Letters to the Editor: Jack Arbiser
Letters to the EditorOpinion

Letters to the Editor: Jack Arbiser

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Letter to the editor,

Imagine for a moment, that there was a Ku Klux Klan (KKK) encampment on the Emory quad. This rally would be peaceful, but the protestors would be chanting racist and anti-Semitic slogans, such as “Hitler was right.” To our dismay, we would discover that the encampment was made primarily by Emory students, whom we thought were free of these prejudices. Emory police would ask the encampment to disband, but they refused. Emory would then call in Atlanta police to take down the encampment, as Emory has the right to regulate its own private property. Such a move would not be controversial among Emory faculty. The reason that this is different from the current situation is Palestinian liberation is within the big tent, while the KKK is outside the big tent. Both are examples of free speech.

A little about my background. I am an alum of Emory 83C,83G. I introduced my MS chemistry thesis advisor, Dennis Liotta, to Raymond Schinazi, for whom I worked for the summer after graduation. They developed Emtriva, which has turned HIV from a death sentence to a chronic disease. I served as Emory faculty in the SOM for 25 years, and was the inaugural Thomas J Lawley Professor of Dermatology. My mother was hidden by a righteous Gentile during the Holocaust, and my father fled the Nazis and spent WW2 in Siberia. My wife and I were in Israel on October 7, and saw Iron Dome in action, intercepting Hamas missiles. If Hamas had succeeded in killing us, they would have seen it as a great victory.

After our return from Israel, we see slogans at Emory and elsewhere saying “Free Palestine” and “Globalize the intifada”. One Emory faculty oncologist glorified the Hamas attacks and to Emory’s credit, she was dismissed quickly. When I hear and see “free Palestine”, what that means to me and most Jews is “free Palestine from the Jews.”  When I hear and see “Globalize the intifada,” I and most Jews interpret this as “attack Jews wherever they live.” Just as the swastika has a certain meaning to my parents, the kaffiyeh has the same meaning to me. I don’t see a difference between anti-Israel protests and a KKK rally.  Both want me dead. What is disappointing is that a certain number of students and some faculty share these sentiments. While these sentiments are Constitutionally protected, so is private property. For those students and faculty who support the aims of Hamas, I give them a vote of no confidence. I support the actions of President Fenves.

Jack Arbiser, MD,PhD, Emory Atlanta

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