I never met Fadi Quran, but let me congratulate him on his release from an Israeli jail. His offense was minor, and whether or not the Israelis judged him not a terrorist and a threat by themselves, which seems likely, or whether protests 5,000 miles away made a difference does not matter.
Having said that, many elements of the campaign to win his release are disturbing. The most troubling of these was the frankly anti-Semitic content of the comments board under the various online articles about Fadi.
Many of the comments dealt with so-called Jewish control of the media or government. Others involved four letter words thrown at those who did not accept, after “discussion” prevailing opinions about the various conflicts there. Still others involved calls for the world to boycott Israel based on their arrest of Fadi for his role in a riot in which Palestinians threw Molotov cocktails at Israelis.
The only possible conclusion from this board is that certain individuals, possibly unconnected to Stanford, hope to create an atmosphere of intimidation and fear for those who hold true to views contrary to their own. The more self-righteous and convinced these zealots are of their cause, the more likely that physical conflict will affect Stanford, as it already has other institutions of higher learning, as they debate problems in the Middle East.
The editors should decide for themselves whether to moderate comments. The more important issue is that the content of the debate has, bubbling under the surface, ugliness that has yet to be acknowledged.
Daniel H. Jacobs ’82