The Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America (JWV) remains deeply concerned that the Palestine Writes Literature Festival will be held on campus September 22-24, 2023. The festival coincides with the Jewish High Holiday of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, and takes place next to the location that Jewish students will be holding high holiday worship services. JWV National Commander retired US Army Colonel Barry Lischinsky stated, “University leadership should be sensitive to the needs of Jewish students and faculty and not provide a venue or platform for hate speech of any kind on campus.” Lischinsky made clear, “The University must be responsive to its students and increase security around Jewish activities and move the festival to a different location, preferably off campus grounds.”
JWV urges alumni and others to write University President M. Elizabeth Magill to disapprove of the “Palestine Writes Literature Festival” and to prevent the University from providing space to those that promote hate speech, bigotry, and antisemitic remarks and events on campus. Lischinsky reiterated that “JWV will continue to stand against hatred, bigotry, and combating antisemitism wherever and whenever it occurs.”
Most “Palestine Writes Literature Festival” speakers have little to do with celebrating Palestinian literature or promoting the culture of Palestinian writers and artists. Guest speakers have published antisemitic statements in the past which conflict with the University of Pennsylvania’s antisemitism policy. Speakers have previously given anti-Jewish speeches which are clearly “hate speech” and are again in violation of the university policy and the U.S. Constitution related to freedom of speech.
Members and patrons of the Jewish War Veterans and others have fought, and many have given the ultimate sacrifice, to preserve the rights covered by the U.S. Constitution. While there is nothing illegal about the University of Pennsylvania event itself, the event speakers’ anti-Jewish hate remarks should not be allowed on campus.
About Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America
Founded in 1896, the Jewish War Veterans (JWV) is the premier voice for Jewish uniformed service members and veterans in the United States. The JWV affirms that Jewish men and women serve honorably and heroically in the military forces of the United States of America during peacetime and war. The JWV defends the rights and benefits of all service members and veterans, fights antisemitism, and supports the State of Israel.
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