Stanford is “addressing” a Facebook post — authored last Friday by former Undergraduate Senator and incoming Norcliffe Resident Assistant Hamzeh Daoud ’20 — that originally threatened physical violence against Zionists. The case holds potential for disciplinary action.
“The author of the post will receive fair and thoughtful consideration, as our work with students demands,” wrote University spokesperson E.J. Miranda in a statement to The Daily. Miranda noted that, because of privacy laws, Stanford is limited in what it can share about the ongoing inquiry.
Daoud originally wrote, “I’m gonna physically fight Zionists on campus next year if someone comes at me with their ‘Israel is a democracy’ bullshit. And after I abolish your ass I’ll go ahead and work every day for the rest of my life to abolish your petty ass ethno-supremacist, settler-colonial state.”
Though four hours later, Daoud altered the post and explained that he did not intend to actually impose physical harm on anyone, the Stanford College Republicans (SCR) quickly initiated calls for the University to fire Daoud from his staffing position and to expel him from Stanford.
In his statement to The Daily, Miranda acknowledged both the seriousness of the language included in Daoud’s first post and the steps he took to remedy the situation in its aftermath. Those steps included an apology to Jewish community members.
“We also have an obligation to address the original communication and its effects,” Miranda wrote. “Our students must feel they are able to voice their own views on campus without fear of physical retaliation, and they also must feel physically safe in our student residences.”
As of Thursday at 3 p.m., Daoud had not responded to The Daily’s request for an updated comment.
Students have mobilized support for Daoud, advocating for him to keep his job in Norcliffe. A Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP)-sponsored email campaign, circulated to many high-traffic campus lists, included a list of suggested talking points for students seeking to deter administrators from expelling or firing Daoud.
Stanford JVP president Emily Wilder ’20, who is a close friend and advocate of Daoud’s, said her organization is partnering with Students for Justice in Palestine and the International Socialist Organization to promote a petition advocating for Daoud. According to Wilder, the petition has reached over 330 signatures as of Thursday morning.
In response to student support for Daoud, SCR created an email campaign, similar in structure to the JVP campaign, but instead calling for Daoud to be fired. On Wednesday, SCR shared a Facebook post with a template and instructions for emailing the same six campus administrators listed in the JVP campaign.
“Although Hamzeh edited the statement after people became offended, his first instinct proves that he has anti-Israel and anti-Jewish sentiments,” SCR wrote.
SCR has also criticized what they referred to as “Daoud’s cult of apologists,” including JVP. In a Facebook post on Wednesday, SCR accused JVP of being “a rabidly anti-Israel front group that has praised a notorious racist, Richard Spencer.”
When asked in a comment to prove the latter claim, SCR shared an opinions piece by JVP media manager Naomi Dann. The piece is titled “Richard Spencer Might Be The Worst Person In America. But He Might Also Be Right About Israel.”
SCR also addressed claims that it targeted Daoud based on his ethnicity and religious beliefs. The organization referred to such claims as “patently false.”
But in the face of SCR’s critique, many have called the organization’s credibility into question, citing previous instances in which the group has targeted students on account of their political beliefs. In early June, leaked emails revealed that SCR members had conspired with Hoover Senior Fellow Niall Ferguson to conduct “opposition research” on liberal ASSU Executive candidate Michael Ocon ’20.
“While for four hours Hamzeh’s Facebook wall read of physical fights, SCR has been engaging in vindictive and harmful targeting of Stanford community members for years,” wrote Hannah Smith ’20 in a Daily Op-Ed published Thursday. “They didn’t redact Hamzeh’s name, instead blasting a portrayal of him as a violent Muslim Palestinian into the vicious world of the internet. While Hamzeh recognized the pain caused by his post, the SCR has never apologized for the students they expose to hate mail, death threats and cyberbullying.”
On Friday, the Stanford Jewish Student Association (JSA) shared a statement in response to Daoud’s post. Although JSA did not mention Daoud by name or call for any specific University action, the organization noted that it “condemns, in the strongest possible terms, any statement that targets Zionist students and threatens their security on campus.”
“Many Jewish students reasonably felt threatened by the aforementioned post, and we urge Stanford’s leadership and community members to give due weight to their concerns in the aftermath of this incident,” JSA wrote.
The organization also encouraged concerned students, including incoming freshman, “to reach out to JSA for guidance, support, and discussion of the campus climate.”
Miranda acknowledged that the University’s limited ability to disclose information about Daoud’s case may frustrate students, but he emphasized safety and inclusivity as central goals of the University’s efforts to resolve the issue.
“Threats of physical violence have absolutely no place in the Stanford community,” Miranda wrote.
Daoud recently deactivated his Facebook profile.
This post has been updated to include information on an SCR email campaign organized in an effort to have Daoud fired from his resident assistant position.
This post has also been updated to include a statement from the Stanford Jewish Student Association.
Contact Holden Foreman at hs4man21 ‘at’ stanford.edu.