Seth Brysk, the Central Pacific Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), published a strongly-worded press release Wednesday condemning the ASSU Undergraduate Senate’s inaction on and alterations to a resolution condemning anti-Semitism: “It is astonishing and deeply disturbing that student leaders at one of the world’s premier institutions of higher learning were unable to unequivocally condemn anti-Semitism.”
On Monday evening, ASSU Senator Molly Horwitz moved to table temporarily the Resolution to Recognize and to Reaffirm the Fight Against Anti-Semitism she had introduced a week earlier. The proposal, designed to address concerns about anti-semitic activity at Stanford and create common ground between Stanford communities in the aftermath of last year’s divestment debate, has itself been bogged down by controversy since the April 4 ASSU Senate meeting.
The ADL, one of the nation’s most prominent civil rights organizations dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism and all other forms of bigotry, cited a number of the difficulties the bill and the Stanford Jewish community have faced since the bill was first introduced. Senator Gabriel Knight’s “shocking” comments from the April 4 ASSU meeting received particular attention, as Brysk stated,
Though the original proposal was broadly supported by Jewish groups on campus – the Jewish Students’ Association, Cardinal for Israel, and J Street U – a number of these groups have been forced to question their sponsorship as the ASSU altered the text of the resolution. In response, the ADL also expressed concern over the ASSU’s refusal to explicitly include a large component of the US State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism: the delegitimization of Israel, the demonization of Israel and Jews, and the application of double standards to Israel. The Jewish community’s right to self-determination in particular, the ADL noted, “elicited rancor during the [ASSU] discussion.”
Going forward, Senator Horowitz plans to reintroduce the resolution once the remaining sponsors are able to discuss its current standing and finalize the proposal’s amended text. The ADL committed itself to action at Stanford in order to address these “disturbing” events: “Among a range of responses, ADL will offer Words to Action programs at Stanford in partnership with Hillel. The program empowers students to recognize and confront anti-Semitism.”