Georgetown University has announced its intention to host a notorious racist speaker. Miko Peled, a pro-Palestinian activist, is scheduled to speak this Sunday at an event hosted by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a hateful group with a history of anti-Semitic campus activity at Georgetown and elsewhere. I am calling upon the university to cancel the hateful event that will undoubtedly make Jewish students feel unsafe on campus. Even I as someone who is not part of the Jewish community can see the dangerous potential this has, which is why I am choosing to write this.
Miko Peled has had many events canceled because of his anti-Semitic statements. In 2016, SJP was forced to cancel Peled’s event at San Diego State University after he made comments in which he referred to Jews as “sleazy thieves.” His rhetoric was so egregious that even SJP had to admit they were “offensive” and to have him appear “would not be appropriate.” Peled previously referred to Israel as an “apartheid” state and has advocated a “single-state solution” — a dog whistle term for the destruction of the Jewish state.
SJP claims to have invited him to speak to discuss the difference between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. Such an event would be splitting hairs and offering a misleading narrative that seeks to separate Jews from their intrinsic religious beliefs. Zionism is an integral and original part of the Jewish identity. The relationship between Zionism and Judaism is not something I am not quite sure Peled understands himself.
As an Arab student at the University of Toronto, I understand the value of learning from people from different backgrounds and inviting people to facilitate this development. However, this discussion would serve no purpose but to further divide various communities on campus. This goes directly against the mission of mine and many other students from all backgrounds who genuinely have the best intentions for all populations concerning this conflict.
Despite what SJP may say, these discussions will not do anything but promote anti-Israel and anti-Jewish propaganda. The truth is that any attempt to carve out an acceptable lane to deny the Jewish people the right to live in their homeland does nothing to advance the conversation about improving conditions for Palestinians. I reject this attempt to use Arabs as a prop to demonize Israel and alienate the Jewish students around me. I reject that this event should yet again be another opportunity for the Palestinian cause to be hijacked by those who are frankly disconnected from the reality, the Palestinian community, and genuine interests to fight for what is indeed a worthy cause, rather than just dumping fuel in a highly flammable situation.
The Georgetown community must resoundingly call for the cancellation of this event. Bringing this infamous bigot to campus to discuss an incredibly delicate issue would not serve the community in any way. I believe that hate should have no place on college campuses and I hope that the university will do the right thing and cancel this event. I also hope that this will set the precedent that such speakers be rejected from all college campuses that genuinely wish to provide a safe learning space for all of its students.