Letter to the Editor

Our goal in establishing SJP at Lafayette is to encourage freedom, justice and equality for Palestinians in the context of the collective liberation of all peoples. When the administration denied our application, we received an outpouring of support. Over 100 people signed our petition and 50 statements of support were written by Lafayette students (see: @lv_sjp on Instagram). 

Provost Meier and Dean Furniss wrote in support of Prof. Ilan Peleg after a screenshot from our GroupMe with post-it notes from a brainstorming session was included in the original article. On one note, a student wrote that they wished to address “Prof Peleg’s propaganda class.” On the same note was written: “info sessions,” “dabka” and “open (peaceful) talks with the other side.”  We wish to clarify that none of us, nor our faculty advisor, Prof. Rachel Goshgarian, has ever suggested that Prof. Peleg is anything other than an outstanding scholar who offers balanced courses at Lafayette, inclusive of all viewpoints and aimed at constructive conversation. SJP’s goal is not to target individuals but to challenge structures that perpetuate Zionism.

We have received concerns that SJP will pose a threat to Hillel and Jewish students on campus. Many of our members are Jewish. Additionally, we’d like to affirm that members of Hillel are welcome to join, as creating a space for education and dialogue is our primary purpose. In reference to Prof. Ethan Berkove’s letter, over spring break, we reached out to the president of Hillel and are in the process of setting up a time to meet. We look forward to continuing our dialogue with Hillel. Combating antisemitism is one of our core values and we see this as an important shared value with Hillel. We firmly believe that Palestinian liberation and Jewish liberation are intertwined. The issue of Palestine and Israel is not one of religion, but of settler colonialism, dispossession and occupation. Our goal is to combat this and center Palestinian voices, cultures and histories. 

Lastly, such scrutiny over the early planning stages of a student organization at Lafayette is rare, if not unprecedented. We are worried about the precedent being set by the College when it allows one person to decide about a student organization’s right to exist. We hope to be judged by a committee of our peers — as is the usual process — via a vote of Lafayette College’s Student Government. 

Ariel Haber-Fawcett ’24

Ari Ismail ’26

Briana Thomas ’25