Stanford student who threatened ‘Zionist students’ quits dorm post

The main quadrangle of Stanford University (Wikimedia Commons)

(JTA) — A student at Stanford University who threatened to “physically fight” against “Zionist students” following Israel’s passing of legislation making Israel the nation-state of the Jewish people said he was resigning as a residential assistant.

In a Facebook post last month, Hamzeh Daoud, 20, 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.”

Daoud later amended the post to say “intellectually fight,” and added, “I edited this post because I realize intellectually beating zionists is the only way to go. Physical fighting is never an answer to when trying to prove people wrong.”

Daoud, an active member of Students for Justice in Palestine, identifies as a “third-generation Palestinian refugee.” He is a graduate of the Amman Academy in Amman, Jordan.

In an op-ed statement to the Stanford Daily published Friday, Daoud addressed his Facebook post and looked to the future.

“I bear with me trans-generational trauma that is beyond the confines of this statement,” Daoud said in noting that his grandparents took refuge in Jordan following Israel’s 1948 War of Independence.” He called Israel’s passage of the nation-state law “yet another layer of trauma.”

“I acknowledge the language in my first post had a strong negative effect on many in our Stanford community. I apologize from the bottom of my heart to everyone who was triggered by it. I recognize that I was projecting my own trauma onto others in a way that is never acceptable,” he wrote in his statement.

He said he is entering trauma-based therapy with the Counseling and Psychological Services Center at Stanford.

The university issued a statement on Friday.

“Following standard university procedure in cases of possible threat, the university has conducted an extensive case assessment, and concluded that the student does not pose a physical threat to other members of the community,” it said. “His consent allows us to share this information, which is normally private, for the benefit of the community.”

The statement noted that Daoud’s  “decision to step down as an RA puts the interests of the broader community first.”

The statement also acknowledged that “There have been many expressions of concern for the safety of Jewish students at Stanford,” and that Daoud has faced several death threats over his post.

The American Jewish Committee welcomed Daoud’s resignation, saying that his threat, though it was later retracted, made it untenable for him to serve as a resident assistant.

“Stanford University’s administration is to be praised for acting quickly to condemn Mr. Daoud’s harmful remarks, which many Jews on campus took as directed against them,” the AJC’s Northern California regional director, Rabbi Serena Eisenberg, said in a statement. “AJC appreciates Stanford’s commitment to using this episode as a springboard for campus-wide instruction in the importance of civility. AJC appreciates, too, that Mr. Daoud had the grace to recognize that his remarks would have made it impossible to fulfill his duties as a Resident Assistant.”

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