AMCHA’S Responses to Antisemitic Activity at Kent State University
1. Four student groups – Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), Spanish and Latino Student Association (SALSA), Ohio Student Association and Muslim Students Association (MSA) – demanded the University remove the image of revered late Israeli leader Golda Meir and an inspirational quote of her from a University building’s wall containing quotes from inspirational leaders.
- INCIDENT: On November 1, 2016, the President of SJP published an op-ed in the independent news site for Kent State University requesting that a picture and quote of Golda Meir be removed from campus. On November 20, 2016, an Associate Professor in the department of Political Science, Joshua Stacher, published an op-ed in the school newspaper in defense of removing late prime minister Golda Meir’s picture and quote from a campus building. The University responded that the building will be entirely painted over in the near future, and when that occurs, all quotes in the building will be painted over, but that they would not take down the Golda Meir quote as a special act at this time. On November 22, 2016, Palestine Legal wrote a letter to President Warren falsely contending that the display “threatens their [Palestinian Arab and Muslim students’] ability to access equal educational opportunities at Kent State” in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.
- 12/8/16 – AMCHA’S RESPONSE: AMCHA Initiative joined a 5-organization letter coordinated by Zionist Organization of America and co-signed by CAMERA, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East and the Simon Weisenthal Center that said, “…let us be clear: It is not Golda Meir in particular whom SJP and its allies find offensive. SJP would object to any Israeli being featured in a display at Kent State, unless the Israeli shared SJP’s animus toward the Jewish state. SJP’s antipathy to the one and only Jewish state in the world is anti-Semitic. And Palestine Legal’s claim that Title VI is somehow implicated here shows a complete misunderstanding of the law. A photo and stirring quote from Golda Meir do not in any way interfere with the right of Palestinian Arab and Muslim students ‘to speak out in favor of Palestinian freedom.’ These students cannot twist the law to squelch the expression of views with which they disagree.”