[Marxism] Student Coalition at Stanford Confronts Allegations of Anti-Semitism

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Apr 15 07:52:59 MDT 2015


The article states:

	Lisa Lapin, a Stanford spokeswoman, said that officials had found 
“conflicting accounts of what occurred” and expanded the investigation 
after The Stanford Review, a student publication that has criticized the 
Students of Color Coalition in the past, published an article about Ms. 
Horwitz.

But it fails to identify the Stanford Review as the campus conservative 
magazine. A search for "Israel" on the magazine reveals articles such as 
"Labeling Israel an Apartheid State is Offensive, Incorrect, and Malicious".


NY Times, Apr. 15 2015
Student Coalition at Stanford Confronts Allegations of Anti-Semitism
By JENNIFER MEDINA

LOS ANGELES — The debate over what constitutes anti-Semitism has spilled 
into Stanford University’s student government election, with a Jewish 
student claiming that she was asked how her Judaism affects her view of 
divestment from Israel, morphing what was a contest about campus issues 
into a fierce discussion on identity and loyalties.

Like other candidates, Molly Horwitz, a junior from Milwaukee, was eager 
to receive an endorsement from the Students of Color Coalition, an 
umbrella group that has helped dozens win seats in the student senate. 
Ms. Horwitz, who was adopted from Paraguay, wrote extensively in her 
application about navigating both Jewish and Latino circles. Like many 
other students, she had paid close attention to the campus debate over 
divestment earlier this year.

But Ms. Horwitz said that what happened in the interview with the 
student coalition left her shocked and horrified. After talking about 
issues such as student mental health services with the eight 
representatives, Ms. Horwitz said, the interview changed topic: “Given 
your Jewish identity, how would you vote on divestment?”

“I was really taken aback by the question, and it took me a minute to 
process it, so I asked for clarification to make sure I knew what they 
were really asking,” Ms. Horwitz said in an interview. “They said they 
saw in my application that I had a strong Jewish identity, and how would 
that impact my decision?”

Ms. Horwitz said that she responded by explaining that while she was 
supportive of the process the student senate had used to vote in favor 
of urging Stanford to divest, she opposed divestment and found the 
ultimate outcome of the vote disappointing. “There was an awkward 
silence, and the interview ended a minute later,” Ms. Horwitz said. 
Although she did not receive the group’s endorsement, she is still a 
candidate in the election, which begins Thursday.

Tianay Pulphus, the president of the campus chapter of the N.A.A.C.P., 
said that Ms. Horwitz’s charge was “baseless.”

“At no point was she asked whether her Jewish identity impacted her view 
on divestment,” said Ms. Pulphus, a senior who was one of the students 
who conducted the interview. “We ask all candidates how they would 
navigate issues that have come up in the previous year. We in no way 
singled out a candidate based on their ethnic or religious identity.”

Ms. Horwitz, like others interviewed, was asked about a range of issues 
including sexual assault and mental health services, Ms. Pulphus said, 
and her view on divestment was not the basis of the coalition’s decision.

Stanford officials are investigating the incident, as well as charges 
that the Students of Color Coalition, a group that unites six campus 
groups representing blacks, Latinos, Asians and Muslims and that 
supported the proposal for divestment, asked its endorsed candidates to 
sign a contract promising not to affiliate with Jewish groups on campus. 
The coalition denied both charges in an article in The Stanford Daily on 
Tuesday, which was published along with an account by Ms. Horwitz.

This is not the first time the roiling debate on college campuses over 
divestment from Israel has led to charges of anti-Semitism. Earlier this 
year, students at the University of California, Los Angeles, asked a 
Jewish student who was a candidate for a campus judicial committee 
whether her religion would influence her decision-making. While that 
incident was captured on film and in official minutes, the case at 
Stanford is far more murky, with no official record.

“Allegations that any of our endorsees are precluded from affiliating 
with or receiving endorsements from other groups are unfounded,” the 
Students of Color Coalition wrote. “We reject the notion that religious 
or cultural identification might prevent someone from being an effective 
senator. Such a stance is in direct conflict with S.O.C.C. values.”

Stanford’s undergraduate senate voted in February to ask the university 
to divest from companies doing business in the West Bank as a way of 
punishing Israel, but the university’s board of trustees said Tuesday 
that such a decision would be divisive and it would not take up the 
matter again.

After her interview with the coalition, Ms. Horwitz filed a complaint 
with university officials, who met with her and promised a swift 
investigation.

Lisa Lapin, a Stanford spokeswoman, said that officials had found 
“conflicting accounts of what occurred” and expanded the investigation 
after The Stanford Review, a student publication that has criticized the 
Students of Color Coalition in the past, published an article about Ms. 
Horwitz. The article also said that the student group had asked 
candidates it chose to endorse to sign a contract prohibiting 
affiliation with Jewish groups, and Ms. Lapin said university officials 
were investigating that as well.

“This is a particularly important teaching moment,” said Vlad Khaykin, 
the associate director of the Central Pacific Region of the 
Anti-Defamation League. “Having aspersions cast on their ability to 
reflect the interest of the student body on the basis that they are 
Jewish is obviously very troubling to us. The university needs to make 
it clear to students and student groups that singling out identity and 
questioning on those kind of issues is discriminatory.”

But several students interviewed on campus said they did not see it as 
problematic to connect a stance on divestment with Judaism.

Julia Duncan, a freshman from the Bay Area, said that Ms. Horwitz and 
other candidates should have expected such questions.

“It’s not entirely discriminatory to know your take on divestment,” she 
said. “It is their money, and they do have their political agenda. And 
if their stance is pro-Palestine, I think it’s a fair question.”

During the debate over divestment earlier this year, Ms. Horwitz wrote 
several posts on Facebook against it. Miriam Pollock, a friend and 
campaign manager for Ms. Horwitz, said in an interview Tuesday that 
before Ms. Horwitz started gathering signatures for her campaign, the 
two scrubbed her Facebook page to hide all posts indicating support for 
Israel, including a photograph of a pair of shoes decorated to look like 
the Israeli flag.

“We did it not because she isn’t proud — she is — but the campus climate 
has been pretty hostile, and it would not be politically expedient to 
take a public stance,” Ms. Pollock said. “She didn’t want that to be a 
main facet of her platform. Of course she was going to be honest if she 
was asked about her stance on divestment.”




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