With the ongoing global rise in anti Semitism I would like to highlight two recent initiatives we were part of in Germany. We led the way in urging the Berlin Jewish Museum to return to its original mission of education about German-Jewish history and back off from promoting the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) campaign targeting Israel.
In our petition we underscored that the pro-BDS policies of the Jewish Museum in Berlin resulted in the resignation of its director Peter Schaefer.
Second and no less important is that we have been pushing the German Government and its ministries to embrace the decision of the Bundestag which correctly understands BDS to be anti-Semitic.
Additionally, as many of our readers know, we have long been involved in advocating reform as it relates to Title VI monies to prevent misuse of federal funds by publicly supported, university-based Middle East studies programs. Now we are seeing some results due to the good work our friend and colleague Ken Marcus is doing at the Department of Education which is now forcing the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies to revamp its program given the inappropriate use of Title VI funds as articulated in a letter published in the Federal Register.
The letter argues that many of the programs run by the consortium, a joint project of Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, “have little or no relevance to Title VI,” a federal grant program that funds international studies and foreign language programs at U.S. universities.
Further, in a letter to university officials, the assistant secretary for postsecondary education, Robert King, wrote that programs run by the Duke-U.N.C. Consortium for Middle East Studies appeared to be misaligned with the federal grant they had received. Title VI of the Higher Education Act awards funding to colleges “establishing, strengthening and operating a diverse network of undergraduate foreign language and area or international studies centers and programs.”
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We Wish All Our Readers and their Families a Happy and Healthy New Year!
Asaf Romirowsky, PhD