A Stanford student who said that stereotypes asserting Jews "control the banks and the media" do not constitute anti-Semitism has announced that he would not run for re-election after his comments caused an uproar.
During a hearing on renewing a resolution banning anti-Semitism last Tuesday, Stanford senior Gabriel Knight insisted that a clause which defines negative Jewish stereotypes is "irresponsibly foraying into another politically contentious conversation."
"Questioning these potential power dynamics, I think, is not anti-Semitism," he said.
"I think it’s a very valid discussion." He also maintained that the bill should include “some language to acknowledge Palestinians’ rights to self-determination."
Knight's statement was then followed by a group of pro-Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) students from the Students of Color Coalition (SOCC) moving to redefine "anti-Semitism" as excluding delegitimization of Israel and Zionism, as well as a lengthy debate over whether "Jewish power" intersected with "white power."
In a letter published in The Stanford Daily, Knight wrote that he had “chosen to end my campaign for re-election to the ASSU Senate.”
“This decision was not an easy one, and was not meant to appease student groups who called for my resignation. It seems that my continued presence in the Senate race has become a distraction from the larger ASSU elections and has made it difficult for students to meaningfully discuss campus issues,” added Knight.
He stressed that he “never intended to be hurtful and am saddened by and apologize for the fact that I was. Nevertheless, I hope that this week’s events and my decision to end my campaign do not encourage or substantiate threats to free discussion. I urge all to always operate under the assumption of best intent.”
“I urge all to recognize the difference between intentionally hateful speech and offensive speech, and to recognize what conflating the two does to limit speech and discussion. I urge all to continue to critically examine all things we deem to be realities, both at the Stanford level as well as on the national and international stage, and not restrict the speech of those who do,” added Knight.
Knight’s comments had been condemned by both the Anti-Defamation League, as well as by Stanford University's Hillel.