Students Supporting Israel has deleted the statement they posted on Instagram apologizing for singling out an individual student by name on social media and replaced the post with a letter protesting Duke Student Government President Christina Wang's veto of DSG's decision to recognize their organization.
Wang vetoed DSG’s recognition of SSI Monday based on evidence that the organization had called out an individual student on social media. The call-out was done in a way that was "unacceptable for any student group," Wang, a senior, wrote in a statement to senators obtained by The Chronicle.
The letter posted on the SSI Instagram Tuesday evening refers to the call-out incident as "the defense of [SSI's] name against antisemitic rhetoric published on the Internet which defamed [SSI's] character as a cultural group."
The social media incident referred to by Wang and SSI was a response posted on SSI's Twitter after sophomore Elyana Riddick posted a link to The Chronicle's article about DSG's recognition of SSI on Twitter, captioning it "My school promotes settler colonialism."
SSI posted a screenshot of Riddick's Tweet on Instagram, captioning it "To Yana and others like her, please allow us to educate you on what 'settler colonialism' actually is and why Israel does not fall under this category whatsoever. These types of narratives are what we strive to combat and condemn, which is why Duke's chapter of Students Supporting Israel has been officially established & is here to stay."
SSI then posted again later that day, apologizing to Riddick and committing to engaging in "respectful, principled disagreement" moving forward. The apology post has since been deleted.
The letter posted Tuesday evening did not explicitly retract SSI's apology but defended their original response to Riddick's Tweet.
"Students Supporting Israel at Duke University's response to this student's Tweet was not to defame, but rather to use our free speech right to educate and discuss in the name of self-defense and inclusivity. It would set a dangerous precedent for DSG to label this as 'hostility,'" the statement reads.
The statement goes on to emphasize SSI's hope that DSG votes against Wang's veto.
"To remove our group from campus conversation in order to protect a public antisemitic statement by a student is to side with that of the oppressor, limit free speech, and excuse antisemitism to persist at Duke University," the letter ends.
Many students commented on SSI's statement saying that they stand with SSI. The national SSI organization also commented, writing “We stand with YOU #STANDwithSSIDuke.”
Other Instagram users questioned SSI's decision to revoke their original apology post and replace it with a statement in defense of their actions, referring to the SSI's conflicting posts as "a full 180."
SSI responded to these claims in the comments, writing that the organization's members realized that they had no reason to apologize.
"After being gaslighted into believing we did something wrong but afterwards digesting the extent of this double standard, we have realized with complete clarity that we have nothing to apologize for and rather have more conviction than ever to work together to put an end to antisemitic rhetoric," the comment reads.
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Anna Zolotor is a Trinity senior and recruitment chair for The Chronicle's 118th volume. She was previously news editor for Volume 117.