Open Letter to Princeton Regarding Antisemitism

Dear President Eisgruber, Provost Rexford, and Members of the Board of Trustees:

Following Hamas’s October 7th terrorist attack, global antisemitism has skyrocketed. Jews in the United States are experiencing a crisis of physical safety and societal belonging. As current and former Princetonians, we are horrified to see this hate infiltrating our campus, and we are disturbed by the University’s silence – especially in light of its timely condemnations of other forms of racism and hatred. 

Our concerns stem from multiple videos circulating on social media and from numerous undergraduates who have described the on-campus environment. 

In two recent rallies on October 25 and November 9, Jewish students report being told by protestors "you are committing genocide." Holding Jewish people collectively responsible for Israel’s perceived injustices is antisemitic, according to the definition of antisemitism “embraced” by the United States.

Other Jewish students attempting to record the rallies have been followed, harassed, and physically stepped on, i.e., assaulted, by protestors. This behavior likely violates the University’s Rights, Rules and Responsibilities

Protestors repeatedly called for “Intifada.” Despite its etymology, this word is unforgettably associated with years-long periods of bloody terror attacks, formally called the First and Second Intifadas. Protestors chanted explicitly for Intifada “from Princeton to Gaza,” which is easily understood as a call to violence on our campus. Among the most chilling chants was “There is only one solution, Intifada revolution!” This phrasing echoes Hitler’s Final Solution, which was a plan to systematically annihilate Europe’s Jews. Protected or not, this speech is egregiously hateful and threatening to Jews on campus. 

Whether to University chaplains or to their Residential College deans, dozens of Jewish students have reported feeling physically unsafe on campus. Dismayed by the lackluster institutional response, they have reached out to alumni for support. 

Together, we ask: What is happening on our campus? What is happening to our campus?  

Without infringing on rights to free expression, the following concrete actions — done now, before the situation further deteriorates — will help ensure the University remains a place for Jewish students, faculty and staff to thrive:

  • Release a Statement 

    Release a statement underlining the University’s emphatic support for Jewish students, faculty and staff, along with clear steps for how Princeton plans to ensure that it can never become yet another hotbed of antisemitism. President Eisgruber has released statements unequivocally condemning racism. In them, he writes “we all have an obligation to stand up against racism, wherever and whenever we find it.” That obligation extends to Jewish Princetonians – especially now. 

  • Educate Students about Antisemitism

    So long as it is the University’s position to provide antiracism training, the University should provide training to both identify and combat antisemitism. Any current such efforts should be bolstered. Princeton has both practical and moral grounds to do so, and chants at recent rallies strongly suggest such education is overdue.

  • Create a Task Force to Combat Antisemitism on Campus

    The University should convene experts to transparently monitor and address the state of antisemitism on campus. We recommend it begins by ensuring the physical safety of Jews on campus, identifying root causes of antisemitism’s spread, and helping Princeton’s CPS counselors to more effectively service Jewish students, faculty and staff. 

We students, alumni, faculty and staff have long been proud members of Princeton University’s community. It is our hope that the University’s compelling response to our concerns will reinforce – and in some cases, revive – our sense of belonging. 

Following the 85th anniversary of Kristallnacht and the bloodiest attack on Jews since the Holocaust, it is paramount to stand steadfast in support of the equal treatment and wellbeing of Jews at Princeton.

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Current Signatories - 1842
(Count updated 11/29/2023 21:00 ET; names below updated 11/29/2023 21:00 ET)
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