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The Dartmouth
April 14, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Letter to the Editor: Addressing Antisemitism at Dartmouth Requires A Focused Response

The administration only needed to condemn antisemitism in their response to the recent threats specifically targeting Jewish students and professors.

Re: Email sent to Dartmouth threatening to attack Jewish students, professors found to be a hoax

Hate against all groups, Islamophobia and antisemitism alike, have no place at Dartmouth. However, a recent administration email response to violent antisemitic threats that specifically targeted against Jewish students and professors fell short. Instead of a strong, clear condemnation of antisemitism, the administration minimized the severity of antisemitism by only addressing it along with “Islamophobia and any form of hate.” 

To be clear, the threats only targeted Dartmouth’s the Jewish community. The administration’s initial broad-bush response inadvertently undermined the specific needs and anxieties of the directly targeted Jewish community.

Broadening the focus diverted attention from the immediate threat and minimized its severity. This, in turn, fueled troubling discussions on platforms such as Fizz, where students misrepresented and dismissed the seriousness of the antisemitic threats. One student even went so far as to claim, “Students are crying out against a nonexistent threat.”

Such dismissive attitudes disregard the very real experiences of Jewish students nationwide. According to an Hillel poll, one-third of Jewish college students feel forced to hide their Jewish identity and two-thirds of Jewish students feel unsafe. At Dartmouth, the swastika graffitied on the Green last spring and the vandalized menorah in 2020 serve as stark reminders of this reality.

Any response to hate must be clear and specific. Just as any Islamophobic threat should be condemned unequivocally as Islamophobic, antisemitic threats should be condemned unequivocally as antisemitic. When such an incident occurs, we must not dilute the message in a greater discussion of hate. Such a discussion should come after the immediate issue is acknowledged and addressed with the seriousness it deserves.

The administration has the power to rectify this issue. They should issue a follow-up email that directly acknowledges the nature of the antisemitic threats and reaffirms their commitment to combating antisemitism. Only then can they create a safe and inclusive environment for all students and faculty.

Oren Poleshuck-Kinel is a member of the class of 2026. Opinion articles represent the views of their author(s), which are not necessarily those of The Dartmouth.