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Letter to the Editor: ‘Prince’ reporting fails to capture full SJP protest

A number of people hold up signs reading "Free Palestine Ceasefire Now" and "Ceasefire Now" holding Palestinian flags. A person holding an Israeli flag is visible in the background.
Students protest outside Nassau Hall.
Ammaar Alam / The Daily Princetonian

The following is a Letter to the Editor and reflects the author’s views alone. For information on how to submit a piece to the Opinion section, click here.

To the Editor:


As one of the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) organizers interviewed for yesterday’s article published in The Daily Princetonian, “Pro-Palestinian protestors gather outside Nassau Hall to call for ceasefire,” I was surprised to find that the article omitted critical sections of my interview and rally speech. In doing so, the story perpetuated the erasure of Palestinian suffering — an erasure that has been ubiquitous on campus. The piece fails to fully capture why we were protesting in the first place, in coordination with students state and nation-wide. In the context of historic injustices committed against the Palestinian people, the ‘Prince’ has a duty to provide comprehensive coverage of Palestine solidarity activism on campus. The 'Prince' must avoid omissions of pro-Palestinian voices that produce a harmful, distorted narrative.

The ‘Prince’ chose not to include any of the context I provided on Israel’s military assault on Gaza, much of which was brought up repeatedly in various rally speeches and was the very reason we were protesting. My specific comments included the fact that Feb. 9 was the day 126 of the Gaza genocide, and that Israel has killed more than 100 children per day. 

Instead of describing the situation in Gaza with the contextual information I provided, the ‘Prince’ article only makes a few vague references to Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza, describing it as “military activity” or a “military campaign.” As a result, the ‘Prince’ article omits the horrors faced by Gazans and obscures the entire motivation for the protest.

It also gives a platform to Ari Powell, who filmed and repeatedly heckled our speakers as we described the ongoing genocide. The article reads, “‘What about the hostages?’ he called, prompting boos and chants of ‘shame’ from some protestors.” 

Yet the article omits my exchange with Powell about Israeli hostages. In my rally speech — the last of the event — I addressed Powell’s question by noting that on Feb. 7, Netanyahu rejected a deal offering the release of all remaining Israeli hostages over four months in exchange for Palestinian hostages and a ceasefire. Instead of negotiating, Netanyahu called the deal “delusional” and vowed to continue the assault on Gaza until “absolute victory.” The article’s failure to acknowledge my response legitimizes Powell’s heckling.

The ‘Prince’ has a duty to accurately report on Palestine solidarity activism. Israel is entering an unprecedented phase of its ethnic cleansing of Palestine, and college campuses are in uproar nationwide. As Israel intensifies its assault and plans a ground invasion of Rafah, the last designated “safe zone” to which over 1.3 million civilians, including over 610,000 children, have fled, SJP members are hosting an emergency die-in for Rafah Tuesday Feb. 13, at 3 p.m. at Firestone Plaza. We hope the ‘Prince’ better covers this event and our actions in the future.


Ellen Li is a senior in Comparative Literature and a member of Princeton Students for Justice in Palestine.

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