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Hillel director should be held accountable for racist remarks

Almost exactly one year ago, The Daily Targum ran an op-ed by a student named Colleen Jolly that contained vulgar anti-Semitic statements. The mistake was rightly condemned and the Targum forthwith issued an apology and retraction. Shortly after, the president of Rutgers Hillel, Andrew Getraer, wrote an op-ed, which went further than condemning the Targum’s mistake. Getraer did not accept their apology. “It is hard to believe,” he wrote, “[that] you could only discern the bigotry of the piece in retrospect.” Instead, he wrote a list of demands on behalf of Rutgers Hillel, which included an overhaul of the Targum’s policies.

I mention Getraer’s reaction only to contrast it with how he responds to the present accusations of Islamophobia being brought against him on account of bigoted, ignorant and racist statements he made against Muslims, which were recently leaked on the website Alternet. The article shows a correspondence between Mr. Getraer and one “Ido Shapiro” in which he is found making such statements as “Islam is a huge problem,” [sic] “lets 25% of Muslims are really islamists. Really want jihad, kill infidels,” and “I know a few – a FEW – devout Muslims who are not hateful people,” with some brief comments by the author of the article at the bottom. Despite admitting the veracity of the correspondence, Getraer described the article as “nonsense” and a publicity stunt, saying that “There’s nothing I said that I think is false.”

So Getraer is so far from conceding anything to those he has offended that he refuses even to acknowledge the spuriousness of a statistic that he pulled out from nowhere. In response to a poor editorial decision made by the student-run Daily Targum, he demands for more than an apology, but when Getraer is caught making clearly racist and ignorant statements against Muslims, he refuses to give even a half, even a 1 percent apology. Is Getraer really so confident in the asinine statements he made about Muslims?

Getraer says that he was actually defending Muslims from slander by pointing out in public that Muslims are among the victims of “Islamist” extremism. But racists are seldom free of contradictions, and Getraer is no exception. In private he says, “I know a few — a FEW — devout Muslims who are not hateful people.” This means that Getraer believes Muslims who practice hate are devout, that is to say, true to the spirit and letter of the Quran. Getraer further admits to his interlocutor that “Islamism” really means “true Islam.” After he pulls out the marvelous statistic of 25 percent of Muslims engaging in murder and hate, Getraer’s interlocutor says, “Meaning only 25 percent of Muslims follow Islam’s commandments,” to which Getraer replies “That’s more than the percentage of Jews who follow Halacha!” Those who, like Talia Friedman and Danielle Dossantos, defend Getraer’s point to the mitigating statements he made in public. But I ask: What’s a better indicator of a person’s heartfelt opinions, what they post in public or what they say in private?

In closing, I wish to share a syllogism made up of the several premises we have demonstrated. Getraer makes statements about the “devout” nature of Muslims he regards as hateful despite probably having little or no knowledge of the Quran. He thinks that Muslims in the Rutgers community hate Jews because some of them take exception to the policies of the state of Israel. He thinks that 25 percent of all Muslims hate and murder people. Therefore, it is safe to assume that 90 percent of what Andrew Getraer says about any topic is total nonsense.

Shawmaf Khubba is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in Philosophy. 

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