The JCRC of the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond unequivocally condemns the BDS resolution recently passed by the Graduate and Professional Student Senate of Virginia Tech.
We stand firmly in support of the Jewish students and staff of Virginia Tech and we affirm their desire - and right - to attend a publicly funded school that is inclusive, welcoming, and safe for all members of the Jewish community – and any student who supports Israel and the Zionist dream.
This resolution is quite pernicious in its demonization and delegitimization of Israel. The group of student leaders behind this vote, some of whom are Jewish, claim Israel does not have a right to exist. In the first few lines, they charge the decades old lie that Palestinians are “lynched” in Israel - which is patently false and clearly falls within the definition of a “blood libel.”
While we understand the position of many administrations that free expression needs to be protected on a college campus, we would also ask each case to be examined independently. We would ask the administration of Virginia Tech to reflect on what tropes about other cultural groups should be allowed in their Student Senate debates and resolutions. Would a Neo-Nazi group be welcomed to file resolutions filled with bigoted comments about other religious or racial minorities?
We have full confidence that in accordance with previous Virginia Tech policy, in accordance with our Virginia General Assembly resolution from 2016 condemning BDS, and in solidarity with numerous major Universities around the country, we will be seeing a public statement from President Sands distancing the school from any connection to BDS. We also expect that this statement would speak to how Jewish students at Virginia Tech should feel safe and welcomed at Virginia Tech – and how prospective students and their families should have no reservations about attending a school that the Jewish community has supported for decades and has always thought of as a partner.
We will continue to work closely with the Hillel at Virginia Tech, the administration, and groups like ADL to assure Jewish life at Virginia Tech is nurturing, vibrant, and well-integrated into the larger school community.