Just something I sent to a few friends … 🙂
Hey everyone. We won. Read this:
“I do not think that any group or class of persons in the United States should be denied the protections of the First Amendment, not now, not ever … I do not mean to suggest that the Constitution and its order of rights should in any way be abrogated. I would abhor such a prospect. I do not wish upon Muslim Americans the sorts of calumnies that were endured by Italian Americans in connection with Sacco and Vanzetti and Jewish Americans in connection with communism.”
That was Marty Peretz, apologizing this Monday morning. What a change.
Now, his full apology was not that great. He tried to explain away some of his words, instead of fully acknowledging that they were hurtful and incorrect. Still, in the course of a weekend, we were able to persuade the editor-in-chief of The New Republic to swallow his pride and admit he did wrong. That took courage on his part, and solidarity on ours.
We accomplished something special together. With the simplicity of sincerely speaking out for our beliefs – just with the power of speaking from the heart and boldly declaring that attacking the dignity of our fellow man is unacceptable – we made this world a better place.
Listen. Peretz apologized; that is victory. Another victory: we as a community publicly demonstrated our commitment to our shared values. Sometimes, it takes courage to stand up for your beliefs. When a member of our family does wrong, the ethical life demands that we condemn his actions, and steer him towards justice. Courage is not found only in censuring your opponents.
Yes, we had the obligation to take a stand, because Marty Peretz is a prominent and honored member of our family. We had this obligation not just because of who he is, but because who we are, and what Brandeis is.
You know the story as well as I. 1948 was a time when Universities across America were barring their doors to the unpopular, the feared, and the other. As a bold challenge to this mentality, the founders of Brandeis did something amazing. They created a place where everyone, regardless of race, religion, or class, was welcome. That spirit of social justice is baked into the bones of this place. It is the foundation upon which all else is built.
That is why Peretz’s words were so reprehensible. That’s why we had the obligation and the duty to act, to remind him of the Brandeis way. That’s why he realized his mistake.
We love Brandeis. Marty Peretz loves Brandeis. We succeeded for that reason.
Thank you. We’ve done a wonderful thing.
– Sahar Massachi, Kevin Diep, and the rest of the Justice League.