Office of the President

Setting the Record Straight

Oct. 26, 2023

Dear Brandeis Community,

This week, several media outlets reported inaccurate and misleading information on Brandeis’ position on the Israel-Hamas war. I’d like to set the record straight.

First off, Brandeis stands with Israel. I was one of the first university leaders to condemn Hamas and its terrorist actions on October 7. Earlier this week, I reiterated to our community that Brandeis supports Israel and its right to defend itself, and that this will not change.

At the time of our initial response, the Boston Globe wrote “Universities were engulfed by controversy this week over how their leaders responded to Hamas’s Saturday attack on Israeli civilians. Brandeis University was an exception. The Waltham school’s president, Ronald Liebowitz, quickly and clearly denounced Hamas’s attack, which included militants gunning down families in their homes, as ‘terrorism’ in a campus-wide missive sent around 6 p.m. the same day.”

Earlier this week, inaccurate media reports suggested the opposite of our clearly worded statements on the Israel-Hamas War. They also inaccurately characterized a student senate vote on whether to issue a declaration condemning Hamas, which had more to do with process, than with the stance of the student senate or union. To be clear: The student union has not issued any statement in support of Hamas.

In fact, yesterday the Brandeis Student Union decided to strongly condemn Hamas, and it has communicated its stance to the Brandeis community, and the media more broadly. In addition, more than a thousand Brandeis students and other community members, and growing, have been circulating a statement condemning the acts of terror perpetrated against Israel and the Jewish people. These actions by our students set us apart from other institutions; reports to the contrary are simply not credible.

Since our founding by the American Jewish community in 1948, our campus has been a haven for Jewish students to feel comfortable living as their true selves. This will always be the case.


Ron Liebowitz