In Support of “Franklin and Marshall Faculty Statement in Solidarity with Palestine”

By || The undersigned alumni of Franklin and Marshall College

We, the undersigned alumni of Franklin & Marshall College, are proud of the Franklin & Marshall Faculty Statement in Solidarity with Palestine and the faculty’s brave stance against Israeli Apartheid.

The statement, which was published on June 22, 2021, comes at a time when Palestine solidarity on college campuses and other places of work is often punished. The punishment comes from the dishonest, deliberate, and strategic false equivalency of the criticism of the Israeli government and its abhorrent policies towards Palestinians with anti-Semitism. Such accusation serves as a strawman to distract the public from the cruel conditions that Israel has systematically created for Palestinians and aims to silence dissent. We reject such equivalency, just as we reject prejudice in all its forms, including anti-Semitism. 

The F&M Leadership Team, composed of President Altmann, Provost Wesson, and VP of DEI Hathaway, released an alarming message on June 25, 2021, to F&M alumni and families implying that the Franklin & Marshall Faculty Statement in Solidarity with Palestine is connected to anti-Semitism. While we echo the commitment of the F&M Leadership Team to fight anti-Semitism along with all other forms of racism, discrimination, and intolerance, we reject the message’s implied connection. F&M, as a highly regarded academic institution, must explicitly differentiate between anti-Semitism and standing up for Palestinian human rights, regardless of how uncomfortable it feels to read about the Apartheid reality on the ground.

We are also disappointed that the F&M Leadership Team did not mention Palestinians once in their message, failing to recognize their pain and suffering of living under Israeli military occupation. F&M cannot reap the rewards of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion by speaking out on injustice only when it is deemed safe and financially lucrative. We ask, do Palestinian lives not matter at F&M? Are Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights not worthy of recognition? 

The F&M Leadership Team also committed to working with the Klehr Center for Jewish Life “to offer programs and discussions for the F&M campus community” to engage with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the academic year. How can the F&M Leadership Team claim that F&M’s role is “to promote opportunities for learning, discussion, and connection in an environment that prizes diversity of thought and cultivates a sense of belonging for all,” how can Palestinian students feel that they belong at F&M, without assurances of working with Palestinians and including their voices, particularly those living under Israeli Apartheid, in the College programs and discussions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Therefore, we demand that this commitment is extended to Palestinian students and their allies.

We echo the faculty in standing by Human Rights Watch and the Israeli human rights organization B’tselem in rightfully calling Israel’s systemic discrimination and violence against Palestinians as Apartheid. The two reports only reaffirm what Palestinians who live under this inhumane system have been arguing for decades. We salute the faculty’s affirmation of commitment to speaking out in defense of the rights and dignity of the Palestinian people. We, too, join the faculty in rededicating ourselves to working against all forms of racism, colonialism, and injustice wherever they may be. Our decision comes from our deep understanding that Palestine is an intersectional cause. It is vested in the common and shared experiences of racial and gendered subjugation and systemic domination of oppressed people around the world.

We urge the administration to meet the moment and stand by their students and faculty who speak out against Israeli atrocities and to extend its support to Palestinian students and alumni.

The hurt and disappointed voices of alumni of Franklin & Marshall College,

Mohammed Alhammami ‘15

Yara Ibrahim ‘19

Fatou Keita ‘16

Kofi Alorzuke ‘16

Dr. Gwendolyn Poles-Corker ‘75

Lori Knuth ‘00

Ahmed Barakat ‘20

Terissa Cuffie ‘09

Kartsen Bratt-Pfotenhauer ‘17

Ignacio Picado Fallas ‘17 

Jahan Choudhry ‘15

Trexler Hirn ‘18

Karli DeRego ‘18

S.S ‘19

Pawan Singh ‘19

Emma Kapner ‘19

Liza Munk ‘14

Tom Cronin ‘16

Julius Stoma ‘20

Colleen Gallagher ‘16

Syed Saquib ‘17

Abby Lawlor ‘17

Gaby Sallai ‘19

Sage Salvo ‘17

Thanh Nguyen ‘20 

Surya Rahman ‘20

Livia Meneghin ‘15

Julia Bevan ‘20 

Katie Machen ‘15

Dylan Brandt ‘21

Sophie Marchionne ’19

Teresa Norman ‘19

Rachel Dolan ‘21

Marissa Maze ‘20

Sanela Ombasic ‘14

Arnela Ombasic ‘14

Mariama Barry ‘20

Erin Moyer ‘16

Ilana Hirsh ‘17

Morgan Kincade ‘16

Will Kay ‘20

Taina Perez ‘20

Sandra Sanchez ‘20

Lauren Matt ‘18

William H. Vanderberg ‘76

Bryan Jennings ‘09

Shannon Potts ‘09

Paolo Caglioti ‘21

Toun Shoyoye ‘19

Adri Macrina ‘21

Waleed Kamal Butt ‘21

Jo Bear ‘21

Carl Patterson ‘16

Guadalupe Razo ‘20

Emily Ritchey ‘20

Hormuz Masani ‘10

Haley McAllister ‘21

Benjamin Grove ‘20

Elisjana Beqiri ‘20

Cesar Cortorreal ‘20

Zachary Epps ‘20

Hayat Rahmeto ‘19

Brandon Davis ‘19

Daniel Rairigh ‘16

Abby Morenigbade ‘18

Mira Lerner ‘20

Rana Sinangil ‘18

Brianna Papoutsis ‘21

Eloisa Almaraz ‘11

Sara Albrecht Soto ‘17

Lee Scaralia ‘19

Horace Facey ‘19

Kojo Clarke ‘08

Angela Lacerna ‘19

Winniebell” Xinyu Zong ‘18

Kevin Ruiz ‘20

Chandrakant Dhanraj ‘20

Kayleigh Hughes ‘19

Genevieve Rohrer ‘18

Angela Ling ‘19

Emily Ly ‘20

Member of the class of 2019

Karolina Heleno ‘18

Mary Chiang ‘18

Lia Tavarez ‘20

Member of the class of 2021

Member of the class of 2019

Peter Merani ‘18 

Stephanie Alvarez ’13

Morelia Guzmán ‘21 

Layth Ismail ‘17

Anne Kolesnikoff ‘13

Jory Lerback ‘13

Diane Rushemeza ‘21

Elisa Panciu ‘21

Wyatt Behringer ’18 

Grace Adams ‘18

James Nelson ‘17

Sara Juarez-Mendoza ‘20

Douglas Benton ‘17

Sean Hyland ‘18

Tanzima Ummi ‘19

Jennifer Creel ‘16

Ifra Asad ‘13

Momina Sibtain ‘10

Matthew Levy ‘18

Sam Patzkowsky ‘20

Uzziel Sanchez ‘20

Harmony Zhao ‘20

DA ‘21

Francis Blancero ‘13

Megan Ferrel ‘18

M. M. ‘21

Victoria Bonidie ‘20

Allison Klei ‘21

Kaycee Green ‘20

Samantha Tran ‘21

J. D. ‘20

Nancy Le ‘20

Jared Benjamin ‘20

Yosvany Rodriguez ‘18 

Kim Espinal ‘21

Emily Meneghin ‘15

Moyu Chen ‘21

Daniela Charris ‘19

S. Y. ‘20

Nicole Maurici ‘16

S. H ‘18

Margaret Ingmanson ‘21

Nicholas T. Riebel ‘17

Kate McKiernan ‘13

Shadoe Tarver ‘10

Efrain A. Nunez ‘15

Julia Byun ‘18

Anna Catherine Grady ‘19

Kabir Hossain ‘16

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If you would like to learn more about Palestine, past, and present, please find a variety of resources that we (the undersigned) compiled here!

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