A Faculty Response to the “Franklin and Marshall Faculty Statement in Solidarity with Palestine”

By || Undersigned Franklin & Marshall Faculty

This statement represents the views of the undersigned faculty and reflects the views of the undersigned faculty alone, not the Franklin and Marshall Faculty as a whole.

The free exchange of ideas and expressions of points of view is key to the growth and development of a liberal arts institution. The violence in the Middle East that involves both Israelis and Palestinians is heartbreaking and needs to end in a way that respects life and dignity on all sides. In that light, the recent statement “In Solidarity with Palestine” is hyper-simplistic and misguided. It has caused a great deal of sadness, fear, and anger within the Franklin & Marshall Community given its dubious claims and deliberate incendiary and divisive language. Inflammatory rhetoric, like the statement presented, often attempts to alter historical narratives for political ends and places these ends ahead of engaging in a more rigorous and honest examination of the actual conflict itself.

As such, the statement published in the College Reporter on June 23, 2021 does not speak for the entire faculty. More specifically, we present an alternate perspective and present the following:

We strongly reject the use of the libelous term “Jewish supremacy,” as mentioned in the “Solidarity Statement,” to characterize Israel’s founding and governance. We also strongly condemn the assertion that Israel engages in “existential erasure” of the Palestinian people.

We pledge to support efforts on our own campus to continuously and more cogently educate students and the wider community, more accurately, about both Palestinian and Israeli histories and examine ways to garner a respectful dialogue that does not demonize – or essentialize – Jews or Arabs.

We believe there should be greater efforts to build bridges between Arabs, Jews, and other affected parties that are based on respect and dignity and not on highly politicized and/or inaccurate historical narratives.

We affirm that the State of Israel has a right to exist and we condemn the inflammatory rhetoric that demonizes Israel as an illegal state and feeds the current dramatic rise of anti-Semitism both in the United States and abroad.

We affirm the right of the Jewish peoples to determine their own destinies.

We believe that the dubious characterization of Palestinians as colonized victims removes from them any agency as historical actors on their own accord. This mischaracterization takes away the ownership of their decisions and actions and maliciously erases the long history Jewish people have had with the land of Israel over the course of thousands of years.

We firmly stand against statements and actions by groups like Hamas who openly call to exterminate Israel and the Jewish people.

We call on faculty to consider how recent communications that demonize, mischaracterize, and delegitimize Israel negatively impact the campus climate for Jewish students, faculty, staff, alums, and other members of the community. We, too, regret the loss of life, freedoms, and human rights abuses taking place in the Middle East and around the world, including the United States. We encourage all who are concerned about oppression and violence to express those concerns while being mindful of their own power and identities.

In sum, we hope that we can work towards a more honest and respectful approach to end the violence and establish a healthier, more productive and inclusive discourse about the Israel/Palestine conflict at F&M.

Signed,

Jeff Podoshen
Business, Organizations and Society

Eve Bratman
Earth and Environment

Nancy Kurland
Business, Organizations & Society

Marco Di Giulio
Italian, Hebrew, Judaic Studies

Alan Glazer
Business, Organizations & Society

Lynn Brooks, Emerita
Theatre, Dance & Film

Maya Greenshpan
Italian Studies & Hebrew

Amy Zylberman
Acting Director, Klehr Center for Jewish Life

Ralph Taber
Klehr Center for Jewish Life (retired)

Marcy Dubroff
POGIL Project

Rabbi Elazar & Shira Green
Chabad

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