The Minority Rights Coalition’s decision to prevent the Jewish Leadership Council from joining their organization ignited a justified firestorm on Grounds. Many Jewish students at the University saw the MRC’s vote against membership status as display of anti-Semitism on Grounds. The MRC the JLC’s inclusion of Hoos for Israel under their umbrella organization as a group endorsement of Israel. We condemn this decision by the MRC to exclude the JLC as short-sighted. By failing to incorporate one of the University’s most disenfranchised minorities, the MRC invalidates itself and its mission to “the minority voice is heard at UVA.” Looking to the future, the MRC must act to correct this disservice.
In light of upcoming MRC elections this Sunday April 6, we call on the incoming leadership to continue to strive towards a solution to the controversy. During their transition, it is important that the new leaders of the MRC keep the issue of JLC membership in the forefront of their vision as they strive to uphold minority voices at the University.
The MRC’s exclusion of the JLC due to their affiliation with HFI demonstrates discrimination against Jewish students at the University. Jewish students have once again been ostracized — look no further than the graffiti at , the of “Jews will not replace us” during white supremacist marches in August and Congregation Beth Israel’s decision armed security after local police declined to protect the synagogue. The threat against Jewish students is palpable and real.
Many of the proponents of JLC’s exclusion from the MRC state that its support of Israel contradicts the MRC’s goals. Examining the JLC’s mission statement closer, it openly that “it is committed to a pluralistic vision of Judaism and Jewish life.” Given the nature of JLC’s composition, Hoos for Israel’s inclusion within its constituent organizations needs to be understood as a singular component of the organization, not an overarching mantra of the JLC as an entity. In fact, the of JLC organizations are non-political and dedicated to Jewish social, religious and educational engagement — this plurality should define the JLC. Incoming MRC leaders have the opportunity to reevaluate the true nature of the JLC, which will lead to a more accurate decision-making process.
Regardless of past injustices, the new leaders of the MRC will have the opportunity to expand their protection of minority voices at the University. As an organization that seeks to provide safety for minorities in times of strife, incoming leaders must recognize the anti-Semitism on Grounds and fulfill their responsibility to stand for all minorities. The MRC’s purpose is to cultivate a space for minorities to speak freely from threat and galvanize their voices into change.
In its constitution, the MRC as a goal, “creating a university community that truly embraces diversity in all its forms.” By remaining dedicated to solving this issue, incoming MRC leaders will demonstrate their commitment to the mission of their organization.
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