Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein released the following statement:
The Zionist Organization of America strongly praises U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) for his recent powerful and principled letter to Duke University President Vincent E. Price, which expresses the Senator’s deep concern about the Duke Student Government’s decision to deny formal recognition to Students Supporting Israel (SSI) – an important and effective international pro-Israel campus movement with more than 50 active chapters – and urges Duke to override the decision. Senator Paul, an ophthalmologist, is a graduate of the Duke University School of Medicine.
Initially, the Duke Student Government (DSG) voted to recognize SSI as an official student group, but the DSG president vetoed the decision, allegedly based on SSI’s response to an anti-Israel tweet. Though the response was respectful and simply encouraged the Duke community to attend an upcoming SSI event, the DSG President described it as not “welcoming and inclusive.” The DSG upheld her veto.
As the ZOA made clear in a December 14, 2021 letter to Duke President Vincent Price, DSG’s decision violated Duke’s own policies and unfairly singled out, penalized, and discriminated against a pro-Israel group, while ignoring the truly harmful and hostile conduct of another recognized student group at Duke – the antisemitic and anti-Israel “Students for Justice in Palestine.” Yet to date, Duke has failed to override the DSG’s wrongful and bigoted decision and grant SSI the official recognition it seeks and deserves.
In his January 10, 2022 letter to President Price, Senator Paul stated, “Denying a student group recognition based on personal or political differences weakens the legitimacy of any academic institution.” He urged Duke to “reevaluate the decision” and give SSI “full recognition as a student organization.”
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein and Director of ZOA’s Center for Law and Justice Susan B. Tuchman, Esq. stated, “The ZOA strongly thanks and praises Senator Rand Paul for his important letter to Duke and for taking a much-needed moral stand against antisemitism and Israel-hatred and in support of the Jewish people and other supporters of the State of Israel.”