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Stanford student leader steps down after saying Jews control the media

During debate, junior had said it was not anti-Semitic to question Jewish ‘potential power dynamics’

The main quadrangle of Stanford University. (Wikimedia Commons via JTA)
The main quadrangle of Stanford University. (Wikimedia Commons via JTA)

A member of Stanford University’s student senate who argued it is “not anti-Semitism” to claim Jews control “the media, economy, government and other social institutions” said he will not run for reelection.

In a statement published April 8 in the student newspaper the Stanford Daily, junior Gabriel Knight said that “my continued presence in the Senate race has become a distraction from the larger ASSU elections and has made it difficult for students to meaningfully discuss campus issues.”

Knight said in the statement of his remarks at the April 5 meeting, which was debating a proposed resolution on anti-Semitism.

“I never intended to be hurtful and am saddened by and apologize for the fact that I was. Nevertheless, I hope that this week’s events and my decision to end my campaign do not encourage or substantiate threats to free discussion,” he wrote.

His remarks came during a debate over language in the proposed resolution, which offers guidelines for defining anti-Semitism and calls on the student governmental body to oppose anti-Semitic activities and fund anti-discrimination education.

Knight also said, “Questioning these potential power dynamics, I think, is not anti-Semitism. I think it’s a very valid discussion.”

He apologized later in the meeting after Jewish community leaders and a Jewish student accused him of anti-Semitism.

“I will apologize for when I supposed that [the clause] wasn’t anti-Semitic,” Knight said. “It wasn’t right for me to say that Jewish people can’t be offended by that. What I meant to say is that it’s still making a political statement, which is my problem with the clause — it’s an important conversation we should be having.”

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