September 18, 2023
Just before Rosh Hashanah, University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill rightfully denounced the inclusion of antisemitic speakers in the Palestine Writes event scheduled for next week noting that “several [of the] speakers … have a documented and troubling history of engaging in antisemitism by speaking and acting in ways that denigrate Jewish people,” and stated that the university “unequivocally -- and emphatically -- condemn[s] antisemitism as antithetical to our institutional values.”
Since this event was announced, American Jewish Committee (AJC) has been in close contact with Jewish students at the University of Pennsylvania, along with Jewish organizations on campus, and university administrators. By now, the four departments sponsoring and partnering on the event - The Kelly Writers House, Penn Cinema and Media Studies Department, the Middle East Center, and Near Eastern Language and Cultures Department - should have learned enough about the venomous antisemitism spewed by some of the participants to condemn their inclusion in this event and make it clear that they are not welcome. They should understand that “speaking and acting in ways that denigrate Jewish people” should never be acceptable on Penn’s campus.
We join Penn Jewish students in calling on the university and the departments involved with the event to acknowledge the pain this is causing Jewish students and to reassert the institutional values that are now at risk.