda at the Simon Wiesenthal Center Rabbi Abraham Cooper also said in a statement, “It is no surprise that more mindless snowflake elites at our nation’s most expensive universities provide platforms for groups like Hamas whose antisemitic founding charter quotes from the infamous Protocols of Elders of Zion and has in word and deed till this day, devoted all of its energies to murdering Jews and whose leaders conveniently urge other parents to use Palestinian children as cannon fodder for their terrorism. The only difference between Hamas and Nazi Germany is that Hamas does not yet have the capacity to fulfill its genocidal goals in eliminating the lone Jewish state in the world and its nearly 10 million citizens.”
CAMERA on Campus similarly tweeted, “Attempts to whitewash the murderous actions of a terrorist org hell-bent on killing Jews are downright dangerous & an affront to Jewish students. @AmherstCollege, care to address this pro-Hamas propaganda?”
An Amherst College student-led paper published a piece defending Hamas.
Attempts to whitewash the murderous actions of a terrorist org hell-bent on killing Jews are downright dangerous & an affront to Jewish students.@AmherstCollege, care to address this pro-Hamas propaganda? pic.twitter.com/S5JFBleXKb
— CAMERA on Campus (@CAMERAonCampus) October 20, 2022
Amherst College said in a statement to the Journal, “This anonymous student publication represents the opinion of its author, and it does not purport to be a statement on behalf of the College or the larger student body. Amherst prizes and defends freedom of speech and the freedom to dissent in a respectful manner. As the College’s statement on academic and expressive freedom states, ‘At times, the desire to foster a climate of mutual respect may test the college’s duty to protect and promote the unfettered exchange of ideas. On such occasions, the college’s obligations remain clear. The liberal arts cannot thrive absent the freedom to espouse and debate ideas that are unpopular, controversial, discomfiting—and even seemingly wrongheaded or offensive.’”
This article has been updated.