Chicago Maroon editors apologize for publishing piece condemning anti-Semitism

A student op-ed condemning anti-Semitism from University of Chicago’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter was removed by the Chicago Maroon.

The editors of the Maroon's opinion section, Viewpoints, further issued a letter of apology for having published the op-ed in the first place.

A student op-ed condemning anti-Semitism from University of Chicago’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter was removed by the Chicago Maroon, followed by an apology letter published by the editors of the Maroon’s opinion section, “Viewpoints.”

First-year students Benjamin ZeBrack and Melody Dias wrote a now-deleted opinion piece denouncing the SJP chapter’s campaign to “Don’t Take Sh*tty Zionist Classes,” alleging a pattern of anti-Semitism from the club. Dias is also the Jewish on Campus representative for the school.

In the apology letter, the Viewpoints editors claim ZeBrack and Dias used factual inaccuracies to “support Zionist and racist sentiments” and note that they understand the decision to censor the op-ed “could be seen as stifling Jewish voices.”

The editors defend that the club calling for a boycott on Zionists and Israeli fellows is not an attack on Jewish people, however the authors of the censored op-ed “believe that this was done to isolate and alienate the Jewish population.”

[RELATED: Rutgers chancellor apologizes to community for daring to condemn anti-Semitism]

“The targeting of classes taught specifically by Israeli fellows is xenophobic as Israelis cannot change their nationality, and this post demonizes that nationality by declaring all courses taught by someone affiliated with the nation as propaganda,” reads the piece.

It goes on to claim that the SJP chapter’s campaign violates the university’s discrimination and harassment policies, “as the Israeli faculty are directly discriminated against. As such, the Jewish student community is indirectly discriminated against.”

The school’s policy on harassment defines it as conduct that has the purpose of “unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or educational program participation, or that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or educational environment.”

The day before Holocaust Remembrance Day marked SJP’s call to boycott any classes “on Israel or those taught by Israeli fellows,” claiming, “by attending these classes, you are participating in a propaganda campaign that creates complicity in the continuation of Israel’s occupation of Palestine.”

“Boycott these classes that serve as vehicles to spread Zionist propaganda on American college campuses,” continued the club, adding “If you or anyone you know are taking these courses, DROP THEM.”

[RELATED: Pomona College student government passes resolution supporting the defunding of clubs supporting Israel]

The Viewpoints editors claim in their letter that despite pulling the op-ed condemning SJP’s campaign, “Viewpoints is a space that intends to facilitate free speech on campus.”

They also allege that the historic student newspaper The Chicago Maroon “has a history of publishing and contributing to anti-Palestinian sentiments on campus and beyond.”

A note attributed to the editor-in-chief and managing editor of The Chicago Maroon noted that the apology “does not constitute an institutional perspective and represents only the views of the current Viewpoints Head Editors.”

Editor-in-Chief Gage Gramlick reaffirmed this in a statement to Campus Reform, “Viewpoints maintains partial editorial independence from The Maroon. Therefore, the removal of the op-ed and the subsequent apology are representative of only Kelly and Elizabeth’s beliefs.”

This is not the first time an apology has been made for the condemnation of anti-Semitism on campus. In 2021, a Rutgers University chancellor backtracked and apologized following criticism for condemning a recent “resurgence of anti-Semitism.”

A number of students complained that the chancellor’s condemnation of anti-Semitism lacked support for Palestine on the official Rutgers subreddit, further placing full of blame on Israel in the Middle Eastern conflict, and many claiming the Jews are committing “genocide” against the Palestinians.

Louis B. Brandeis Center Founder Kenneth Marcus called The Maroon’s apology letter “disgraceful” and reminiscent of the “embarrassing” situation at Rutgers where students “shamed officials into abandoning their moral compasses.”

“One should never apologize for taking a stand against anti-Semitism or racism,” Marcus told Campus Reform. “What requires an apology is the editors’ decision to apologize for doing the right thing and to undermine those students who continue to do so.”

Earlier this year The Chicago Maroon allegedly fired a conservative columnist after he challenged another student to a debate.

Campus Reform reached out to the editors of The Maroon, the Viewpoints editors, the authors of the censored op-ed, Jewish on Campus, the Brandeis Center, UChicago Hillel, and University of Chicago media relations. This article will be updated accordingly.

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