SPME together with StandWithUS just completed a campus tour on several California campuses including, UC Davis, Pepperdine, UCLA, Claremont, and UC Santa Barbara. Our tour coincided, with several campuses that were marking Israel Apartheid Week (IAW). It is clear that the need for SPME is greater than ever given the growing anti-Israel discourse and push for BDS that is taking place on so many campuses.
Moreover, professors who are willing to speak out are finding themselves under siege by groups like the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). Something that Professor Andrew Pessin, now faces at Connecticut College. Pessin is a distinguished philosophy professor at Connecticut College and is the only Jewish professor who regularly advocates for Israel. And now, for comments he made during last summer’s Gaza war he is being attacked from Palestinian supporters. Namely, one student leader, Lamiya Khandaker, whose parents are from Bangladesh and serves as the Chair of Diversity and Equity for the campus’s Student Government Association. Yet, more importantly, Khandaker is an SJP activist the group that has become the main platform for BDS and the delegitimization of the State of Israel. Islamist organizations like American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) and its subsidiary Students for Justice in Palestine grew out of the now defunct Islamic Association for Palestine.
Professor Pessin needs our support and we would like to urge you to support his rights for free speech by signing on to the following petition:
Positively, faculty and students are coming together looking for way to educate their respective campus communities and disseminate more balanced information regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict.
To that end, SPME is happy to inaugurate two new chapters one at UC Davis and the other at the University of Washington.
Finally, on April 27th we will be co-sponsoring a symposium on BDS at the University of Baltimore featuring Alan Dershowitz, Irwin Cotler and many other experts.
An event you won’t want to miss!
As always, we welcome your feedback and article submissions.
Asaf Romirowsky, PhD