July 24, 2018
President Marc Tessier-Lavigne
Office of the President
Stanford, CA 94305-2061
Dear President Tessier-Lavigne:
We write on behalf of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), the oldest and one of the largest pro-Israel organizations in the U.S., whose mission includes fighting anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias on college campuses.
We were horrified to learn that in a Facebook post last Friday, a Stanford University student named Hamzah Daoud threatened violence against “Zionists on campus.” Daoud’s conduct is made even more alarming by the fact that he is a Resident Assistant who is supposed to be a role model for other students and who potentially wields enormous influence over them.
Specifically, Daoud wrote:
I’m gonna physically fight zionists on campus next year if someone comes at me with their “israel is a democracy” bullshit. : ) and after I abolish your ass i’ll go ahead and work every day of the rest of my life to abolish your petty ass ethnosupremacist, settler-colonial state.
Daoud later amended his post to read “intellectually fight” instead of “physically fight.” Even with the amendment, his post makes it clear that he poses a serious danger to Jews, Israelis and Israel supporters at Stanford. Daoud intends to “abolish their ass[es].” It is a reasonable – and chilling – interpretation that he intends to kill someone.
Daoud has violated the Fundamental Standard, Stanford’s standards of student conduct. The Fundamental Standard requires students “to respect and uphold the rights and dignity of others regardless of race, color, national or ethnic origin,” among other protected categories. The Fundamental Standard also requires students to “uphold the integrity of the university as a community of scholars in which free speech is available to all . . . .”
It is an understatement to say that Daoud has failed to comply with these requirements, which – according to the Fundamental Standard – constitutes “sufficient cause for removal from the university.” Not only does Daoud have no respect for Jews, Israelis, and supporters of the Jewish State; he also despises them and goes even further, to say that he is prepared to commit violence against and “abolish” them.
Furthermore, Daoud does not support the right of anyone at Stanford to express any support for Israel, a full-fledged member of the United Nations. Indeed, Daoud has called for supporters of the Jewish State to be “abolished” – i.e., destroyed – and he is determined to achieve that goal. How he might choose to do it is frightening to think about.
You have a moral obligation to protect your campus community from harm. You have a legal obligation under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act to ensure that Jewish and Israeli students are physically and emotionally safe at Stanford. Consistent with Stanford’s own policies, Daoud should be expelled immediately. In addition, we strongly urge you to report his conduct to law enforcement so that they can investigate whether his actions are criminal and he should be prosecuted.
We look forward to your response.
Very truly yours,