A Message on Sunday Night's Protest in Center City

Dear Drexel Students and Colleagues, 

I was distressed to receive news overnight that demonstrators congregated outside an Israeli restaurant in Center City and aimed blatantly offensive and threatening chants at its owner— a brazen display of antisemitism. I was further disturbed by reports that protesters in this same demonstration vandalized Penn academic buildings and other businesses along Walnut Street. 

As I have previously expressed, Drexel defends the right of all members of our community to peacefully and respectfully express their views about Israel and Palestine and about the war between Israel and Hamas’ ruling terrorist regime without fear of intimidation, harassment, or professional retribution. 

At the same time, we have zero tolerance for antisemitism or islamophobia, and have been clear in drawing a line between expressing strong opinions through robust discussion, debate, and peaceful protest — and engaging in any act of harassment, discrimination or hate that threatens anyone’s safety and well-being — on or off-campus. 

Last night’s protest in Center City and University City crossed that line. I mourn the loss of all innocent life in Israel and Gaza. I feel utter anguish over the suffering and ever-deepening humanitarian crisis in Gaza. And I condemn all hate crimes that have taken place across the country since the outbreak of this war.

But silence in the face of last night’s demonstration of antisemitism and hate near our doorstep is not an option for me. Intimidation, vandalism and threats of violence are never peaceful, constructive, or justifiable, and will never be tolerated at Drexel.


John Fry

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