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Letter: Brown’s response to antisemitism is lacking

To the Editor:

The note containing “several expletives and violent threats against Jewish people” discovered Sunday at Brown RISD Hillel and the “swastikas carved into surfaces” around campus over the summer are incidents of antisemitism — nothing more, nothing less. By broadly linking such events to “incidents of bias (on College Hill) against underrepresented communities and communities of color” and expressing platitudes about “work(ing) together to continue … being a campus that values the experiences and perspectives of people of all races, religions, genders, sexual orientations, abilities and other identities,” Sylvia Carey Butler, vice president for institutional equity and diversity, and Eric Estes, vice president for campus life and student services, not only enormously diminish the significance of the antisemitic incidents in question but also ignore the well-documented problem of antisemitism on college campuses, including at Brown. They reflect either a stunning ignorance of, or insensitivity to, campus antisemitism and its impact. Their email is consistent with the premise of David Baddiel’s book about how antisemitism is often ignored or downplayed in the fight against prejudice. As succinctly put in the book’s title – “Jews Don’t Count.”

Willis J. Goldsmith ‘69 P’99



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