Anonymous complaint calls pro-Palestine fliers at WKU ‘antisemitic’
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - An anonymous complaint received by WBKO claims antisemitic fliers were put up on Western Kentucky University’s campus.
The fliers were up around Cherry Hall talking on the Israel-Hamas conflict, calling it a genocide.
Timothy Quevillon, a visiting professor of history and Jewish studies, said while the fliers may not be directly antisemitic, they lack the necessary nuance of the whole conflict.
“They left in amorphous ‘they’ or they left kind of a specter of a larger Jewish population committing these atrocities rather than here is the direct leader,” Quevillon said. “But rather just attacking a population and a people as a whole, by not being specific and purposely leaving it vague.”
Wael Jaber, President of Students for Justice in Palestine, said the fliers were never meant to be taken as antisemitic.
“Those flyers were a statement more than anything,” Jaber said. “The antisemitic part of that? Honestly, I cannot tell you anything, but it is inaccurate. Those statements on the flyers were hooks to capture the eyes of people because it is a really harsh reality. The words are nothing but the truth.”
Jaber added that the subject is an uncomfortable one, but those who are made uncomfortable should join in the conversation.
“We are trying to raise awareness and tell people what’s going on is an issue, we’re addressing it in the most vulnerable wording to get the point across,” Jaber said. “If that makes you uncomfortable, I honestly think we need to be more educated and we need to learn about what’s going on.”
Quevillon agreed with Jaber’s sentiment of wanting to discuss the conflict, but disagreed with the presentation, saying the university should keep a closer eye on content being posted.
“I think this is one of the things where it started by harming the Jewish community, but could lead do anti-LGBT, anti-Muslim, anti any group on campus,” Quevillon said. “If the university isn’t going to police content, they’re just asking for a problem with a wide variety of things being put on campus.”
Though Jihad Mansour, a member of the WKU Muslim Students Association, said to call the posters antisemitic and have them removed shuts down conversation on the conflict.
“If all of a sudden, any pro-Palestinian arguments or things that are being brought up are being called antisemitic, I think you’re just completely trying to shut down one side of the conversation instead of just encouraging more discussion on campus,” Mansour said. “I think especially being on a college campus, you should encourage students to have these kinds of discussions and uncomfortable conversations, because I think that’s what it’s all about, going to university and getting educated about things.”
WBKO reached out to WKU’s Diversity Officers for a statement on the complaints, and asked if anything would be done. The university responded:
“At WKU, we pride ourselves on providing a campus that is welcoming to everyone, regardless of their personal beliefs. Anyone who believes they have received harassing or threatening communication should contact WKU Police.”
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