GUEST ROOM | Holding Prof. Rickford Accountable

Re “A Statement Regarding My Actions From Oct.15″ (Letter to the Editor, Oct. 18)

On Saturday, Oct. 7, the terrorist organization Hamas carried out the most horrific attack on Israel since the Yom Kippur War. Terrorists stormed into Israel and murdered over 1,400 Israelis and kidnapped almost 200. But these terrorists, a designation placed on Hamas by the United States, the European Union and dozens of countries, did not just kill innocent men, women and children. Their actions recalled some of the worst atrocities in Jewish history. At Kfar Aza,  40 babies and toddlers were murdered, some of them beheaded.  At the a music festival near the Israeli side of the 1948 border, women were raped before they were butchered.

Just over a week later, Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority condemned Hamas’ actions, stating that they do not represent the Palestinian people. The same day, on Sunday, Oct. 16, Cornell University Prof. Russel Rickford, history, called Hamas’ actions “exhilarating” and “energizing.” Instead of condemning acts of terrorism, Professor Rickford celebrated Hamas’s actions as they “changed the balance of power” in Israel. Professor Rickford’s words stand in stark contrast to the values of Cornell University’s ideal of “free and open inquiry and expression.” We cannot stand idly by as students are traumatized by hateful speech from a professor, as this creates a culture of fear of presenting alternative perspectives, lest their academic standing suffer.