Stanford student leader says it’s not anti-Semitic to claim Jews control media, economy

(JTA) – A member of Stanford University’s Student Senate argued that it is “not anti-Semitism” to claim Jews control “the media, economy, government and other social institutions.”

Gabriel Knight, a junior, made the remark at a Student Senate meeting Tuesday addressing a proposed resolution on anti-Semitism, according to the Stanford Daily, the main campus newspaper. Knight also said, “Questioning these potential power dynamics, I think, is not anti-Semitism. I think it’s a very valid discussion.” 

He apologized later in the meeting after Jewish community leaders and a Jewish student accused him of anti-Semitism.

“I will apologize for when I supposed that [the clause] wasn’t anti-Semitic,” said Knight. “It wasn’t right for me to say that Jewish people can’t be offended by that. What I meant to say is that it’s still making a political statement, which is my problem with the clause – it’s an important conversation we should be having.”

Knight’s remarks came during a debate over language in the proposed resolution, which offers guidelines for defining anti-Semitism and calls on the student governmental body to oppose anti-Semitic activities and fund anti-discrimination education.

The resolution initially included “anti-Zionism” in its definition of anti-Semitism, a term removed in response to objections made at a meeting last week. However, several speakers at Tuesday’s meeting objected to language linking “anti-Semitism to the denial of Israel’s right to exist.”

Another point of contention was a clause that deemed demonizing, delegitimizing and applying double standards to Israel anti-Semitic, which the Senate voted to delete, saying it would restrict “legitimate criticism of Israeli policy.”

According to the Stanford Review, a campus publication that describes itself as “a political magazine that promotes independent thought at Stanford,” some at the meeting also questioned whether the Anti-Defamation League was qualified to educate about anti-Semitism.

The resolution was tabled so sponsors and supporters could assess whether or not to support it without the language that was cut.

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