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Letter to the Editor: Appalled and saddened

The letter below was sent to the president of Tufts University in Medford by the president of the Russian Jewish Community Federation in Newton regarding the vote on divestment taken by the school’s student senate.

Dear President Monaco,

I was appalled and saddened to learn that Tufts Student Senate passed a BDS resolution to divest from Israel (see page 1). The only country in the world that your senate chose to attack is Israel, not Syria that just used chemical weapons on its own citizens, not Iran or Saudi Arabia or North Korea where basic human rights are violated all the time. You chose Israel – the only democracy in the Middle East where Jews and Arabs actually live in peace. Your student body chose the week of Passover to promote this anti-Israel/anti-Semitic act while most of the Jewish students are away with their families celebrating the holiday.

“BDS is nothing other than coarse anti-Semitism” – do not take my word for it, these are the words of Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor. Who knows more about anti-Semitism than the leader of Germany? This resolution is particularly troublesome for members of the Russian Jewish community. We came from the now defunct Soviet Union where we knew that when people attacked Israel they really meant Jews.

Your university should be a safe space for learning and dialog. Instead, this act created a hate space for Jews and others. Study after study shows that the majority of Jewish students feel unsafe on college campuses and the hate comes from BDS. This week Tufts is in the news for its anti-Semitic act. Is this what your students and graduates should be associated with? The university is doing them a great disservice.

During the Holocaust, you had to be a hero to stand for Jews; now you have to be a decent person. I strongly urge you to rebuke the student senate and make your campus safe for Jews.
We are waiting for your stand against anti-Semitism.

Sincerely,

Alex Koifman, President, RJCF

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