In response to the Palestine Writes Festival, Penn Hillel student leaders chose to not stage a protest but rather have a Shabbat Dinner celebrating Jewish pride and unity and pride in Israel (“We Went to Opening Night of the Palestine Writes Festival. Here’s What Happened,” Sept. 28). The city’s large Jewish organizations consented to the student’s wishes and thus only a few individuals, including me, showed up to protest this reprehensible event.
If the Penn Hillel students had creativity, they might have protested outside the festival in large numbers wearing T-shirts saying, “Much more of a hatefest than a literature festival,” then wore the shirts the rest of the afternoon around campus.
The executive director of the festival, Susan Abulhawa, tweeted on Feb. 28 after Israeli-American lone soldier Elan Ganeles was murdered by terrorists near Jericho, “Privileged white man leaves US to violently colonize another people… And y’all are upset over this human garbage.”
If any other group with a similar hateful executive director with so many panelists who had said or done hateful things toward either Blacks, the LGBTQ community, Hispanics, Asians or Muslims had asked for or scheduled an event at Penn, its president, M. Elizabeth Magill, would have denied or canceled it. Magill’s and the university’s hypocrisy is the most disturbing and alarming aspect regarding this appalling festival.
Allowing this hateful event was not upholding academic freedom, and we must hold Penn accountable for its double standard in tolerating anti-Jewish hatred.
Don Sable, Elkins Park