AMCHA Initiative Director Tammi Rossman-Benjamin on Tuesday issued a statement condemning the recent vote by Pitzer College faculty to end that institution’s study abroad program in Haifa.
Pitzer College is a private residential liberal arts college in Claremont, California, with a curricular emphasis on the social sciences, behavioral sciences, international programs, and media studies. The US News & World Report 2019 College and University rankings edition ranks it as the 41st best national liberal arts college overall, Forbes ranked it 69th.
“The Pitzer faculty’s attempt to implement academic BDS on campus and subvert the educational opportunities and academic freedom of their own US colleagues and students is absolutely reprehensible,” Rossman-Benjamin wrote. “These Pitzer faculty members have abrogated their most basic professional responsibility – to promote the academic welfare of their students. President Oliver must immediately condemn this action and publicly commit to ensuring that no Pitzer student will be impeded from studying about or in Israel and that faculty will not be permitted to implement an academic boycott of Israel at Pitzer.
“For years the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel — which coordinates the academic boycott of Israel as part of the larger BDS movement — has implied its target is only Israeli universities and scholars. However, as we saw at Michigan and we’re seeing today at Pitzer, faculty who implement PACBI’s boycott are directly harming and curtailing the rights of the students and faculty on their own campuses.
“PACBI’s guidelines clearly calls on faculty to ‘boycott and/or work towards the cancellation or annulment’ of any school activity that involves Israeli academic institutions or their representatives. Faculty boycotters are encouraged and expected to refuse to write letters of recommendation for students wishing to go on a study abroad trip to Israel as we recently witnessed at the University of Michigan; scuttle American colleagues’ research projects with Israeli universities and scholars; cancel events with Israeli leaders or scholars organized by U.S. students or faculty; and shut down study abroad programs in Israel as we see here at Pitzer College.
“President Oliver must act immediately to address this egregious faculty behavior that subverts the educational opportunities and violates the academic freedom of his students.”
AMCHA monitors more than 400 college campuses across the U.S. for anti-Semitic activity. It is the only organization that documents incidents in real time on its website for the public. AMCHA recorded 469 known anti-Semitic incidents in 2015, 639 in 2016, 652 in 2017, and 527 so far in 2018. Its daily Anti-Semitism Tracker, organized by state and university, can be viewed here.