We were hurt and dismayed to see the Williams Record print without comment David Horowitz’s ad in last week’s issue. Such an ad, with its overgeneralizations both racially and religiously, is designed to create a climate of anger and fear. The ad has done great damage to this community’s sense of togetherness and we are saddened that the Record would ever print such irresponsible and incorrect speech.
As an institution within the Williams community, the Record has the duty to exercise reasonable editorial restraint when deciding which advertisements to run in terms of their appropriateness. Comparing Arabs and Islam (and equating the two as the same thing) to Nazis is wrong. Unfortunately, many Arabs and many Muslims, especially in the Middle East, are anti-Semitic, and that anti-Semitism is a detriment to any hope for peace and security in the area. However, the ad failed to acknowledge that anti-Semitism is not inherent in either Arabic backgrounds or Islamic teachings. Only certain fundamentalist readings of Islam lead to these wrong beliefs. We do not accuse the Record of any feelings of hate, but we do believe it failed to adequately understand the harm that such false statements do to a multicultural community such as Williams.
Most important in times when a community is reeling because of dangerous speech is the attempt to rebuild a stronger community. With that end in sight, we strongly urge and demand that the Record explain its actions and distance itself from Horowitz’s stance both through word and action. Thus, we expect the Record both to apologize for the completely unnecessary harm Horowitz’s ad has caused and to donate the proceeds from selling the advertisement to a charitable organization that promotes ideals of community and tolerance. No entity should profit from the proceeds of ignorant, harmful, and hateful speech. As a multicultural community, it is critical that all actions be taken with the ideal of strengthening the bonds of shared humanity in mind. We believe that by printing Horowitz’s ad without a disclaimer and explanation the Record failed in their duty as the community newspaper.
Rory Kramer ’03
Samara Poplack ’03