LTTE: Open letter to President Kaler from CWRU’s Students for Justice in Palestine

SJP CWRU

Dear President Eric Kaler,

Case Western Reserve University’s Students for Justice in Palestine, alongside 13 different cosigning organizations, would like to issue a formal response to the email you sent to the campus community in regards to the Undergraduate Student Government passing Resolution 31-15.

In your campus-wide address on Nov. 9, you declared the efforts of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) in passing Resolution 31-15 as “hateful,” “naive’’ and “anti-semitic.” Resolution 31-15 seeks only to investigate CWRU’s investment in companies and institutions that are potentially contributing to the death and suffering of minorities within Israel and its occupied territories, the global military industrial complex and the global prison industrial complex. Resolution 31-15 was debated through open, respectful dialogue and ultimately passed by individuals who have been democratically chosen to represent our undergraduate student body. The members of SJP seek to foster an open dialogue with you in hopes of reaching an understanding. The students of CWRU have shown support for Resolution 31-15 and we urge the administration to implement the outlined conditions.

Students for Justice in Palestine and its allied organizations recognize and acknowledge the concerns of Jewish students on this campus. We validate the fears expressed by our Jewish peers and we are intent on taking a stand against the very real and growing threat of antisemitism in this country and world. The requests of Resolution 31-15 do not seek to spread hate nor are they inherently antisemitic. Resolution 31-15 asserts a legitimate criticism of the actions of the Israeli government, and does not target the Jewish community as a whole. The argument that a vote against Israel is one against the Jewish members of our community makes an extremely nuanced conversation morally impenetrable. We must be able to acknowledge when atrocities occur, and we reserve the right as students to request that our university investigate their financial support of said atrocities.

Your statement lacked consideration for the impact your words would have on the students whom you have been appointed to care for. It is evident that you have only prioritized the safety and concerns of the Jewish members of our community, as shown in your meeting with Cleveland Hillel. While you are not at fault for supporting a group of students—who have expressed concern for their safety and well-being on this campus–you have simultaneously chosen to neglect a community who has also conveyed concerns for their safety. This one-sided sympathy is further emphasized by your failure to meet with Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), the Muslim Student Association (MSA) or the Middle Eastern Cultural Assocation (MECA).

It is thus imperative that the voices of students are respected and taken into full consideration. Your desire to ensure that CWRU should be a “welcoming place for all” is contradicted by the fact that this statement draws negative attention to other voices. As the university president, you have power and influence on this campus, and to so rashly dismiss the voices of students acting in a democratic manner is irresponsible. This abuse of power has caused irrefutable harm and has placed a target on the backs of Palestinian students, members of USG and every student standing in solidarity. In the interest of student well-being, we expect a community-wide statement addressing the concerns this letter has outlined. Furthermore, we would like to request a public meeting with you and representatives of Students for Justice in Palestine. We make these requests with the desire to educate people on all sides of the issue, alleviate student concerns and pursue the investigation outlined in Resolution 31-15.

 

Signed,

 

Students for Justice in Palestine

The African Students’ Association Exec. 

The Black Student Union

The Brotherhood

CWRU African American Society

First CWRU

Global Ethical Leaders Society

La-Alianza

The Middle Eastern Cultural Association 

Muslim Law Students Association 

Muslim Student Association

Pakistani Students Association

Student Sustainability Council

Western Reserve Abolition Project