Rutgers’ Chancellor Apologizes for Israel Letter, Not Supporting Palestinian Community

Rutgers' Chancellor Apologizes for Israel Letter, Not Supporting Palestinian Community rutgers flag (Dreamstime)

By Jeffrey Rodack | Friday, 28 May 2021 01:33 PM

Rutgers Chancellor Christopher Molloy has issued an apology for failing to communicate support for the university's Palestinian community in a letter he wrote condemning recent anti-Semitic attacks in the United States.

In a statement posted on the school's website and headlined: "An Apology," Molloy and the school's Provost, Francine Conway, said: "We are writing today as a follow-up to the message sent on Wednesday, May 26th to the university community. We understand that intent and impact are two different things, and while the intent of our message was to affirm that Rutgers–New Brunswick is a place where all identities can feel validated and supported, the impact of the message fell short of that intention. In hindsight, it is clear to us that the message failed to communicate support for our Palestinian community members. We sincerely apologize for the hurt that this message has caused.

"Rutgers University–New Brunswick is a community that is enriched by our vibrant diversity. However, our diversity must be supported by equity, inclusion, antiracism, and the condemnation of all forms of bigotry and hatred, including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. As we grow in our personal and institutional understanding, we will take the lesson learned here to heart, and pledge our commitment to doing better. We will work to regain your trust, and make sure that our communications going forward are much more sensitive and balanced."

The statement was posted on Thursday and came after the two school officials posted a previous statement on the Rutgers website headlined "Speaking Out Against Acts of Anti-Semitism."

"We are saddened by and greatly concerned about the sharp rise in hostile sentiments and anti-Semitic violence in the United States," the post said. "Recent incidents of hate directed toward Jewish members of our community again remind us of what history has to teach us. Tragically, in the last century alone, acts of prejudice and hatred left unaddressed have served as the foundation for many atrocities against targeted groups around the world.

"If you have been adversely impacted by anti-Semitic or any other discriminatory incidents in our community, please do not hesitate to reach out to our counseling and other support services on campus."

The letter was a response to several anti-Semitic incidents — some of which are being investigated by police as potential hate crimes — that have occurred nationwide in recent weeks, largely perpetrated by pro-Palestinian protesters. The activists and assaults appear tied to the recent conflict between Israel and Palestinian terror group Hamas.

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