Photo Credit: AMCHAInitiative.org
The AMCHA Initiative's map of US college professors who signed anti-Israel Boycott petition dated Aug. 6, 2014.

The AMCHA Initiative, an organization created to help protect students on North American campuses from the ever-increasing numbers and severity of attacks – physical and verbal – of anti-Semitism, has just provided a useful self-defense tool for students returning to campus for the 2014-15 academic year.

That tool is a comprehensive listing of the more than 200 self-identified Middle East scholars, who signed a petition dated August 6, 2014, calling on their colleagues “to boycott Israeli academic institutions,” and who pledged “not to collaborate on projects and events involving Israeli academic institutions, not to teach at or to attend conferences and other events at such institutions, and not to publish in academic journals based in Israel.”

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“How can professors who are so biased against the Jewish state accurately or fairly teach students about Israel or the Arab-Israel conflict?” asked Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, AMCHA Initiative co-founder and faculty at the University of California Santa Cruz.

“Students who wish to become better educated without subjecting themselves to anti-Israel bias, or possibly even anti-Semitic rhetoric, may want to check which faculty members from their university to see whether they are signatories, before registering,” Rossman-Benjamin explained.

“It’s bad enough that these professors have revealed themselves to be wildly biased against one, and only one, Middle Eastern country. Even more troubling, however, is the fact that many of these patently biased boycotters of Israel are affiliated with government-designated, taxpayer-funded National Resource Centers (NRC) on their campuses,” stated Leila Beckwith, AMCHA Initiative cofounder and UCLA emeritus professor.

“Clearly NRC-affiliated faculty who have publicly vilified Israel and committed themselves to refusing ‘to collaborate on projects and events involving Israeli institutions’ have violated both the letter and spirit of the federal law which funds their teaching and research,” Beckwith said.

Established by Congress under Title VI of the Higher Education Act and administered by the U.S. Department of Education, university-hosted NRCs nationwide receive more than 30 million dollars annually for the purpose of equipping students with a full and unbiased understanding of the regions and countries of the world that are vital to U.S. security interests. These Centers are also required by law to maintain linkages with overseas institutions of higher education that “contribute to the teaching and research of the Center.”

Of the 20 universities which received federal funding to support Middle East Studies NRCs in the 2010 – 2014 grant cycle, faculty affiliated with 16 of them have shown their unambiguous anti-Israel bias by signing the petition to boycott Israeli universities and scholars: Columbia University, Duke University, Georgetown University, George Washington University, Harvard University, New York University, Princeton University, University of California Berkeley, University of California Los Angeles, University of Chicago, University of Michigan Ann Arbor, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, University of Pennsylvania, University of Texas at Austin, University of Washington Seattle, and Yale University.

The single school with the largest number of boycott petition signers is Georgetown University. Thirteen members of the Georgetown faculty signed the Aug. 6 Israel boycott petition. In a close second place is Columbia University, which has 11 faculty signers.

Tiny Brown University in Rhode Island has three faculty members who signed the Israel boycott petition. Harvard University has two faculty members who signed the Israel Boycott petition, Princeton has three (all of whom appear to be Jewish), two signers are from Yale, one faculty member from Stanford University signed the Boycott Israel petition, and nine faculty members from the University of California at Berkeley signed the petition.

A full list of professors who have signed the petition at each U.S. college and university can be found HERE.

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Lori Lowenthal Marcus is a contributor to the JewishPress.com. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: Lori@JewishPressOnline.com
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