Letter to the Editor: 12/10/15

To the Editors:

I would like to thank the Board for considering my concerns with publishing my November 19 op-ed (“No one should be afraid to express their dissent”). Though the practice of The News-Letter has been to refrain from anonymous publications, I would encourage a reconsideration of this as a blanket policy.

Since its publication, my op-ed has been reported to the AMCHA Initiative’s campus monitor for JHU. Though both my article and the SJP open letter call for a concerted stand against anti-Semitism, anti-Arab prejudice, and Islamophobia, support for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) is assumed to be wholly antithetical. Moreover, accusations of anti-Semitism and the characterization of students as terrorists have shown that calling for Dershowitz to be disinvited from campus and/or MSE has left students vulnerable.

I would also ask for more editorial vigilance. The November 5 op-ed, “Dershowitz is not an anti-Arab Bigot,” accuses SJP of “hurling stones from behind the pages of the school newspaper.” I believe the Board should have redacted this for two reasons: 1) SJP circulated its petition independently, not in the News-Letter; 2) This hateful rhetoric equates fellow students as cowards and terrorists. Lastly, had Noah Feit identified himself as a long-time anti-BDS partisan and co-founder of Ivy Plus, readers would have been better able to connect his attacks as part of the systematic effort to silence dissent and support of BDS by falsely characterizing SJP members as anti-Semitic, terrorists, or both.

In fact, the diverse membership of your SJP is committed to a just resolution for Palestinians and Israelis alike.


Mariam Banahi, Graduate Student
Member of Students for Justice in Palestine


2 responses to “Letter to the Editor: 12/10/15

  1. The SJP is by definition an anti-semitic organization. As an alum I am disgusted that this campus claims they are fighting for diversity when accepting an organization whose very purpose is the annihilation of Jews and the Jewish state. Ms. Banahi has done a very poor job of trying to obfuscate the anti-semitic nature of the organization and by definition her own anti-semitic tendencies as well. I truly hope the administration will investigate her and her organization for promoting a hostile campus.


  2. SJP is not by definition anti-Semitic as you claim. I am not aware of any chapter of SJP that advocates for the annihilation of Jews or the Jewish state. What SJP does support is the end of the Occupation.

    Just because you repeat something over and over again does not make it a fact. There is no evidence of SJP discriminating against any student, staff member, faculty, or alum due to their race, religion, gender identity, etc. In fact, many of our events have been attended by individuals of many background, we have held events with members of Jewish Voice for Peace (of which some of our students are dues paying members of), and have also held events that challenge gender binaries and colonial histories.

    If you would like to learn more about what SJP stands for and the work that we do, try attending a meeting and ask your questions there.


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