Over the last five and one half years, I have seen many community advocacy organizations and Hillel hold “summits” and “conferences” on combating anti-Israelism, promoting accountability in academic freedom in colleges and universities and staging huge dog and pony shows to show their major donors what an effective job they are doing on college campus. They pull out university presidents and association executives and schmooze a bit on stage and say…”we’ve got everything under control, your dollars are hard at work because we have these administrators front and center….”
To those of us who are faculty in the trenches dealing with issues of anti-Israelism and anti-Semitism in the classrooms, the disciplines and in the governance structures of our institutions, we know that this is an incredible waste of resources just to make these organizations and their generous donors feel good. They have no measurable impact either on the proliferation of anti-Israeli polemics in the classroom and in the disciplines, nor on academic accountability when it comes to free speech. What these advocates don’t realize is that they are playing into the hands of inertia with these presentations of those who strut upon these stages, “signifying nothing.”
It is the faculty who are responsible for setting the academic standards, codes of conduct and sanctions on in the academic departments and disciplines and unfortunately many faculty have abrogated that responsibility to Hillel Directors and community groups.