October 25, 2023

Letter to the Editor | The Cornell Community Makes Final Remarks on Rickford’s Words

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Re “Cornell Professor “Exhilarated” by Hamas’s Attack Defends Remark” (news article, Oct. 17)

To the Editor: 

I thank Professor Rickford for delivering his anti-Semitic screed without recourse to the jargon used by many on the post-structuralist left. He does not claim Hamas reimagined Eurocentric repertoires of contention or invited colonizers to engage in transversal grief. He has no need for obfuscation. He simply learned about a massacre of Jews and found it “exhilarating.” He doesn’t mask his views because he believes they are acceptable for a professor at an elite academic institution. Cornell’s administration will now let us know if he is correct.

Daniel Balson ‘07

To the Editor: 

As an alumnus of the class of 1990, I was extremely disappointed with the antisemitic comments of both Russel Rickford and Derron Borders. The chant “From the river to the sea” is a euphemism aiming to completely kick out/kill all the Jews living in Israel. How is this ok? Unless Rickford and Borders are fired, I won’t be donating to Cornell. 

Richard Rose ‘90

To the Editor: 

If Cornell does not respond appropriately to this professor’s inciting words, that will be how every single Jewish student on campus will feel [a target]. As such, I am asking that you respond swiftly to this professor, and dismiss him immediately. Jewish students will not feel safe on campus otherwise, and Jewish alumni, like myself, will no longer support the actions of Cornell University, nor will we send our friends, family members or our donations to Cornell.

Jillian Shapiro ‘19

To the Editor, and President Pollack: 

As the chancellor of a top higher education institution, you not only are mandated to fulfill Cornell’s mission, but you represent a class of leaders who are critical to protecting the global community’s liberal values. You said: “I am sickened by statements glorifying the evilness of Hamas terrorism. Any members of our community who have made such statements do not speak for Cornell; in fact, they speak in direct opposition to all we stand for Cornell.” We would like your words to have consequences and call on you to take action. Impressionable students should not be susceptible to moral fog and incendiary, biased and frightening speech.

Judy Feierstein ‘72

To the Editor: 

It strains credulity for a Cornell professor to ask us to accept the fact that his unacceptable comments were made merely because of a poor choice of words.

Roy M. Schoenfeld ‘67

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