Letter of Disapproval for the Actions of the Brandeis Students for Justice in Palestine and members of the Brandeis Jewish Voice for Peace sign now

On April 4th, 2011, 6 ministers of the Israeli Knesset (Parliament) were invited to speak at an open town hall event at Brandeis University. During a question and answer session, several students rose from their seats and began shouting at Avi Dichter, a Minister representing the Kadima Party. They continued shouting and acting rambunctiously until they were escorted out. Not only was this done during a question and answer session, which innately fosters discussion, but it was offensive to the Ministers of Israeli Knesset, who were invited guests of our university. As hosts, we have a duty to offer our respect to our guests.

The students succeeded in disrespecting foreign dignitaries and distinguished guests of the university in a manner which is inconsistent with the spirit of free speech. The students demonstrated actions which temporarily halted academic discussion and the open-minded attitude which this university holds of paramount importance. Counter to the beliefs inherent within Brandeis, the students refused open discourse and ignored the need for respect of other individuals. They attempted to express their first amendment rights by means of a dramatically discourteous cessation of a peaceful and informative dialogue.

Regardless of the opinions of the Israeli Ministers of the Knesset who were invited guests of the university, their beliefs are necessary to understand the dynamic of the Israeli government through their eyes. A rational approach would have been to ask questions and request answers, which some of the offending students did actually do. Notwithstanding the opinions of the students, their tactics overlooked the need for decorum, basic humanity, and respect.

We believe that these actions also violated the rights of the members of the Brandeis community by infringing on their rights to hear distinguished guests. These actions shame the university in the public arena. If future visitors to this academy refuse to speak publicly due to fear of passionate students and organizations, it would certainly be an injustice to the quality of education offered at Brandeis. This is grand theft of the opportunities that could be afforded to future students as they may not experience the same rich and diverse speaker core that these disruptive students currently take for granted. It is one thing to hold a demonstration, but it is another to be ill-mannered, stifle free speech, and impede academic discourse. If someone doesnt appreciate a speaker, they retain the right to refrain from attending the presentation.

We would like the students and any supporters to know that although their opinions may deserve some form of discussion, they are creating a negative and hateful atmosphere on campus. We, the undersigned, would like to express our intent disapproval of the actions exhibited on behalf of the Brandeis Students for Justice in Palestine club, and by the campus leaders of the Jewish Voice for Peace organization. We welcome thirst for knowledge, but we denounce aspirations to be disruptive members of society.

We disapprove of their counterproductive tactics. They do not promote peace in this manner, but only generate backlash and criticism of our venerated university. We refuse to tolerate such an atmosphere at this institution of higher education. Brandeis may maintain a reputation for liberality, but not for closing avenues of discussion.

We sign this letter in an apolitical, nonpartisan manner. We sign this letter as a declaration of diplomatic means to a sustainable future. We want everyone to know that groups which thrive on these disorderly tactics are unwelcome. We care about this campus and we hope that our concerns are heeded.

Respectfully yours,

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Sabrina MitchellBy:
SustainabilityIn:
Petition target:
Greater Brandeis Community and Global Audience

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