Cornell historian has no regrets after controversial chant

Historians in the News
tags: Israel, Palestine, Russell Rickford, Israeli Palestinian conflict

“I never assume that most people share my politics,” Prof. Russell Rickford, history, told The Sun.

Activist and scholar of black American history, Rickford joined Black Lives Matter in Ithaca in 2015 and became a founding member of Cornell Coalition for Inclusive Democracy last year, which led protests demanding the University to protect and support international Cornellians in March.

More recently, and more controversially, at a knee-in last Wednesday following the professional athletes and Cornell students who had been protesting racial violence, Rickford led the chant “Free Palestine” just before the crowd kneeled.

Rickford’s chant was followed by a scattered applause and a palpable unease among some in the crowd. Shortly later, the chant “Free Palestine” was dubbed by conservative blog Legal Insurrection as the “hijacking of other ‘social justice”’ causes to turn them against Israel.” It also called Rickford “an anti-capitalist, anti-Israel activist” after the protest.

Following the protest, Rickford was met with criticism that he misused a platform framed for solidarity with athletes and black Cornell students in addressing the hotly debated Israeli-Palestinian conflict. ...

Read entire article at The Cornell Daily Sun

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