The rapid escalation of violence inside Israel and Palestine is staggering. As a Quaker and as a human being, I — and the College as a whole — cannot stay silent in the face of so many civilian deaths and injuries, including children, mass destruction, evictions of families, and widespread political and social injustice.
Our Palestinian students bear the mental and spiritual weight of this conflict, and I hold them in the light. Quakers have deep roots in Palestine, including the Ramallah Friends School, and Earlham has long been home to a strong Palestinian population. In the classroom and through student activities, our students have regularly organized in support of peace and justice in Palestine.
Earlham is a place where people from vastly different backgrounds come together with a common desire to effect positive change grounded in the freedom and dignity of all persons. In moments like these, that desire compels us to continuously act, as well as to persistently listen and speak. The situation is incredibly complex, and many make the mistake of conflating the State of Israelwith all of Judaism. Let us resist and reject this temptation as we unambiguously support justice and self-determination for the Palestinian people. This morning’s statement from the Earlham College Jewish Student Union — which invites a discussion about Judaism in conversation with Palestinian awareness — embodies the very best of what Earlham stands for.
I am heartened to see both the Earlham College Jewish Student Union and our Black Student Union stand — both literally and figuratively — in solidarity with our Palestinian community. Through non-violent dialogue, we find understanding. It is my great hope that through the pursuit of understanding, we will ultimately know a mutual peace grounded in justice.