Two-thirds of the way through the Oct. 29 piece “Mourning the familiar,” the article takes a sharp turn away from its subject – Jewish students’ responses to antisemitic graffiti – and puts the focus on Israel. The News’ haphazard attempt to lump the discussions of Israel and antisemitism together is emblematic of a deep frustration of many Jewish students. 

550 words in, the News quotes Viktor Kagan ’24. He says that although the Slifka Center “responded well” to the antisemitic graffiti, “the center is still an unwelcoming space to me and many other Jewish students who do not have an opinion on, or disagree with the extreme support of the Israeli state and unwavering commitment to the idea that condemning Israel-state actions is equivalent to antisemitism.” 

This section of the article felt very out of place. The News only quotes one student about how Slifka’s stance on Israel-Palestine affects their relationship with the institution. It seems that the paper did not give a representative of Slifka a chance to respond to Kagan’s criticism. While the News did quote Rabbi Jason Rubenstein’s statement in response to the YCC vote, it did not cite the line that explicitly states that Slifka welcomes and embraces “the broadest range of moral and political positions on Israel and Palestinian rights – including views left, right, and center that challenge accepted opinion and use prophetic claims to highlight moral crises.” 

I am not saying that we shouldn’t discuss the Israel-Palestine conflict. Last spring, the unrest on campus and in Israel and Palestine caused a great deal of stress for Yale students. When we talk about Israel-Palestine, we should do so responsibly and respectfully. This article felt like a lapse of journalistic integrity from the News. If the News wanted to write a piece about Slifka’s stance on Israel, it should have been done as a fair, full-length news article or as a student op-ed, not as a side paragraph in an unrelated feature article. 

I am especially frustrated by this article because it brings Israel into a discussion of antisemitic graffiti. Why should Jewish students have to think about or take a stance on Israel while mourning hatred targeted at their people? Many Jewish students feel like they are expected to have a well-defined opinion about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but Judaism allows you to have a strong Jewish identity without any connection to Israel.

Last spring, Yale Jews for Palestine implored American Jews and Slifka to stop conflating Jewish identity with the State of Israel. This is difficult to do when articles like this one link the two. I want to invite people from all viewpoints to join the conversation about Israel and Palestine. But we must also maintain the ability to discuss antisemitism on its own terms. To accomplish both of these goals, we need to be more careful with our words and associations.

MAX KRUPNICK is a junior in Berkeley College. Contact him at