An infamous anniversary approaches at Princeton. On Feb. 7, 2023, Mohammed El-Kurd gave a speech full of antisemitic and anti-Zionist incitement on the  campus. Princeton was well aware of El-Kurd’s notorious antisemitism, yet insisted on inviting and paying him, defending it on free speech grounds.

Princeton has never acknowledged how much it paid Mr. El-Kurd, but his university speaking rate is reportedly up to $10,000. Arizona State University’s undergraduate student government “approved nearly $10,000 … to pay El-Kurd’s speaker fee,” according to the Phoenix New Times. At the ASU speech, El-Kurd said, “If you heckle me, you will get shot.”

After El Kurd’s presentation at Princeton, Chabad Rabbi Eitan Webb told him, “I would like to thank you very much for giving a masterclass on how to be an antisemite.”

I am a member of the Princeton 1746 Society for significant donors. But I ended my contributions to Princeton after the University defended El-Kurd’s presentation and other acts of antisemitic incitement on free speech/academic freedom grounds. I am not the only Princetonian who has paused their contributions.

In the year since Mr. El Kurd’s speech:

  • An antisemitic pogrom of rape, kidnapping and murder was launched by Hamas on Oct. 7, 2023, killing more than 1,200 Israelis and kidnapping 240 others.
  • The attack and the war that Israel launched against Hamas in response has resulted in a wave of antisemitism on Ivy League campuses and in America’s streets.
  • More than 1,600 Princeton alumni signed a letter sent to university administrators asking that the University does not become “a hotbed of antisemitism.”
  • Two of eight Ivy League Presidents resigned, largely due to their inadequate response to the Oct. 7 massacre and at a subsequent Congressional hearing.

And what of Mr. El-Kurd himself?

At a rally in London on January 13, El-Kurd said, “We must normalize massacres as a status quo.” While Mr. El-Kurd later said that he misspoke in that instance, he also added that “Zionism is apartheid, it’s genocide, it’s murder, it’s a racist ideology rooted in settler expansion and racial domination, and we must root it out of the world.”

Mr. El-Kurd was investigated by the London police. Members of Parliament called for his deportation, to which he responded with obscenity. Is such incitement to violence the “free speech” that President Eisgruber ’83 constantly defends?

Is Princeton proud of this infamous episode? I know El-Kurd is.

Michael Goldstein ’78
Encino, Calif.