Campus Trends – From Faculty Intimidation to Faculty Empowerment

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Dear Colleagues:

While the semester is shortly coming to an end, these past few weeks have been ripe with anti-Israel activity. We have seen Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at Vassar intimidating students and faculty, and at the University of Michigan we saw expressions of anti-Semitism leading up to a BDS vote. Specifically, as the Washington Free Beacon reported on the events at the University of Michigan, at least one pro-Israel student “received death threats and that others have allegedly been called ‘kikes’ and ‘dirty Jews’ by backers of the virulently anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, which aims to delegitimize the Jewish state through economic means.”

Paradoxically, President Catharine Hill of Vassar received a letter from thirty-nine professors,including the director of Jewish Studies, attacking her for opposing BDS, writing, “We want on our campuses, including here at Vassar, to have open, honest and principled discussion about the situation in Palestine/Israel, without the labeling, targeting and harassing of faculty, students, administrators and staff who disagree.”

Clearly, the kind of “honest debate” demanded here is an overt attempt to marginalize the conversation on the Arab-Israeli conflict and limit the kind of views expressed on campus.

Finally, on positive note, we were happy to see the Eastern American Studies Association (EASA) chapter rejecting the national American Studies Association boycott against Israeli academics passed by the organization’s membership in December. This was an effort led by our friend and colleague, Professor Simon Bronner of Penn State Harrisburg.

All and all, BDS bills are still getting passed on many campuses and the need is great to highlight what is an honest and fair debate regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict.

As always, we welcome your feedback and article submissions.

We would like to take this opportunity to wish all our readers and their families a happy and joyful holiday!

Sincerely, 

Asaf Romirowsky, PhD

Campus Trends – From Faculty Intimidation to Faculty Empowerment

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AUTHOR

Asaf Romirowsky

Asaf Romirowsky PhD, is the Executive Director of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME). Romirowsky is also a fellow at the Middle East Forum and a Professor ​[Affiliate] at the University​ of Haifa. Trained as a Middle East historian he holds a PhD in Middle East and Mediterranean Studies from King's College London, UK and has published widely on various aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict and American foreign policy in the Middle East, as well as on Israeli and Zionist history.

Romirowsky is co-author of Religion, Politics, and the Origins of Palestine Refugee Relief and a contributor to The Case Against Academic Boycotts of Israel.

Romirowsky’s publicly-engaged scholarship has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The National Interest, The American Interest , The New Republic, The Times of Israel, Jerusalem Post, Ynet and Tablet among other online and print media outlets


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