The PAW article about Ernest Stock ’49, focusing in part on the bigotry he experienced as a Jew at Princeton from students whose pre-Princeton lives were likely, at worst, a casual walk in the park compared to his, was compelling reading. But how ironic. The PAW arrived the same week that Princeton’s English department and the Princeton Committee on Palestine gave 24-year-old “activist” Mohammed El-Kurd a platform for his crackpot, antisemitic ideas about Jews and Israel (for example, he writes that Jews “harvest organs of the martyred [Palestinians], feed their warriors our own”).  

What El-Kurd has so far peddled in his young life would have made Goebbels proud and no doubt has had many QAnon followers and other conspiracy theorists bemoaning the fact they hadn’t come up with El-Kurd’s ideas before he did. Among the risible explanations from the chair of the English department for El-Kurd’s invitation to speak at Princeton is that El-Kurd “has urgent experience and ideas to bring to the campus.” “Urgent experience and ideas” gained when and where? After living in the United States, being educated in New York, and moving to Jerusalem at age 22? What’s next from the English department? The Protocols of the Elders of Zion reviewed by Louis Farrakhan? Why not? Farrakhan has experience and ideas.

Stock’s experiences at Princeton decades ago and the enabling of El-Kurd’s antisemitism in 2023 make clear that, as to Princeton’s English department and Jews, the more things change the more they remain the same.

Willis J. Goldsmith p’02
Indian River Shores, Fla.