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“Campus Initiative to Engage, Not Rage” (Sept. 9) describes the Israel Campus Coalition’s plan for the new academic year. Celebrating Israel via “mega-events and reaching out to uninvolved students on university campuses is fine, but it does not address the fundamental problems on campus. Students, both Jewish and gentile, learn to bash Israel from their professors, not just in departments that purport to teach about the Middle East but in English departments, anthropology departments, history departments and many more. The future business and government leaders of this and other countries are being systematically fed disinformation about Israel and the Middle East.

Although faculty members are not unanimous in their hostility to Israel, the Israel bashers on many if not most campuses have managed until recently to marginalize and silence the others.

This problem cannot be solved by Israel festivals, concerts, films and tours. It requires the tools of scholarship and academic instruction.

Scholars for Peace in the Middle East is the only organization of faculty responding to falsehoods, shoddy scholarship and abuses of academic freedom by Israel-bashing colleagues. SPME does its work in the appropriate academic forums through conferences, articles and letters to the editors of journals.

Last spring, when the British Association of University Teachers declared a boycott of Bar-Ilan and Haifa universities, we arranged to affiliate with the targeted universities, to publicize those affiliations and to bring the boycott to the attention of academic organizations including the American Association of University Professors and the American Academy of Science, which issued strong statements opposing the boycotts. Because of our efforts, the scholarly community has begun to realize who the enemies of academic freedom are and what must be done to protect that freedom.

The Jewish organizations are also beginning to understand what is happening on the campuses and to support our efforts to restore integrity to our universities. We would welcome similar support from the ICC.

Judith Jacobson

Awi Federgruen

Co-Coordinators Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, ColumbiaUniversity

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Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) is not-for-profit [501 (C) (3)], grass-roots community of scholars who have united to promote honest, fact-based, and civil discourse, especially in regard to Middle East issues. We believe that ethnic, national, and religious hatreds, including anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism, have no place in our institutions, disciplines, and communities. We employ academic means to address these issues.

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