November 15, 2019
Contact: Avi D. Gordon, Executive Director Alums for Campus Fairness
917-512-4585, [email protected]
Last night, a student group called Vassar Organizing Israel Conversations Effectively (VOICE) held an event titled “The Indigenous Jews of the Middle East: Forgotten Refugees” with renowned Israeli speaker Hen Mazzig. Several students, apparently from Vassar’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter, attempted to shut down the event with loud chanting, including antisemitic rally cries. They also crowded the entrances to the event in an obvious attempt to intimidate students from attending.
Fairness to Israel (FTI), the Vassar College chapter of Alums for Campus Fairness, immediately alerted President Elizabeth Bradley to the situation as soon as some FTI members learned of it. President Bradley responded quickly to their concerns and today issued a statement that recognizes that the protesters violated school policy with respect to engaging in peaceful protest. The statement indicates that there will be consequences for the students’ actions.
The protesting students improperly interfered with their fellow students’ right to hear a speaker speak positively about Israel. And equally concerning, these students engaged in antisemitic rhetoric. They chanted “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”, which explicitly calls for the destruction of the Jewish state and the ethnic cleansing of Jews from the Land of Israel, as speaker Hen Mazzig spoke about his great grandfather’s hanging at the hands of anti-Zionists. FTI condemns any antisemitic protest at Vassar College in the strongest possible terms. We must not allow Vassar to become a campus that fosters antisemitism and shuts down voices that challenge the anti-Zionist ideology.
FTI is thankful that President Elizabeth Bradley and her administration ensured that the event proceeded, and commends them for committing to taking disciplinary action. We are here to support the Jewish community on campus and we call on the broader Vassar community to join us in this effort.
About ACF: Alums for Campus Fairness (ACF) is America’s unified alumni voice on issues of antisemitism, demonization of Israel, and bigotry. With over thirty-five chapters, ACF positions thousands of alumni on the front lines of key issues at their alma maters and works to ensure that universities remain pillars of open dialogue and equal opportunity for all students. For more information, please visit www.campusfairness.org.