Dear Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy,
As alumni, parents, and community members represented by Alums for Campus Fairness at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst (ACF-UMass Amherst), we express our gratitude for your solidarity and understanding as the Jewish and pro-Israel community confronts antisemitism on campus.
In April 2019, ACF-UMass Amherst wrote to you to express our concerns with the event titled “Not Backing Down: Israel, Free Speech & the Battle for Palestinian Rights.” Along with many partner organizations, we called on your administration to reaffirm its commitment to fight antisemitism and make UMass Amherst safer for the Jewish and Pro-Israel community. Ahead of the upcoming event on November 12 titled “Criminalizing Dissent: The Attack on BDS and Pro-Palestinian Speech,” the Jewish and pro-Israel community has been concerned that the content of this event will devolve into antisemitism veiled by anti-Zionism, similar to the April 2019 event.
Your recent statement is a welcome sign that the UMass Amherst administration is committed to protecting all campus communities from hate and isolation, including the Jewish and pro-Israel community. ACF-UMass Amherst is encouraged that you remain “firmly opposed to BDS and to academic boycotts of any kind.” We echo your sentiment that “because the BDS position in general fails to acknowledge the humanity on the Israeli side of the conflict and is considered by many as anti-Semitic, the upcoming event could very well alienate many of our Jewish students and other members of our campus community.” We must not allow UMass Amherst to become a campus that fosters antisemitism and threatens the mental and physical well-being of Jewish students. Antisemitism is abhorrent and when universities are pillars of truth, academic freedom, and open discourse, antisemitism is not tolerated.
We, the members of ACF-UMass Amherst, thank you for your commitment to supporting Jewish and pro-Israel students and your leadership in rejecting antisemitism on campus. It is our hope, as the united alumni voice in countering antisemitism, that you will continue to ensure that our campus community remains safe for all students.