CAMERA on Campus, the campus branch of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting & Analysis (CAMERA), raises a significant question regarding the University of Pennsylvania’s plans to host the upcoming “Palestine Writes” conference.
Does the conference and its confirmed speakers align with the academic mission and values of the University of Pennsylvania?
While CAMERA unequivocally supports free speech, institutions of higher learning are also expected to provide intellectual rigor and a certain level of cultural sophistication. By providing a platform for antisemites, “Palestine Writes” is failing to fulfill the school’s academic mission.
Ultimately, the responsibility lies with the administrators at the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Arts and Sciences, the sponsoring academic department, to determine the kind of academic culture they wish to foster for their students, particularly for minority groups such as Jews.
Scheduled to take place from September 22nd to 24th, 2023, “Palestine Writes” is organized by Susan Abulhawa and Huda Fakhreddine, individuals known for their history of glorifying terrorism and disseminating antisemitism.
Throughout the three-day conference, Abulhawa and Fakhreddine intend to provide a platform for academics, activists, and public figures with a documented history of blatant Jew hatred. This includes Refaat Alareer, Wisam Rafeedie, Salam Abusitta, Nadia Tannous, Marc Lamont Hill, Roger Waters, and Noura Erakat.
A comprehensive report, meticulously compiled by members of the Jewish community, documents the antisemitic rhetoric and numerous ties to internationally recognized terror groups associated with the individuals mentioned above.
We call upon Governor Josh Shapiro, President Liz Magill, the UPenn Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity programs, Dr. Khalid N. Mumin at the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts, and Bonterra to thoroughly review and seriously consider whether providing a platform to individuals who openly profess hatred of Jews and the State of Israel—the world’s only Jewish state—aligns with their values and the academic mission of the University of Pennsylvania.