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An open letter in solidarity with Satyel Larson and in support of academic freedom

Green Hall houses Princeton’s Department of Anthropology.
Louisa Gheorghita / The Daily Princetonian

In light of the right-wing Zionist attacks on Professor Satyel Larson’s plans to teach Dr. Jasbir Puar’s “The Right to Maim: Debility, Capacity, Disability” in NES 301, we, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with Professor Larson, whose teaching and scholarship we value and admire greatly.

We are deeply troubled by the attempt to censor Professor Larson, ban Puar’s book, limit intellectual inquiry, and silence faculty-student exchange within and beyond the classroom, particularly on issues of such political, moral, and philosophical significance.


In recent days, the Center for Jewish Life (CJL), Princeton’s Hillel, has waged an intimidation campaign against Professor Larson’s free expression. On Aug. 14, Executive Director Rabbi Gil Steinlauf ’91 publicized his attempts at censorship: “We have written directly to the Chair of the Department and the course professor, asking them to explore…alternative ways to teach the course without [the book].” 

Steinlauf is not alone. Other Jewish institutional leaders have tried to pressure the University to ban the book. Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, demanded the book not be used in class. Furthermore, he called for the “University to cancel the course in question immediately, fire its professor, Satyel Larson.” Just as disturbingly, the Israeli government wrote to President Eisgruber on Aug. 9, asking that they “act immediately to remove the book from the curriculum.” 

While far-right Jewish leaders in America and Israel claim to speak for us, they do not. This latest attempt to silence educational discourse related to Israel-Palestine is part of a pattern in which the CJL aims to interfere with academic and co-curricular events, inquiry, and debate on campus. 

The CJL’s suggestion that Princeton students and faculty should not study controversial texts represents an attack on the very mandate of the University, which is to create an environment in which we wrestle with and question ideas, including — it should go without saying — some of the most pressing issues of our time. 

This spring, when it was convenient for the CJL to defend free speech, in order to justify hosting  Ronen Shoval, “the founder of an ultranationalist Israeli group,” they did so. It is now clear, however, that the CJL’s commitment to academic freedom and expression only extends to right-wing activists and not those who are concerned with human rights violations. And this is not the first time the CJL has attempted censorship. 

In addition to our outrage about this threat to academic freedom and expression, we are saddened that the CJL’s response fails to reflect the Jewish values we hold most dear. Rather than taking inspiration from the Jewish tradition of studying difficult texts and myriad interpretations in all of their complexity, the CJL’s attempt to suppress debate and censor Puar’s book does exactly the opposite. 


The actions taken by the CJL, the state of Israel, and World Jewish Congress are all the more disturbing in the context of the current wave of book bans, attacks on critical race theory, and ongoing efforts to silence marginalized voices, especially those of queer and BIPOC communities. The CJL’s choice to employ these right-wing, book-banning strategies demonstrates where its true solidarity lies. 

Rather than contending with the horrific fact that Israel, like other countries, engages in human rights violations — having illegally harvested the organs of both Palestinians and Israelis, which is well-documented — the CJL perpetuates a rhetoric of Jewish and Israeli exceptionalism, which is deeply problematic.  

As progressive Jewish students, alumni, faculty, parents, and non-Jewish allies, we want to express our gratitude for the Princeton professors who take time and care to teach about complex, controversial issues of the utmost importance.  

Just a few months ago, University President Christopher L. Eisgruber ’83 charged the graduating Class of 2023, and the University community more broadly, to “stand up and speak up together for the values of free expression and full inclusivity for people of all identities.” We now call upon him to make good on this pledge. In the face of foreign governments and affiliated entities threatening free speech on this campus, we ask that the University administration reaffirm its commitment to academic freedom and inquiry. 

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The Alliance of Jewish Progressives 


Emanuelle Sippy ’25

Bryce Springfield ’25

Rio Baran ’25

Adam Sanders ’25

Alan Plotz ’25

Elena Milliken ’26

Eleanor Clemans-Cope ’26 

Nomi Willis ’24

Kennedy Primus ’24 

Jack Toubes ’25

Celine Pham ’24

Charlotte Pfenning ’26

Amber Rahman ’24

Emery Jones-Flores ’26

Noah Harrigan ’24

Meredith Gallagher, ’24

Nora Goodman ’25

David Beeson ’26

Cynthia Jacobson ’26

Sierra Stern ’24

Tacy Guest ’26

Darian Bolboaca-Negru ’26

Christina Yao ’26

Griffin Schulman ’25

Aleha Amjad ’25

Nate Howard ’25

Kyrah Potter ’25

Isadora Knutsen ’25

Max Peel ’25

Alexander Heine ’24

Suniya Nsehti ’24

Khari Franklin ’24

Alex Norbrook ’26

Temi Ayeni, ’24

Laurence Drayton ’26

Sara Ryave ’24

Rowan Johnson ’27

Luz Victoria ’24

Lucía Armengol ’26

Aya Eyceoz ’25

Gedeon Guercin ’24

Jaden Sharp ’26

Laura Robertson ’24

Martin Mastnak ’25

Samyukta Neeraj ’25

Lena Hoplamazian, ’24

Seth Kahn ’25

Aaron Serianni ’25

Paige Silverstein ’24

Olivia Hoppe-Spink ’26

Allison Thomas ’25

Kristin Nagy ’27

Dayton Martindale ’15

Wasif Sami ’25

Abbie Lambert ’24

Quest Starkey ’26

Jayden Morales ’25

Hannah Ulman ’24

Amira Adarkwah ’26

Mollika Jai Singh ’24

Alistair Wright ’27

Michael Kostolansky ’26

Nora Shefferman ’25

Jenia Marquez ’25

Andrew Duke ’25

Joseph G. Kim Sexton ’25

Roya Reese ’26

Ethan Wang ’26

Sabreen Alam ’26

Seiyoung Jang ’25

Gabe Robare ’24

Raphaela Gold ’26

Mandeep Kaur ’26

Eliza Shaffer ’24

Theo Wells-Spackman ’25

Noura Shoukfeh ’25

Arika Hassan ’26

Sol Choi ’26

Joshua Yang ’25

Jasmyn Dobson ’24

Ellen Li ’24

Abdul-Bassit Fijabi ’24

Ellie Diamond ’26

Bryan Zhang ’26

Thomas Goulding ’24

David Chmielewski ’24

Thalia Eitel-Porter ’25

Austin Glover ’24

Zach Ducorsky ’26

Nicholas Urbati ’25

Arman Nemati ’27

Sara Ansari ’24

Sydney Spector ’24

Uma Fox ’26

Maguire Sholette ’25

Schuyler Gwei ’25

Destiny Allen ’24

Simon Gotera ’25

Aybars Önder ’24

Sam Bisno ’24

Eman Ali ’25

Michelle Miao ’26

Katie Rohrbaugh ’24

Jacqueline Zhou ’26

Hagr Elweshahy ’27

George Tidmore ’26

Jessica Jean Scott ’24

Farah Arnaout ’26

Niv Leibowitz ’27

Clara McWeeny ’25 

Julia Kingston ’25 

Kayla Memis ’24

Collin Guedel ’26 

Jacob Jackson ’26

Kaitlyn Greppin ’26

Kristal Grant ’24

Koki Ogawa ’26

Seza Tunc ’24

Destiny Allen ’27

Rubi Larancuent ’27

Mason Thieu ’25

Athena Jamurta ’25


Ana Blanco ’23

Sakura Price ’23

Zachariah Sippy ’23

Zev Mishell ’23

Ben Gelman ’23

Enver Ramadani ’21

Ben Goodman ’17

Jae Yoon ’23

Dylan Shapiro ’23 

Zora Arum ’22

Claire Nuchtern ’15

Eric Periman ’23

Jonathan Golden ’23

Kyle Dhillon ’16

Rafi Lehmann ’20

Chaya Holch ’23

Christopher Wilks ’20

Shanaz Deen ’21

Kelly Roache ’12 GS ’15

Ahmed Farah ’22

Elizabeth Saldana ’23

Riley Simmons-Edler GS ’22

Tiffany Critchlow ’21

Elif Aydin ’22

Mason Herson-Hord ’15

Alexej Gundy ’23

Elliot Ratzman GS ’09

Karen Ho GS ’03

Yara Daraiseh ’23

Lisa Clemans-Cope ’94

Braden Flax ’23

James Grosz ’23

Harald Helfgott GS ’03

Alex Smith ’13

Masha Miura ’21

Katie Horvath ’15

Peter Taylor ’22

Alexander Moravcsik ’23

Wende E. Marshall *99

Graduate Students

Henry Gomory, Department of Sociology

Aditi Rao, Department of Classics 

Tom Abi Samra, Department of Near Eastern Studies

Sana Khan, Department of Near Eastern Studies

Mathias Ghyoot, Department of Near Eastern Studies

Irmak Şensöz, Department of Near Eastern Studies

Athina Pfeiffer, Department of Near Eastern Studies

Ameen Omar, Department of Near Eastern Studies

Rami Koujah, Department of Near Eastern Studies

Manuel Perez, Department of Economics 

Nataly Brukhim, Department of Computer Science

Adam Anabosi, Department of Near Eastern Studies

Faculty and Staff

Daniel Sheffield, Department of Near Eastern Studies 

Lara Harb, Department of Near Eastern Studies

Dan-el Padilla Peralta ’06, Department of Classics

Gavin Steingo, Department of Music  

Zahid Chaudhary, Department of English 

Julia Elyachar, Department of Anthropology

Molly Greene, Department of History 

Sara Al-Sayed, School of Public and International Affairs 

Elliott Lieb, Departments of Physics and Mathematics

Colleen Asper, Lewis Center for the Arts 

Wendy Belcher, Department of African American Studies 

Chika Okeke-Agulu, Departments of Art & Archaeology, African American Studies 

Benjamin Baer, Department of Comparative Literature

Anne McClintock, High Meadows Environmental Institute

Nick Nesbitt, Department of French and Italian

Max Weiss, Department of History 

Rob Nixon, Department of English and High Meadows Environmental Institute

Ra'anan Boustan GS ’04, Program in Judaic Studies

Gyan Prakash, Department of History 

Gayle Salamon, Department of English

Andrew Cole, Department of English

Oded Bein, Postdoctoral Researcher at Princeton Neuroscience Institute 

Yael Niv, Department of Psychology and Princeton Neuroscience Institute 

Community Members, Scholars, and Parents 

Aaron Bierstein 

Shana Sippy

Joe Marchica

Zeina Eyceoz

Suraj P.

Eva Haque 

Gabriela Orozco

Tyler Bane

Shreena Niketa Gandhi

Sam Friedman

Melissa Weiner 

Sean Lefevre

Max Yeston

Chelsea Ebin

Elly Levy

Tess Greenwood

Rabbi David Wirtschafter

Emily Alma

Sailaja Krishnamurti

Eric Mendelsohn

Sheila Otieno

Adriana Estill

Dheepa Sundaram

Marnina Wirtschafter 

Steven M. Vose

Nathan Rivas

Will Yetvin

Rohit Chopra

Elana Metz, Open Hillel

Jigna Desai

Amy Chazkel

Lauren Osborne

Lachman Sippy

Benjamin Mordecai Ben-Baruch

Dina Badie

Steven Gelb

Anjali Sippy 

Max Strassfeld

Corinne Dempsey

Widad Harrison

Robert K. Franklin 

Lama Shoukfeh

Jill Constantino

Michael D. Baran

Emily Krall

Rachel Burnett 

Laura Levitt

Sangeet Sheth

Juliane Hammer

Wendy Goldberg

Natanya Pearlman 

Jenny Sutton-Amr

Brenner Yellis

Yeou-Shiuh Hsu

Eleanor D. Holt

Aya Rosen 

Mia Mathews

Orit Gwirceman 

Lily Gardner

Itamar Kestenbaum

Jonathan Golub

Nora Rose Moosnick

Drew Curtis

Jenny Sutton-Amr

Noa Fort 

Gabriella Fine 

UV Kravitz

Tulasi Srinivas

Richard Axtell

Francesca Chubb-Confer

Harshita Mruthinti Kamath

Eli Wirtschafter

Varun Khanna

Prea Persaud Khanna

Shoshana Hirschmann

Ella Levitt 

Pearl Morttey

Natanya Pearlman

Eliza Smith

Cadence Brown

Pragya Upreti

Krasimir Staykov

Sasha Hochman

Norah Laughter

Taylor Kahn-Perry

Maia Lefferman

Sarah Wittenbrink

Yukimi Ogawa

Sanaa Kahloon

Tali Deaner 

Meredith Crockett Williams 

Alam Mohammed 

Rena Branson

Phoebe Wagoner

This list is as of 11:30 am on Friday, August 18. To view a full list of signatories, please see this continuously updated document.


The Alliance of Jewish Progressives (AJP) describes itself as a collective of non-, post-, and anti-Zionist Jewish students at Princeton who stand in solidarity with Palestinians, against Israeli apartheid, and for intersecting anti-colonial struggles for human rights and justice around the world.