The following statement was sent to The Badger by JSoc, Sussex’s Jewish student society. We are happy to publish it as indeed we are always happy to publish letters written by students and staff which are sent to our Letters section, whether they be about content in the publication or wider issues. The letters which we publish do not reflect the editorial views of The Badger, which does not have an editorial stance: instead, as a student newspaper, The Badger serves as a platform for the individual views of our contributors.
The following letter is a response to Vice-Chancellor Adam Tickell’s email of February 22 titled “respecting different opinions and voices”, and to the open letter responses which various students and an academic have previously sent to The Badger, and which can be found on our website under “Letters”. The email itself was a response to an opinion piece written by a Sussex student in the Telegraph on February 21.
We are pleased to say we have no accusations of anti-Semitism to make specifically regarding Israel Apartheid Week, nor anticipate reason to do so, but the fact that the VC even considers our views and indeed has personally been in contact with us to reassure Jewish students on this week – something no other body on campus has done – is received with gratitude.
Jewish students certainly have not been weaponised in the VC’s open letter as some believe: the sentiments of unease at IAW described by Prof. Tickell has in fact been expressed by and relayed from Jewish students, and we stand behind Jewish students’ rights to security regardless of political views. We also thank the Sussex Friends of Palestine Society for their responsiveness and cooperation in avoiding events which might, even unintentionally, be interpreted with anti-Semitic overtones.
Our choice as a society not to take a political stance does not override our appreciation at efforts made to support the wellbeing of Jewish students, including their rights to express their own perspectives with their own voices, and we respectfully ask third parties not to dismiss the legitimate fears of Jewish students and to refrain from speaking on our behalf.