web analytics
April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Penn State University’

Guess What: 2013 Was a Great Pro-Israel Year on US Campuses!

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

For years those engaged on the pro-Israel side of the battle for hearts and minds of American college students have watched in horror as anti-Israel forces – whether they call themselves “pro-Israel” or not – metastasized on campuses.

The Israel-demonization events, the infiltration by Israel vilifiers into what were formerly at least moderately pro-Israel institutions, and the disruptions of Israeli or pro-Israel events, were met almost always with either complicity or a hands-off response from the academic administrations, faculty, and often eventhe organized Jewish leadership on campuses.

Things were so bad that Arab Israeli journalist Khaled abu Toameh famously wrote that on his speaking tours of U.S. campuses, he found more sympathy for Hamas than he does in Ramallah.

This is how abu Toameh analyzed the ugliness spread across American academia:

What is happening on these campuses is not in the frame of freedom of speech. Instead, it is the freedom to disseminate hatred and violence. As such, we should not be surprised if the next generation of jihadists comes not from the Gaza Strip or the mountains and mosques of Pakistan and Afghanistan, but from university campuses across the U.S.

But things were beginning to look quite different in 2013.

There has been a sea change on U.S. campuses this year, carried out by those who refused to back down when false claims of Palestinian Arab victimhood or Israeli brutality were raised.

Hallelujah. So we are fortunate to be able to write a list of Top Twelve Pro-Israel Bright Lights on U.S. campuses. What follows is the first installment. Part II will run later this week.

*******

1. Far and away the most significant example of this refusal to accept the tired meme of Israel As The-Worst-Human-Rights-Abuser -And-Biggest-Enemy-of-Peace is The Backlash to the American Studies Association’s vote to boycott Israeli Academic Institutions.  We now know that 95 universities across the United States have rejected and publicly condemned the ASA boycott of Israel.

That includes the most prestigious private schools, state schools, schools at which anti-Israel activity had been flourishing, and almost every other kind of American academic institutions. Condemnations poured in from the likes of Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Cornell, University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, Yale, University of Chicago, Penn State, Northwestern, Goucher, as well as industry-wide associations of professors and of universities. Several schools, such as Brandeis, Penn State, Kenyon and Indiana University summarily withdrew their membership in the ASA because the boycott so clearly reflected a loss of the association’s mission, an affront to academic freedom and a discriminatory singling out of a single nation for condemnation.

2. and 3. A tie for second place goes to two relatively new leaders of at least nominally Jewish institutions, each of whom staked new ground, rejecting their predecessors’ policies for tolerating abusive positions towards Israel.

Eric Fingerhut became president and CEO of Hillel International this past summer.  For years, many Hillels across the United States have chosen an aggressively passive response to anti-Israel events on campuses, choosing to have their own quiet events instead of confronting viciously anti-Israel events filled with misinformation and lies about the Jewish State. Hillels have even welcomed some of the worst offenders into their buildings or even their own events, in the hopes of showing the enemy that they are really good people. It’s been a disaster.

This past fall the Hillel group at suburban Philadelphia’s Swarthmore College decided it would publicly challenge the pro-Israel guidelines set by Hillel International.  Students bridled against being forbidden the “right” to invite speakers who engage in “demonization, delegitimization or applying double standards to Israel,” or support the economic and legal warfare movement known as the Boycott of, Divestment from and Sanctions against Israel.  Swarthmore Hillel students voted unanimously to reject the guidelines and declare theirs an “Open Hillel.” And then they received a surprise.

Members Flee Academic Group Boycotting Israel, May Form New Group

Friday, December 20th, 2013

When the American Studies Association decided to spurn Israel because it disagrees with some of its policies, it should have anticipated that some of its own members might do the same and that it would be on the receiving end.

When a majority of the voting members (only one quarter of those eligible voted) of the American Studies Association voted to ratify a resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions, elation broke out amongst the advocates of the economic warfare movement against Israel known as BDS.  BDS stands for the Boycott of, Divestment from and Sanctions against Israel.

Given the vagueness of the actual terms of the boycott (it doesn’t apply to most individual Israeli professors and it doesn’t apply to American professors who wish to teach in Israel), and of the goal it seeks to achieve (the resolution talks about ending the “Occupation,” but it cites as its inspiration a Palestinian Arab organization which sees the entire Jewish State as the occupier, not just some towns beyond an imaginary Green Line), perhaps the only thing the ASA boycott may achieve is a dissolution of the American Studies Association.

Already two universities have formally withdrawn their membership from the ASA.

PENN STATE’S AMERICAN STUDIES DEPARTMENT WITHDRAWS FROM ASA

Penn State University, whose American Studies Department is located at its Harrisburg campus, was the first to walk out the door.  Dr. Simon J. Bronner chairs his school’s American Studies Department. He was the editor in chief in 2011 of the Encyclopedia of American Studies – an ASA publication. Bronner  issued a statement announcing his department’s withdrawal from the ASA.

The ASA boycott decision, Bronner wrote, will act to “curtail academic freedom and undermine the reputation of American Studies as a scholarly enterprise.” Bronner went further.  He said that not only will his department drop its ASA membership, he “will encourage others to do so.”

BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY’S AMERICAN STUDIES DEPARTMENT SECEDES FROM ASA

The Brandeis University American Studies Department was the second school to secede from the ASA.

Professor Stephen Whitfield has taught American Studies at Brandeis for more than forty years. He is the Max Richter Professor of American Civilization and the author of eight books dealing with the field of American Studies, along with dozens of scholarly articles, as well as ones of public interest.

The Jewish Press asked Whitfield about his department’s response to the ASA boycott. He responded by email that the vote by the ASA

defies the very purposes of the American Studies Association, which is a scholarly organization–not (as the boycott vote suggests) the conscience of humanity.  The members of the ASA are free–as citizens, as individuals–to take any position they wish on the vexing issues of the Middle East and elsewhere.  But the deepening politicization of the ASA, which ought to ensure that its members feel at home as Americanists regardless of their politics, is deeply offensive, indeed repugnant.

The statement on the Brandeis American Studies Department website announced it will discontinue its affiliation with the ASA. It condemns the boycott vote as a “politicization of the discipline,” and scolded that it was “a rebuke to the kind of open inquiry that a scholarly association should foster.”

We remain committed to the discipline of American Studies but we can no longer support an organization that has rejected two of the core principles of American culture– freedom of association and expression.

ALTERNATIVES TO AMERICAN STUDIES ASSOCIATION TO FORM?

In an exchange between Penn State’s Bronner and Prof. William A. Jacobson of Cornell Law School, Bronner hinted that alternative organizations for serious scholars in the discipline who want to concentrate on American Studies rather than contemporary politics may be forming.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/members-flee-academic-group-boycotting-israel-may-form-new-group/2013/12/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: