President's Blog: Statement on Anti-Semitic Incidents on Campus

May 25, 2021

My mother and her family fled Nazi Germany more than 70 years ago, barely escaping with their lives.  The America in which they settled had its own long and ugly history of anti-Semitism, but over time our country became far more tolerant and inclusive.

I now view with deep and personal distress the rising tide of anti-Semitism in this country and the world.  Recent weeks have seen a particularly dramatic and distressing spike in anti-Semitic violence and intimidation, much of it related to the violent confrontation in Israel and Gaza.  In Princeton, passing motorists have on at least two occasions heckled identifiably Jewish students, accusing them of hostility toward Palestinians.

Sharp, intense, and provocative disagreement about Israel and Palestine is fully consistent with the debate that must occur on college campuses.  Harassment, heckling, stereotyping, and intimidation are not.

Anti-Semitism has a long and ugly history in the world, in this country, and, unfortunately, at Princeton.  We must stand steadfastly against it and against all other forms of racism, discrimination, and intolerance.  Our scholarly and educational mission and our commitment to improve the world depend on treating one another with respect even when—indeed, especially when—we disagree passionately.