Half Measures: Wellesley College Paper Walks Back Part of Anti-Semitic Screed in Face of Administrative Smackdown

Editorial board stands by endorsement of economic warfare against Israel

Wellesley News Editorial Board / Twitter
October 14, 2022

The editors of Wellesley College’s student newspaper are walking back their support for an anti-Semitic group collecting data on Jewish institutions in Massachusetts that it wants to "dismantle."

The Wellesley News editorial board on Wednesday renounced their September endorsement of the anti-Semitic Boston Mapping Project, which they said provides a "vital service" in tracking financial and personal information about Jewish synagogues, schools, media outlets, and law enforcement groups.

The endorsement from board members Toshali Goel, Andreea Sabau, Maryam Ahmad, Renee Remsberg, Ann Zhao, Emilie Zhang, Iris Martinez, and Micol Zhai prompted outcry from many corners, including Wellesley College president Paula Johnson, who said last week in a letter that the college "rejects the Mapping Project for promoting anti-Semitism." The student editors have since hidden their masthead on the paper's website, and many have made their social media profiles private or deleted them.

But the editorial also expressed support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement—which the U.S. House of Representatives condemned in 2019 for its efforts to "delegitimize the State of Israel." The editors said their "citation may have differed from its purpose," even as they partially defended its inclusion.

"We endorsed the BDS movement and Wellesley Students for Justice in Palestine, and we reaffirm our support of both movements and the liberation of Palestine," the Wellesley News editors said on Twitter. "We do not endorse The Mapping Project."

Anti-Semitic incidents hit an all-time high in the United States in 2021, the Anti-Defamation League announced in April, with assaults, vandalism, and harassment up more than 30 percent. Rapper Kanye West came under fire on Saturday for tweeting he would go "death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE," earning a prompt rebuke from the ADL for his "deeply troubling, dangerous, and anti-Semitic" rhetoric.

The Mapping Project’s website, which was created by supporters of the BDS movement, shares locations and personal information about members of Zionist and other pro-Israel entities throughout Massachusetts. Sens. Ed Markey (D., Mass.) and Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) have denounced the project as "dangerous and irresponsible."

Maryam Ahmad, a managing editor at the Wellesley News, featured a Wellesley Students for Justice in Palestine poster accusing Israel of "ethnic cleansing" in a May 2021 article.

One of Wellesley College's most famous alumnae is failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who was president of the Wellesley Young Republicans.