On March 23, Frank Pray, the chairman of the College Republicans, sent an email to both of us asking the UNC Muslim Students Association (MSA) and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) to co-sponsor the “Anti-Israel Jihad” event with David Horowitz on Monday.
Though we were surprised to receive this message together, Muslims and Arabs are often falsely conflated. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is not a religious conflict between Muslims and Jews, but rather a political one between those for and against Zionism, a political ideology.
As a religious organization, MSA does not have an official stance on the Israel-Palestine conflict. Additionally, MSA works with interfaith groups including Hillel to make this campus more inclusive for all communities.
SJP is a human rights organization with a diverse membership, including a Jewish faculty advisor, Jewish members and supporters from Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) chapters across the United States.
We find it absurd that UNC’s College Republicans would ask MSA and SJP to co-sponsor an event with Horowitz, who has run ads in The Daily Tar Heel that vilify the MSA, Muslims and Arabs, making it difficult for many such students to feel safe at UNC.
The DTH quotes Horowitz as claiming “the goal of SJP, the MSA and the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Fatah, and Iran and Hezbollah is to kill the Jews, to push them into the sea.” Horowitz promotes a “clash of civilizations” narrative that pits Muslims and Arabs against the West.
As seniors, we remember Horowitz being invited to campus during our first year here. Students protested Horowitz’s hateful ideology and presence on campus.
Horowitz is a member of an Islamophobic and anti-Arab network that promotes fear-mongering against Muslims and Arabs. Following his visit in 2012, Horowitz paid for an Islamophobic ad in the DTH.
Pray’s call for MSA and SJP to be “reformed” in light of Horowitz’s unsubstantiated assertions is paternalistic and groundless. Pray does not provide evidence for his statements and claims no expertise regarding these organizations.
But we are thankful for our allies on campus who stand with us in opposition to racism and bigotry. These allies and friends remind us of the true Carolina Way.