This is a developing situation. Its details are all what we understand as true as of 8 p.m. on the night of Wednesday, April 1 (our submission deadline). We sincerely hope that by the time this is distributed the situation will have changed.
On Friday, March 27, MacSUPER (Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights) received an email from Macalester’s branch of JStreet U inviting them to cosponsor an event entitled “Difficult Conversations: the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict.” This event is being brought to campus on Tuesday, April 7 and is sponsored by JStreet U and three national and international organizations not represented on campus. MacSUPER gladly and quickly accepted this invitation. On Tuesday, March 31, MacSUPER was informed that it was no longer invited to co-sponsor this event because the host organizations required certain criteria for co-sponsorship that MacSUPER did not fulfill. MacSUPER’s association with certain events was offered as a reason for the exclusion.
While this carefully curated event claims to represent the “two sides” of this conflict, the rejection of MacSUPER’s sponsorship indicates it does not make this claim legitimately. This event cannot be billed as a conversation that brings together representatives of two identities with genuine grievances or one that works to discuss these grievances in a just and productive way if it excludes those with different opinions from sponsoring it. The event is sponsored by four Zionist groups (Hillel, the Jewish Community Relations Council, JStreet U and the Minneapolis Jewish Federation) that have selected a case to present while excluding any input on the presentation from groups that may have a different agenda or recognize grievances differently. The title “A Difficult Conversation” is completely inappropriate. It is a unilaterally produced performance.
With the exception of Macalester J Street U, the three other sponsors are members of national organizations that have practiced academic censorship to achieve their political agenda. Nationwide, student protests are erupting in response to the discriminatory policies of groups that sponsor this event, like Hillel and the “Open Hillel” movement. It is important to bring such issues to light as it would be uncharacteristic of Macalester College students to allow such organizations to be invited to campus without a response from the student body and for the Department for Multicultural Life to continue to sponsor this event when it is consciously and openly opposing multiculturalism and the DML’s values on Macalester College’s campus.
We have not yet come to a conclusion on how to proceed. We plan to hold a discussion with other campus groups involved in this issue to plan our actions for the future. If you are interested in staying updated with our action to oppose these current conditions, please contact us at the email below: