An Open Letter to the Duke University President

Jewish on Campus Team
March 31, 2022

March 31, 2022

Vincent Price, President

Duke University, Office of the President

207 Allen Building

Durham, NC 27708

Dear President Price,

In the upcoming event, “Narrating Resistance and Agency: Shifting the Discourse on Palestine,” Duke University intends to spend $16,835 to feature Mohammed El-Kurd, thereby directly funding a vocal supporter of violence against minorities, and endorsing El-Kurd’s support for terrorism. While it is imperative to allow for free and open discourse of diverse views, this event endangers the safety of students, and his calls for violence surpass civil expressions of ideas.

Duke’s Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment, and Related Misconduct, lists examples of prohibited conduct including, “repeated instances of anti-Semitic slurs directed toward an individual, regardless of whether that individual is Jewish.” In the past, El-Kurd has called Jewish people “pigs” and stated, “I hope every one of them [Israelis] dies in the most tortuous and slow ways.” At this event, El-Kurd is expected to discuss his recent book in which he promotes blood libel, stating, “​​[Israelis] harvest organs of the martyred [Palestinians].”

The failure to address this upcoming event stands in stark contrast to the treatment of Jewish students at Duke University. In November, the Jewish student organization, Duke Students Supporting Israel (SSI), was denied university recognition. This decision was justified because Duke SSI responded to an individual on social media publicly. Yet Mohammed El-Kurd has demonstrated a repeated behavior of using social media to promote violence against others based on their background. Despite his statements, El-Kurd has been granted both support and funding by Duke University. This double standard can only be described as neglectful but also antisemitic.

As a representative of Jewish students at Duke University, Jewish on Campus calls for this event to be canceled and for the administration to denounce the use of university funds to promote bigotry that endangers students from marginalized backgrounds.

We await your response,

Jewish on Campus

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