On June 3, 2021, Dean Michael A. Simons sent a message to St. John's Law students about the recent rise in anti-Semitic and Islamophobic violence and rhetoric, reiterating the Law School's commitment to stand against all forms of religious or ethnic hatred. Here is an excerpt:
It’s been almost two weeks since a truce went into effect between Israel and Hamas. While the cessation of the fighting is welcomed by all who long for peace, the conflict in the Middle East has given rise to anti-Semitic and anti-Islamic attacks here at home. Last month, a Jewish man was beaten in Times Square by protesters, who have since been charged with hate crimes. This week, a veterans’ memorial in Queens was vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti. Islamophobic vandalism has also occurred at mosques in Brooklyn and on Long Island.
We must stand together united against violence inspired by religious or ethnic hatred in our community. I have heard from many of our Jewish students, and they are frightened. I know that Muslim members of our community have also experienced the fear of being targeted or marginalized because of their religion. At St. John’s Law, we are committed to fostering a learning environment in which everyone feels safe and respected. As an intellectual community that prides itself on rigorous debate and respectful discussion about contentious issues, we must also condemn the use of anti-Semitic and Islamophobic symbols and rhetoric that cause division and pain rather than dialogue and understanding.
Michael A. Simons
Dean and John V. Brennan Professor of Law and Ethics