Interim UNC Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz took to social media to respond to a song that was sung during a recent conference on campus.
In a video taken by filmmaker Ami Horowitz, rapper Tamer Nafar encourages the audience to sing along with him. "Let's try it together," he says. "I need your help. I cannot be anti-Semitic alone."
Nafar tells the audience to sing "I'm in love with a Jew" as the chorus of the song. Nafar also tells the audience they "look beautifully anti-Semitic."
The performance was part of the Conflict Over Gaza: People, Politics and Possibilities conference held from March 22-24 at the FedEx Global Education Center on UNC's campus.
Per the description on UNC's website, the conference aimed to "shed much needed light on the current realities in the Gaza Strip, giving participants a deeper understanding of the context of these realities and offering concrete options that can better the lives of Gazans." The conference was sponsored by the UNC Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies and the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies.
"A performance during a recent conference held on our campus contained some disturbing and hurtful language," Guskiewicz wrote. "I stand steadfast against anti-Semitism and hate in all its forms."
UNC Global also sent out a response, saying they welcome "students, faculty, and staff from over a hundred countries, represented by a diverse range of perspectives, traditions, and faiths—and we stand steadfast against hate in all its forms."
"Many members of our community," the statement says, "including Interim Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz, are heartbroken and offended by a musical performance during the three-day "Conflict over Gaza" conference held at UNC-Chapel Hill in March and included in a recent video shared on social media.
"Leaders of UNC Global and the Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies—including Raymond Farrow, associate provost for global affairs and interim chief global officer; Rudi Colloredo-Mansfeld, senior associate dean for social sciences and global programs; Carl Ernst and Charles Kurzman, co-directors of the center; and Shai Tamari, associate director of the center—stand firmly with Chancellor Guskiewicz in absolute rejection of anti-Semitism.
"The center and sponsors supported the conference as an educational opportunity to focus on the situation in Gaza. While the video misconstrues the breadth of discourse that took place during the panels, UNC Global regrets any offense that the video and performance have had for members of the Jewish community."