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The Dartmouth
June 17, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Letter to the Editor: A Plea for Nuance

Arrests didn’t stifle free speech, but an unwillingness to listen has.

Re: Police arrest 90 individuals at pro-Palestinian protest

The community response to the arrests demonstrates the true silencing of students with diverse perspectives — exemplified by a lack of student pro-Israel letters to the editor in The Dartmouth, an apparent sign that students are afraid to speak out.

My support for the existence of a Jewish state in the Jewish peoples’ ancestral and indigenous homeland — even though I oppose Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government — makes me a Zionist, a stance once considered moderate.

But recently, I’ve endured ridicule for my beliefs. Friendships have dissolved into cold looks and unreciprocated greetings. Supporting my Israeli family, one of whom survived the NOVA dance festival massacre on Oct. 7, has come at an immense personal cost.

Many pro-Israel students like myself seek constructive discourse. Dartmouth Students Supporting Israel recently organized an open conversation for people of all beliefs and backgrounds to talk about the encampment and arrests. We imagined such discussions could be productive, even healing. Of the students who attended, only two were non-members. 

Much like the Israel-Hamas war itself, discussions about last Wednesday’s events require compassion and nuance. Yet I have only heard generalizations like “arresting student protesters is never acceptable” and “President Beilock must resign.”

While arresting students should always be the last resort, we must not ignore the broader context of violent and hateful encampment-esque protests taking place at universities across the country. Antisemitic protests at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Rochester have forced my Jewish friends at those universities to live in fear. One friend at Penn, who once proudly wore a Star of David necklace, now hides it beneath their shirt. A rabbi at Columbia University even advised Jewish students to avoid campus for their own safety.

To me and many of my peers, College President Sian Leah Beilock’s response demonstrated an admirable commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of Jewish students. You might disagree, and that’s fine. But true tolerance requires listening to those with whom you disagree, even when it’s uncomfortable.

Oren Poleshuck-Kinel ’26 is a member of Dartmouth Students Supporting Israel. Letters to the Editor represent the views of their author(s), which are not necessarily those of The Dartmouth.