Is there anything less tolerant than the most elite echelons of academia? I’m going to go ahead and assume you all know the answer to that. Case in point: Stanford student Hamzeh Daoud, set to be a resident assistant starting in the upcoming school year, has threatened physical violence against pro-Israel students in a Facebook post.
Considering that the job of a resident assistant is a paid position, according to Stanford, who is tasked “to help build strong and healthy residential learning communities which complement as well as extend classroom learning,” to “build inclusive and reflective environments,” and to “serve as role models for the residents” who are “basically always ‘on duty,'” this is highly problematic.
A piece in the Stanford Daily said that Daoud’s post also linked to an article which stated that “Jewish Nation-state Law Makes Discrimination in Israel Constitutional.” Almost four hours after creating his original Facebook post, Daoud edited it, changing “physically” to “intellectually,” saying
I edited this post because I realize intellectually beating zionists is the only way to go. Physical fighting is never an answer to when trying to prove people wrong.
Even if that was a genuine change of heart by Daoud, a member of Stanford Students for Justice in Palestine, is that an appropriate mindset for someone being paid to “build inclusive…environments”? He wrote an e-mail to the Stanford Daily saying he was reacting to a law:
[The law] effectively made [Israel] an apartheid state and deemed Palestinian citizens of Israel second-class citizens,” Daoud wrote. “As a third-generation Palestinian refugee, I was appalled and took to Facebook to share my pain.
I apologize if I made anyone feel unsafe. That was not the intent and will never be an intent of mine at all.
He further said that this was not anti-Semitic:
I never intended, and will never intend, to cause any harm to the Jewish community. I respect the Jewish community, the beauty and resilience of the Jewish religion and people, and the power that Jewish students bring to campus.
In writing on this issue, Adam Rubenstein of the Weekly Standard spoke with a student who said that
(Daoud) has been one of the most aggressive and prolific anti-Israel figures at Stanford…Now, he’s calling for violence against pro-Israel students.
He will be an RA in a dormitory next year, and this is unacceptable, as he could quite literally threaten the safety of the students in the dormitory.
University spokesperson E.J. Miranda said in an e-mail to the Stanford Daily that:
Stanford is committed to free expression of ideas and a culture of inclusion where all members of the university community can feel safe.
And, in a statement to Campus Reform, Stanford said:
Threats of physical violence have absolutely no place in the Stanford community…the mission of a university depends on the open exchange of ideas and the sharing of divergent viewpoints, including on controversial issues.
At the same time, however, members of our community absolutely must be able to live, work and study at Stanford without fear for their personal safety…We are actively addressing the issues surrounding the recent Facebook post that was physically threatening to some members of our community.
We are addressing these issues now…The author of the post will receive fair and thoughtful consideration, as our work with students demands. In matters involving individual students, privacy laws limit what the university can disclose publicly, and we understand that this may be unsatisfactory to some.
Stanford College Republicans responded in a Facebook post that read:
SCR is disgusted by a threat of violence issued by Hamzeh Daoud, a rising junior at Stanford University, toward pro-Israel students. Daoud, who is active in Stanford Students for Justice in Palestine, a former ASSU Undergraduate Senator (Hamzeh Daoud for ASSU Senate), and who will be a Residential Assistant in one of Stanford’s dormitories in the 2018-2019 school year, vowed on his personal Facebook page to “physically fight zionists on campus next year.” Threatening to assault other students who hold a different point of view is anathema to a free society and any kind of education, let alone the operation of the premier research university in the world.
Stanford should take disciplinary action against Mr. Daoud and SCR demands that Stanford terminate Daoud’s position as a Residential Assistant in the Norcliffe dormitory immediately. Mr. Daoud’s statements reveal him to be a danger to the safety of students on Stanford’s campus, and such an individual should never be put in any position of authority over other students, particularly in a dormitory that includes freshmen. Moreover, while we are disturbed by Hamzeh Daoud’s statements, we find it unsurprising that a member of SJP, an organization with financial ties to terrorist affiliates, would issue a call to violence against pro-Israel students.