From the Community | SJP leadership should apologize

Oct. 15, 2023, 8:34 p.m.

I, along with hundreds of other Jewish students at Stanford, woke up last weekend to the earth-shattering news that over a thousand of our brothers and sisters in Israel were senselessly slaughtered by Hamas terrorists. Like many of my fellow students, I immediately looked to the news to find relevant information about the terror that took place. 

The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post all provided the horrible details of the attacks and on-the-ground testimonies of infants slaughtered, women raped and dead bodies paraded in the streets of Gaza. When I looked to The Daily, however, I saw a front page op-ed titled “From the Community | Stanford Students for Justice in Palestine” written by SJP leadership rationalizing the attacks. The op-ed stated the importance of putting the “attack” in “context” “as the world witnesses the atrocities committed in Palestine.”

Authoring this article in the aftermath of the recent terrorism is not only emotionally tone deaf but also morally reprehensible for failing to acknowledge the loss of life and instead attributing blame to the victims. Those who author such articles should be held responsible for their actions. Accountability is key to preventing the wanton disregard of norms of decency that should guide university discourse. Those who seek to influence our classmates should be held to a higher standard and be forced to reckon with the impact of their influence on our community.

As a law student, I celebrate open discourse. I enjoy discussions about hotbed issues and seek out opinions different from mine. But writing this article before the blood of innocent children dries is appalling. It displays no humane mutual respect and should not be endorsed by The Daily or any other organization. I am sure that the leader of SJP does not speak for all SJP members. In fact, his support and his rationalizing of Hamas’ actions this weekend likely indicate that he is not the right person to be leading an organization that is supposed to value human rights. He should salvage any remaining shreds of his dignity by stepping down from SJP and issuing an apology for his offensive article. His lack of empathy is not only directed toward a people who, just two generations ago, fought for their existence, but also toward his fellow classmates who aspire to foster an environment of respect for human life and the destruction of evil.

Palestinians do not deserve to carry the same fate as Hamas terrorists. Misguided statements insinuating that Hamas acts as a “resistance” for the Palestinian people weakens the Palestinian cause. It risks creating association between helpless Palestinians and Hamas, which is an authoritarian terrorist organization beholden to Iran. SJP does not have to stand alongside baby murderers and rapists to support the Palestinian cause, and even if they choose to, they certainly should have enough self-awareness and common decency to still acknowledge the terrible loss of life that took place last weekend. The time has come for leaders who serve their constituents and not their own egos. I call on SJP leadership to resign immediately, apologize for last week’s op-ed and acknowledge that they were not speaking for all of the organization’s members when they issued their statement. 

Adam Lifshitz is a third-year J.D. MBA dual degree candidate at Harvard Law School and Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.

This article was updated to correct a line. This error was introduced due to a lack of consistency across drafts.

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