An Open Letter to the University of Washington School of Law:

An Open Letter to the University of Washington School of Law:

We write to express our deep disappointment in the decision to allow Kenneth Marcus, sponsored by the Brandeis Center and StandWithUs Northwest, to share his work with students under the banner of “social justice.” Despite emphatic objections from students, local community members, and professional colleagues, the UW Law School has continued to extend institutional support for Marcus’ event by sponsoring and advertising it as part of the school’s Social Justice Tuesdays series.

We also write to inform the larger UW community of these organizations’ histories of collaborating with explicitly racist and anti-gay organizations; their notoriety for doxing, harassing, and intimidating activists and academics who oppose their rhetoric; their campaign in academic settings to label both political criticism of Israel and Palestinian rights activism as anti-Semitic; and the ways in which this campaign propagates Islamophobia and Anti-Arab racism.

In response to the local National Lawyers Guild’s request that the University not afford Kenneth Marcus a platform as part of social justice programming, Dean Testy wrote, “We are deeply committed to equity and inclusion at UW and to modeling respectful dialogue on difficult issues.” We are disheartened that Dean Testy has failed to understand how the work of Kenneth Marcus and his supporting organizations undermines the basic principles of equity and inclusion. Instead, these organizations work to censor speech on campuses across the country, suppress academic diversity, marginalize Arab and Muslim students, and elide the political and ideological diversity within the Jewish community.

Combatting anti-Semitism is necessary work. This work must be done from an anti-racist perspective and with a commitment to addressing the close relationship between Zionism, Islamophobia, and anti-Black racism. As we address anti-Semitism, we must do so with an understanding of interconnected forms of oppression. A campaign that insists the oppression of Palestinian people is necessary is antithetical to social justice. We refuse to accept their co-optation of our movements’ language and their infiltration into our movements’ spaces.

Kenneth Marcus and the campaign to redefine anti-Semitism

The campaign to enforce a particular definition of anti-Semitism on college campuses is funded in part by the Israeli Government and is a backlash to the gains of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement around the world. Kenneth Marcus seeks to blur the important distinction between criticism of Israel as a nation-state and anti-Semitism. Marcus argues that speech, academic work, and Palestinian rights activism that is critical of the Israeli occupation creates a “hostile” and “anti-Semitic” environment for Jewish students. He has filed Title VI complaints against universities across the country to that effect, threatening schools’ federal funding. University administrators are pressured to shut down student organizations, fire faculty, cancel courses, and suppress scholarship and BDS organizing.

Twenty-three student organizations in California wrote an open letter naming Kenneth Marcus and his campaign on college campuses “one of the biggest threats to Arab and Muslim students’ civil rights on campuses today.” Marcus repeatedly accuses Muslim student organizations and student organizations supportive of Palestinian human rights that they are anti-Semitic, fund terrorism, and have ties to terrorist groups. Even though these allegations continue to be dismissed by the Department of Education for lack of evidence, Marcus’ statements put Muslim students at heightened risk of Islamophobic violence and feed cultures of racism on campuses.

It is crucial to critically engage with contemporary forms of anti-Semitism, but Kenneth Marcus’ redefinition disproportionately harms our communities of color, social justice advocates, and multicultural alliances. It is not lost on us that while StandWithUs and the Brandeis Center seek to “protect” Jewish students from speech that is critical of Israel, they celebrate their working relationship with groups like Christians United for Israel (led by the notoriously homophobic and racist pastor John Hagee) and the David Horowtiz Freedom Center (coined the “godfather of the modern anti-Muslim movement,” David Horowitz has also argued that African Americans “benefitted” from and owed “gratitude” for the “gifts” of slavery). It is ironic then that while StandWithUs and the Brandeis Center sponsor massive pinkwashing campaigns in order to vilify Palestinian people and represent Israel as a progressive safe haven for queers, they will work with unapologetically anti-gay organizations in the US.

Social justice: resisting Islamophobia, Anti-Arab racism, and pinkwashing

The University of Washington School of Law fails its mission to support academic diversity, equity, and inclusion when they create a venue, in the name of “social justice” no less, for organizations that contribute to an educational environment that threatens the presence and participation of Muslim, Arab, and queer students. In a movement for social justice, there is no place for agendas that advance racism, Islamophobia, or homophobia. The community upset over Kenneth Marcus’s event should not be misunderstood as a political disagreement concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but rather grief and frustration that a space reserved for social justice work allowed itself to become a platform for hateful propaganda.

 

Signed,

 

Jewish Voice for Peace, Seattle

Seattle Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild

University of Washington Black Law Student Association (BLSA)

Law Students Working Against Institutionalized Racism (LSWAIR)

Incarcerated Mothers Advocacy Project, UW Law

National Lawyers Guild, UW Law Chapter

 

Academics

 

Judith Butler, Maxine Elliot Professor in the Department of Comparative Literature and

the Program of Critical Theory at the University of California, Berkeley.

Daniel Boyarin, Taubman Professor of Talmudic Culture, UC Berkeley

Alice Rothchild, MD Harvard Medical School

Dean Spade, Professor, Seattle University School of Law

Dan Berger, Assistant Professor, School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, UW

Bothell

Jen Self, LICSW PhD, Director ~ Q Center & Affiliate Faculty School of Social Work &

GWSS, University of Washington

Theresa Ronquillo, UW Center for Teaching and Learning

Joel Beinin, Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History, Stanford University

Chandan Reddy, Associate Professor of English and Gender, Women and Sexuality

Studies, University of Washington

Amy Hagopian, Professor, School of Public Health, University of Washington

Zachary Lockman, Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, History, New York

University; Jewish community member

Cristina Malcolmson, Professor of English, Bates College

James C. Faris, Director Emeritus, Univ of Connecticut Program in Middle East

Languages and Area Studies

Joseph Levine, Dept. of Philosophy, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Sally Guttmacher, Professor of Global Public Health, Director, Public Health Masters Program, NYU

Morantz-Sanchez, Professor of History, University of Michigan

Lee Medovoi, Jewish community member, Professor of English, University of Arizona

Leslie Patrick, Bucknell University

Anonymous, Professor Emeritus, University of California at Berkeley

David Chadwick, Professor of Sustainable Land Use Systems, Bangor University

Talcott Broadhead, MSW, Faculty SPSCC, Jewish community Member

Newell Gough III, Emeritus, Boise State University

Jewish community member, Chancellor Emerita Academy of American Poets

Donna M. Joss, Professor Emeritus, Worcester University

Caren Kaplan, Professor, American Studies, UC Davis

Peter Bohmer, Professor, Economics, The Evergreen State College, Jewish community member

Marie Kennedy, Professor Emeritus, University of Massachusetts Boston

Richard Waller, Emeritus Professor, History, International Relations, Bucknell University

Ivan Huber, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Biology, Fairleigh Dickinson University

Ken Ross, Prof. Emeritus of Political Science, Adrian College, Michigan

Ron Smith, Assistant Professor Bucknell University, UW Geography PhD

Jason Schulman, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Political Science, Lehman College, CUNY

Lawrence Davidson, Professor Emeritus, History, West Chester University

Robert A. Gelbach, PhD, Professor of Political Science, Emeritus, Southern CT State University

Jodi Melamed Associate Professor, English and Africana Studies, Marquette University

Beverly J. Stoeltje, Professor Emerita, Anthropology, Indiana University

Philip L Bereano, Professor Emeritus, Technology and Public Policy, University of Washington

Stephen Zunes, Professor of Politics, University of San Francisco

Adriana Ponce, Associate Professor, Music, Illinois Wesleyan University

Sahra Sedigh Sarvestani, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering,

Missouri University of Science and Technology

Judith Berlowitz, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Spanish and Spanish-American Studies, Mills College

Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, University of Washington at Seattle, Department of Physics

Anonymous, Professor, San Francisco State University

Cynthia Franklin, Professor of English, University of Hawai’i

Martin A. Billeter, Dr. sc. nat.Emeritus Professor Molecular Biology, University of Zurich, Switzerland

Paul McDermott, Adjunct Professor, Modern and Classical Languages & Literature California State University at Northridge

Kate Drabinski, Senior Lecturer, Gender and Women’s Studies, University of Maryland

James Dickins , Professor of Arabic, University of Leeds

Alan Meyers MD, MPH Professor of Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine

Francine Tyler, Professor Long Island University

Craig Willse, Assistant Professor of Cultural Studies, George Mason University

Rosalie G Riegle, Professor Emerita in English, Saginaw Valley State University

Benjamin deLee, Assistant Professor, Byzantine-Islamic Relations, Middle East, SUNY

Henry H. Bucher, Jr. Professor Emeritus, Humanities, Austin College, Texas

Peter Odell Campbell, Assistant Professor of English, University of Pittsburgh

Jelena Petrovic, Professor, Communication and Media Studies, Stetson University

Carl G. Wagner, Professor of Mathematics, The University of Tennessee

Mohammed B. Alwan, Professor Emeritus, Tufts University

David Klein, Professor of Mathematics, California State University, Northridge

Michael Keefer, Professor Emeritus, University of Guelph

Matthew K Chew, Professor, Ecology, Arizona State University

Tom Mayer, Professor emeritus, University of Colorado at Boulder

 

 

Current University of Washington School of Law Students

 

Tadeu Velloso, President, Latina/o Law Student Association, LSWAIR, IMAP

Erika Bleyl, UW Law Student, Co-President of Outlaws

Katy Reed, UW Law Student, Co-President of Outlaws

Jeremy Wood, UW Jewish Law Students Association

Danny Waxwing, Jewish UW Law Student, Outlaws, IMAP

Theo Shaw, UW Law Student

Nico Quintana, UW Law Student

Crys O’Grady, UW Law Student

Susana Ruiz-Gallegos, UW Law Student, Member of LLSA

Christina Weidner, UW Law Student

Ellen Macomson, UW Law Student

Kelly Skahan, UW Law Student

Travis Mann, UW Law Student

Sophia Posnock, Jewish community member, UW Law Student

Ari Mead Robbins, Jewish UW Law Student

Alexis Howell, UW Law Student, Outlaws member

David Russell , UW Law Student

Anne Pfeifle, UW Law Student

Astor A. Kidane, UW Law Student, BLSA

Martina Kartman, UW Law Student, IMAP, NLG

Olivia Miller, UW Law Student

Claire Sullivan, UW Law Student

Michael Mohan, UW Law Student

Kevin Duffy-Greaves, UW Law, Treasurer of the Public Interest Law Association

Ali Burton, UW Law Student

Weston LeMay, UW Law Student

Alexa Polaski, UW Law Student

 

 

UW School of Law Alumni & Legal Community

 

Pooja Gehi, Esq, National Lawyers Guild, Executive Director

Lillian M. Hewko, UW Law Alumni

Stephen Coger, UW Law Alumni

Emily Nelson, UW Law Alumni

Priya Rai, UW Law Alumni

Anonymous, UW Law Alumni, PhD Candidate in Political Science

Huy Nguyen, UW Law Alumni

Sarah White, UW Law Alumni

Anonymous, UW Law Alumni

Neil Fox, Attorney

Eric Dunn, Attorney, Northwest Justice Project

J Engels, SU Law Alumni

Susan Sobel,    SU Law Student, Scholar for Justice, Member of IMAP

Beth Leonard, SU Law Alumni

Matthew Kellegrew, Attorney at Law

Salmun Kazerounian, Staff Attorney, Connecticut Fair Housing Center

Chris Beall, Fordham University School of Law

Amy Bouldin, SU Law Student

Joseph Freeman, Law Students for Justice in Palestine, UC Berkeley

Eliana Horn, CUNY Law

Erica Leff, CUNY Law student

Whitney F. Hill, SU Law Student

Aviva Simon-Pottharst, JD Candidate and NLG Secretary, UC Davis School of Law

Mohammed Nabulsi,  UT Austin Law Student, National Lawyers Guild-TX Chapter

Kristina Gibbs-Ruby  2L at Seattle University School of Law

Vignesh Ganapathy, McGeorge School of Law, Government Relations

Mackenzie Houck, University of Washington ’08, Boston College Law School ’14

Suzanne Adely, National Lawyers Guild

Jonathan Levenson Moore, Legal worker

Deborah Dean, Secretary, The Seattle Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild

 

 

 

Current University of Washington Students

 

Vincent Calvetti, Jewish UW Graduate Student, Comparative Religion

Caitlin Palo, UW Graduate Student

Yezen Rashid, UW Student

Yasaman Naraghi, UW Graduate Student

Samar Azzaidani, Palestinian UW Student, Public Health, MSA Member

Daniel Oron,   UW Undergraduate Student; Jewish community member

Anonymous, UW Student, Students For Justice in Palestine

Dalya Perez, UW, PhD Candidate

Malak Sh, UW Student

Brianna Birkel, UW Student, Physics, Member of SUPER UW

Gregory Laynor, PhD Candidate, English, University of Washington

Keshet Ronen, UW MPH student

Isra Ayesh, Organizing Director, Americans for Refugees and Immigrants & UW Student

Ryan Schmautz, UW Bothell Student

Hamziye, UW Bothell Student

Garrett Strain, UW Student, Evans School

Naomi Goldenson, UW student

Sasha Prevost, UW Graduate Student

Justin Bare, UW Computer Science and Engineering

Sebasti Pez-Vergara, UW graduate student

Cat Cunningham, MSW, UW Q Center

Anonymous, Palestinian UW Student, Member of SUPER

Mariam Sabri  Graduate Student, Jackson School of International Studies

Kholood Altassan, UW Student, member of SUPER

Li Zilles, member of UW AWDU

Ayè_e ToksÙz, UW graduate student

Jesse McClelland, PhD Candidate, Department of Geography, University of Washington

Lauren O’Laughlin, Graduate Student and Instructor, University of Washington (Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies)

Olga Rocheeva, UW student, Class of 2017

Ibtihal Mahmood, UW Graduate Student

Esra Bakkalbasioglu,   PhD Candidate, UW

Avery Viehmann, UW Bothell graduate student

Dimitri Groce, Student, UW School of Social Work

Andre Stephens, Graduate Student, UW Sociology

Emmett Stanfield, UW MSW student

Christine Tran, MSW Candidate

 

 

University of Washington Alumni

 

Eileen S Riley, usually proud Alumni

Carl Davis, UW Alumni

Anonymous, UW Alumni

Victoria Urias, UW Psychology Alumni

Ellen Punyon, UW Alumni

Jean Buskin, UW alumna and former employee

Mason Taylor, UW Alumnus

Tamara A. Turner, UW Alumni

Sharon Wilson, Alumni of UW School of Librarianship and School of Engineering

Dr. Sibyl James, UW alumna

Anonymous, UW Alumni

Srijan Chakraborty, UW SSW Alumni

Erica Weiland  , UW alumni

Landon Burch, UW Alumni

Ashley Livingston, MSW, UW School of Social Work

Mariel Boyarsky, UW School of Public Health alumni

Wendy Elisheva Somerson, UW alum, JVP-Seattle

Dr. Howard J. Gale, UW Alumni & Seattle Jewish community member

Anonymous, UW Graduate School Alumnus

Anonymous, UW School of Medicine alumna

Anonymous, UW Alumni

Shelby Handler, Jewish community member and UW Alumni

Peter Fowler, University of Washington Alumni

Mollie Wolf, UW Bothell Alumni (Master’s in Cultural Studies, 2015)

Stephanie Driessel, UW Bothell alumni

Sarah Davis, UW Alumni

Dr. Shon Meckfessel, UW PhD Alumnus, English Faculty at Highline College

Christoph Hanssmann   UCSF. Sociology PhD Student, UW Public Health Alum

Haithem El-Zabri, UW alumnus

Samar Hassouneh, Almunus 2003

 

 

Community           

 

Jamila Hammami, Executive Director, Queer Detainee Empowerment Project

David Basior, Rabbi, Kadima Reconstructionist Community

Cindy Corrie, President, Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice

Huda Giddens , Educator, President of the Arab Center of Washington

Yong Chan Miller, Executive Director, Surge Reproductive Justice, Seattle

Eva Kalikoff, prospective UW Law student, current student at Barnard College

Andrew Meyer, Policy Analyst, Rachel Corrie Foundation

Rochelle Gause, National Organizer for Friends of Sabeel, North America

Bobby Righi, retired instructor of mathematics, SCCC

Ned Rosch

Darlene R. May, Ph. D.

Samantha Brotman

Frederick Neuhouser, Barnard College-Columbia University

Chance Yager

Hussein Ali, second generation Palestinian refugee

Nomy Lamm, Jewish community member

Anonymous, Brandeis University alum

Ann Rudinow Saetnan, Jewish-American

Paula Cracknell

Mirella, Social Worker

Noam Perry, Israeli Jew

Duane Wright

Diana Falchuk, community member

Abdelfattah Abdeljabbar, Palestinian, Parent of 2 UW Students

Steve Leigh, International Socialist Organization

Terri Ginsberg, Jewish community member

Elsa Auerbach, Daughter of Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany

Matthew Bear-Fowler

Jackie Van Der Hout, Evergreen State College student

Sana El-Khateeb, Palestinian, Parent of UW Students

Clementine Austinson, Jewish Community Member

Anne Gough,   Seattle University Alumna

Nicolette Gullickson, Graduate Student, San Francisco State University

Katherine German

Ben Lorber, member of Jewish Voice for Peace

Dennis Kortheuer

Huda Sarhan

Sara Rubinstein

Lawrence Waldron

Elizabeth Gatluak, DECA PR, PHI BETA PR, Bellevue College

Dennis L. Rudnick

Laila Hussein

Tamar Zere

Sophia Weinstein, Class of 2016 at Oberlin College

Laurence Davis

Kifah Shah

Darrin Hoop, International Socialist Organization

Joel Doerfler

Amirah H. Ziada, Muslim community member

Shelby Lee Wallace

David B. Chandler, Ph.D

Ridk Barrett

Fatima

Camilla Mejia

Kirsten Allison

Sarah LaDuron

Aida LaDuron

Jordan Kelley

Mauricio Berho

Taylor Pfeiffer

Susan Blythe-Goodman

Marcia Davitt, Postdoc, Virginia Tech

Deborah Eisele

Amos Shirman

Roger Lippman, Rubezhevichi Museum of Rural Jewish Life

Ron Kaufman, JVP, Santa Cruz

Sara Rubinstein

Senait Tesfu

Elizabeth Louis

Spring Eselgroth

Bridgid Persephone Newman-Henson

Russell Khater

Ellie Taylor, UW-Harborview Social Worker I

Barbara Lyons

Aida Dodoo

Rebecca Subar

Marilyn Kleinberg Neimark

Josh Strassman

Amber Joy

Paul Jameson, PhD, MIT, Harvard College

Ann Terrell

Ranim Shaykho

Lorraine D. Johnson

Wesam Azzaidani, Palestinian

Sally Elhousieny

David Westman

Angela Smith

Reem I

Ron Pellegrino

David Skinner

Linval DePass, Member, Jewish Voice for Peace

Nathalie Martin

James Levitt

Michael Gottlieb, Graduate Student, New School for Social Research

Judith Kolokoff, AFSC

Richard Silverstein, Journalist, Tikun Olam

Constance Trowbridge

Sarah Nason

Lizzie Zemke

Lara Davis

Matt Weiner

Charles Davis

Scott McClay

Pete Schoonmaker, member, Veterans For Peace

Dr. Sheldon Burkhalter, Retired minister

Yasmeen Perez

Calvin Burnap, LMHC, Seattle

Carolyn Sherrard

Luke Quinn

Nicholas Heyer, PhD

Mark Carnney

Khan Hasan

Buzz Slutzky

Holly Sheehan

Balkis

Dorothy Chambless, Retired Montessori Teacher

Sara Spriggs

Adam Levine

Michael Penhallegon, Student, The Evergreen State College

Isabelle Saeys

Linda Robinson, Jewish Voices for Peace Member

Arwa Dubad

Feruza

D’vorah Kost, Kadima, Middle East Peace Camp for Children

Sameera Khan

  1. Naomi Finkelstein

Merry Maisel,            San Diego JVP

Soya Jung

Martha Koester

Shugla kakar

Nasir Tura

Glenn Thureson

Nada Elia

Terri Nilliasca, CUNY

James Whetzel

Rachel Lee, Jewish Voice for Peace, New Orleans

Sasha Duttxhoudhury, UW Staff

John Chambless

Birch Burghardt, Local leader, Jewish Voice for Peace

Ron Fox

Lawrence Jacobson

Beverly Stuart

Sylvie Kashdan

Mary Grace Hebert

Emma Rose, Student, South Puget Sound Community College

Alyssa Fairbanks

Dan Gilman, Veterans For Peace

Ronni Klompus, UW Audio Production

Joshua Malle

Irene Siegel, PhD

Tallie Ben Daniel, Academic Advisory Council Coordinator, Jewish Voice for Peace

Bridge Joyce

Brady McGarry

Hester J Angus

Nathan Bakken

Meron Habte

Sarah Berbache

Douglas Coleman

David Skripac

Fred Birffel

Mark Davis, Jewish Voice for Peace

Denise Sterchi, Member, Congregation Beth Shalom

Maral Sahebjame

Lorraine Hartmann

  1. Stoner

Adrienne Weller, Jewish community member

Lauren Waxwing

Alison Ramer

Carson Marshall

Marc Mazique

Rico Chenyek,            University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Beezer de Martelly, Graduate Student, UC Berkeley

Jeff Jacobs, PhD Student, Columbia University

Emily Hooper

Albert Penta

Gabe Barnow

Dorli Rainey

Elizabeth Ingenthron

Debra Mahar

Ryan Sample

John Mifsud

Samira Shifteh, Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, Seattle

Ereeni Roulakis, student, Xavier University of Louisiana

Lynn Batavia Johnson, Teacher

Lor Anderson

Elaine Wiatr, Jewish Voice for Peace, We Refuse To Be Enemies

Kim Loftness

Kathryn J. Habeger

Siloh Radovsky

Eli Damm

Larry La Caille

Elisabeth Long

Allison C. Glidden, Administrative Manager, Rachel Corrie Foundation

Sfirah Madrone

Will McKeithen

Amela Zukic

Rula Borelli, Justice Matters One Voice

Nicolette Gullickson, Graduate Student, San Francisco State University

Eitan Isaacson, Jewish Voice for Peace, Seattle

Maryrose Yacoub Khoury

 

9 Jewish community members signed anonymously

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments are closed.