Local News

Some Duke Students Upset Over Editorial's Criticism Of Jews

Posted October 22, 2004

— Duke's student-run paper, the Chronicle, recently published a column some students claim is anti-Semitic. It is an issue that has deeply divided the campus and has people talking.

In Monday's column, Philip Kurian criticized Jewish reaction to a recent pro-Palestinian conference on campus. He said Jewish people have "an overwhelming sense of entitlement not to be criticized or offended." He called them "the most privileged minority in America."

"I had a lot of emotions when I first saw it. I think shock. I think hurt," student Rachael Solomon said. "Anything that says any other blanket statement about a group is obviously going to be problematic."

"Different statements in the column, I thought, had lots of anti-Semitic rhetoric connotations to it that pretty much insulted me," student Hannah Ludwin said.

"I thought for the first time in a very long time an anti-Israeli or an anti-Jew actually wrote a column instead of an anti-Muslim or anti-Palestinian and the other side couldn't handle it," student Emily Aviki said.

The article prompted a flood of e-mail responses. An outraged parent said Duke has lost its moral compass. One professor wrote academic freedom cannot justify hate speech. Some said the words in the column sting, but most do not think their effects will be long-lasting.

"This community is not an anti-Semitic community. It's not an anti-Semitic school," Solomon said. "The Jewish students, here, for the most part, are very, very happy here. We feel safe. We feel welcome."

The column even garnered a response from President Richard Broadhead, who wrote he was deeply troubled by it. However, The university encourages open dialogue and different views, which is one of the reasons the Chronicle's editor said the writer will not be asked to step down.

WRAL was unable to reach Kurian for comment Thursday.

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