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Stanford Student Candidate Says Questioned About Being Jewish (Updated)

Stanford Student Candidate Says Questioned About Being Jewish (Updated)

Molly Horwitz says Students of Color Coalition asked: “Given your Jewish identity, how would you vote on divestment?”

We were one of the first to report how a candidate for the UCLA Judicial Board was questioned about being Jewish. The supposed logic of the questioning was that her affiliation with Jewish groups on campus might render her unfit because anti-Israel divestment issues may come before the Board.

The UCLA incident went viral and received national attention because it was on video. (The UCLA student government took down the video, but Legal Insurrection already had saved it.)

A similar situation is reported by The Stanford Review, in which candidate Molly Horwitz alleges she was questioned about her Jewishness by the Students of Color Coalition (SOCC), from which she was seeking an endorsement:

For many candidates, the Students of Color Coalition (SOCC) endorsement is the most sought-after due to its large size and impressive influence. SOCC is an umbrella group for six student organizations — listed at the end of this article — and works assiduously for its chosen candidates. After filling out an endorsement application, Ms. Horwitz was one of a limited number of candidates selected to interview for the SOCC endorsement.

On Friday, March 13, 2015, Ms. Horwitz arrived at the basement of the Native American Community Center for her interview. Accounts of what transpired during the interview vary and, without any recording of the interview, no single version can be verified.

Ms. Horwitz told The Stanford Review that one of SOCC’s leaders asked her, “Given your strong Jewish identity, how would you vote on divestment?” In February, the Undergraduate Senate approved a controversial resolution calling on Stanford to divest from companies aiding Israel’s “occupation” of the West Bank. Ms. Horwitz explained how she asked for clarification, and the SOCC member subsequently alluded to Ms. Horwitz’s application and asked how her strong Jewish identity would affect her decision in the Senate. In her endorsement application (view a screenshot or read a PDF), Ms. Horwitz repeatedly referenced her Jewish identity and included quotations such as the following:

“I identify as a proud South American and as a Jew”

“I felt like I was not enough for the Latino community and further embraced my Jewish identity”

“I found many parallels between the oppression of the Jews in Egypt and oppression of communities of color in the United States”

Ms. Horwitz told The Review that she then expressed disapproval that the Senate voted for divestment, but reiterated both her belief in the Senate’s democratic system and her hope for a peaceful Middle East.

The lack of audio may make it harder to prove, but according to The Stanford Reviews, Horwitz says students at SOCC were taking notes, which are being sought.

Horwitz is from Milwaukee, but was born in Asuncion, Paraguay. She is a member of Stanford’s rowing team.

The Stanford Review linked to this initial complaint from Horwitz about her treatment:

The Stanford Review article goes through its troubles getting a substantive response from the SOCC to get its side of the story.

My email to Horwitz has not yet been returned.  We will update as more information becomes available.

If Horwitz’s account is accurate, it is not surprising. As we have documented in the UCLA situation, keeping Jewish and/or pro-Israel students out of student government is a deliberate tactic of the anti-Israel campus movement.

Stanford has seen battles over divestment, with a recent student government referendum passing in a surprise vote after it had failed the week earlier.

Stanford students also were involved in hijacking the #BlackLivesMatters protest on the San Mateo Bridge, which resulted in a massive traffic jam and accidents as a Palestinian flag was draped across the bridge roadway at its highest span.  Stanford is also home to one of the most outspoken BDS faculty supporters — who was proud that his students were involved in the San Mateo Bridge protest — David Palumbo Liu.

Ironically, Horwitz’s campaign slogan is “Stand Up To Stigma”.

Molly Horwitz for Stanford Student Senate

UPDATE 3:40 p.m.: After publication, I received the following statement from Horwitz:

“I am running for the student senate at Stanford. Candidates can apply for endorsements from various student groups. I applied for the endorsement of the Students of Color Coalition (SOCC), which has quite a large influence on campus. At my interview, SOCC asked, “Given your strong Jewish identity, how would you handle divestment?” I asked for clarification of the question because I wasn’t sure that the interviewer knew the significance of what she was asking. After I questioned why my Jewish identity was relevant, she scrambled and referenced my application, in which I stated that I was very connected to my Jewish heritage.

I was deeply saddened to see my fellow student leaders unapologetically resort to anti-Semitism. I am running for the Stanford Undergraduate Senate in order to help foster an inclusive and welcoming environment at Stanford. I am upset that SOCC, a group which purports to encourage such an inclusive environment, instead engaged in anti-Semitism. This event has highlighted for me the importance of increasing education on anti-Semitism and the various ways in which it can manifest. It is my hope that the Stanford community can come together, reject this intolerance, and envision a future on campus in which all students, regardless of their religious beliefs, are welcomed and embraced.”

UPDATE 4-14-2015 – Horwitz wrote a column in The Stanford Daily, If I am not for myself, who will be for me?, reiterating her account of events. SOCC also had a column attacking The Stanford Review (a conservative newspaper) which originally reported the incident, and also denying Hurwitz’s accusation, Confronting baseless allegations: The SOCC endorsement process.

I emailed Hurwitz about the denial. Here is my question and her answer:

Q. What is your response to this sentence in their column: “At no point was the question framed in the context of religious identification” ?

A. This is blatantly false. The question asked me, word for word, “given your strong Jewish identity, how would you handle divestment?” SOCC has clearly realized they made a mistake, but rather than admitting that and apologizing so we can work toward coming together, they are denying wrongdoing. The question was clearly framed in the context of religious identification.


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Sammy Finkelman | April 13, 2015 at 2:21 pm

Maybe she shouldn’t even have tried to get their endorsement.

They are obviously, a bad, bad group, as most avowedly minority organizations are, but she was too naive to know it.

Their position on divestment is probably because of log rolling. Obviously, they think it is so wrong, that no Jewish person would ordinarily endorse it, but somebody non-Jewish might fall for their propaganda, or support it in exchange for an endorsement because it is nothing to them.

Does receive any US government funding? If so, zero it out. All of it.

    Zero ’em all out – institutions, faculties, and student subsidies. The free market has a wonderful genius at sorting for value.

    Let 1000 flowers bloom!

Because they have to ask, it can be understood that the interrogators would vote for an anti-Israel proposition.

Sammy Finkelman | April 13, 2015 at 2:25 pm

It is interesting that the Students of Color Coalition was not going to automatically write her off because she was Jewish – or at least they might have some difficultly getting all members to go along – so they wanted to look at what kind of a Jew she was. If somebody doesn’t care about anything Jewish, maybe that could be OK with them.

Dana Thompson | April 13, 2015 at 2:58 pm

She’s the one who injected her Jewishness into the conversation. If she thought it had no relevance to the position she was seeking, why did she feature it so prominently in her application? Crying “antisemitism!” as she’s doing is despicable.

Selective victimhood coming home to roost? That’s what you get for seeking the endorsements of self-described, perpetual victims.

One more reason I will never contribute to Stanford.

If the student government were dealing with things actually relating to BEING STUDENTS instead of using itself as a soapbox for political issues of which it knows not, her position on divestment would not even be relevant.

I never understood the hysteria over the West Bank, and still don’t get it. Israel occupied this land area as the victor in the surprise June 1967 Six Day War. Israel was NOT the aggressor; Israel was attacked in June 1967. Don’t the spoils of war go to the victor … or is that logic only for gentiles?

    Paul in reply to walls. | April 13, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    Wars have consequences.

    alaskabob in reply to walls. | April 13, 2015 at 7:12 pm

    Maybe we should see Germany demanding return to 1941 boundaries of their land possession? How about Spain and Portugal demanding going back to the Treaty Of Zaragoza? Right now the Western Powers are trying to make the Muslim Caliphate a reality. Israel gave back the Sinai… and more… I guess giving up all land, all identity and all life is the … final solution… to win appeasement by the PC world. So soon “never again”… becomes again and again and again.

    So her Jewish identity makes it easier to understand the oppression of other minority groups in America? She lost me with that one. Playing the political suck up game is not befitting.

inspectorudy | April 13, 2015 at 7:25 pm

All you have to do is swap the name Jew for black and imagine how this would play out. College is an incredible moment in time where the fools that attend do not have to comply with any of the social norms that keep the rest of us civil. Reading this story reminds me of the 1940’s and talking about black civil rights. There were a lot of people who thought that they were truly second class people and saw nothing wrong with them being treated unfairly. Today’s colleges are the same but it is a different group getting the pointy stick.

The irony of SOCC revealing their true colors is lost on them.

This is the natural outcome of identity politics. I wish we would focus on that aspect of the problem. Anti-Semitism is wrong, but our tolerance of identity politics that is providing the cover which is allowing it to grow.

CampusClimatologist | April 14, 2015 at 2:11 pm

She’s America’s second-ever “White Hispanic.”

Sammy Finkelman | April 15, 2015 at 2:20 pm

There is some more to add about the Standford student election campaign:

First, not only did they ask her (they are denying it) about what effect her religion and connections to Jewish things would have on her, but, even more important…

The Stanford Review, a student publication that has criticized the Students of Color Coalition in the past, published an article about Ms. Horwitz. The article also said that the student group had asked candidates it chose to endorse to sign a contract prohibiting affiliation with Jewish groups, [!!] and Ms. Lapin said university officials were investigating that as well.

It’s in this article:

Multiple sources have reported that SOCC made its selected candidates sign contracts barring them from associating with specific student groups and campus communities. Some sources indicated Jewish groups were explicitly listed on the contract while others maintained the Jewish groups were stated verbally. SOCC’s leadership allegedly collected the contracts after the candidates signed them.

Update: SOCC recently released a copy of the contract it had its candidates sign. There is no mention of Jewish groups on the contract. Assuming this is in fact the contract the candidates signed, it appears that Jewish groups were either mentioned verbally or not at all.

Another bit of news:

Molly Horowitz tried to downplay, and even hide, her previous support for Israel:

From today’s New York Times article:

During the debate over divestment earlier this year, Ms. Horwitz wrote several posts on Facebook against it. Miriam Pollock, a friend and campaign manager for Ms. Horwitz, said in an interview Tuesday that before Ms. Horwitz started gathering signatures for her campaign, the two scrubbed her Facebook page to hide all posts indicating support for Israel, [!!] including a photograph of a pair of shoes decorated to look like the Israeli flag.

“We did it not because she isn’t proud — she is — but the campus climate has been pretty hostile, and it would not be politically expedient to take a public stance,” Ms. Pollock said. “She didn’t want that to be a main facet of her platform. Of course she was going to be honest if she was asked about her stance on divestment.”

Sammy Finkelman | April 15, 2015 at 2:22 pm

Errata: Her last name is Horwitz, not Horowitz.