Dear President Snyder,
We are writing to you on behalf of Israel’s CWRU, the only pro-Israel student group on campus. My name is Hannah Pomerantz, I am a second-year student at Case Western Reserve University, a member of the group, and a Fellow for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA). Recently, the CWRU Radical Student Union hosted a screening of a film about the portrayal of the Israel-Palestine conflict in American media. This film made many broad claims about the conflict which suggested that Israel has, among other things, used false propaganda to secure support from the American public and has lied to uphold its image as the underdog.
The film sought to educate about manipulation in the media regarding Israel’s role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, while directly contradicting this idea. Several students and staff who have spent a significant amount of time studying the nuances of the conflict were able to see clear anti-Israel bias in the film. One of the most notable points was the portrayal of Israel as an offensive threat, facing zero casualties during waves of violence, which is plainly false, while outlining the number of Palestinian casualties many times over. This is an inaccurate and one-sided narrative that grossly misrepresents the conflict and justifies a response. Lastly, the film concluded with a call to action that encouraged Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a group that is nationally known to act with hatred towards Jews and people who support Israel. It suggests that students should get involved with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement which is harmful to both Israelis and Palestinians alike.
While I do believe every student on this campus is entitled to express their opinion, I think that a film which demonstrates such clear bias is unacceptable to be presented by a student organization at our university, without even providing information from another perspective. However the real cause for concern that arose because of this screening was the chalking found the next day on campus, calling for BDS on our campus. In 2013, you expressed the university’s stance that we must oppose academic boycotts in the “strongest possible terms.”
CWRU prides itself on being a university that strives towards the best possible future and having students who are educated in a well-rounded way, especially on topics of diversity and inclusion. By allowing such a narrative to come to our campus, we are heading down a dangerous road of exclusion and hate, which is antithetical to what I believe is our mission as students at CWRU.
My hope in drafting this letter is that you, President Snyder, will continue to affirm our work towards open dialogue and unbiased education from all sides for the betterment of all students on this campus.
Member of Israel’s CWRU
Case Western Reserve University Class of 2019
This article was originally published on The Observer.