Photo Credit: Screenshot
Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.)

Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) has thrown her weight behind anti-Israel faculty members at Pitzer College, a private residential liberal arts college in Claremont, California, with a curricular emphasis on the social sciences, behavioral sciences, international programs, and media studies.

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AMCHA Initiative Director Tammi Rossman-Benjamin wrote in late November: “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. These Pitzer faculty members have abrogated their most basic professional responsibility – to promote the academic welfare of their students.”

According to the LA Times, the small college’s cooperation with the University of Haifa involves only 11 students who have participated since its start in 2007.

Professor of Anthropology and of History Daniel A. Segal on Sunday celebrated on Twitter the fact that “Rashida Tlaib is in with ‘Suspend Pitzer Haifa,'” attaching an image of the congresswoman with a notebook reader urging the suspension of Pitzer’s relationship with Haifa University.

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The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) used the same image of Talib, who “supports faculty at Pitzer College who voted overwhelmingly to suspend a study abroad program with Haifa University over Israel’s discriminatory policies against Palestinians. The College Council must uphold the faculty vote.”

“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,” Rossman-Benjamin wrote.

Seventy-five civil rights, education, religious and student organizations on November 30 called on Pitzer College President Melvin L. Oliver to condemn the recent vote by the Pitzer Faculty Executive Committee to end the school’s study abroad program in Haifa.

In February, University of Haifa President Prof. Ron Robin was appointed the new Chairman of the Committee of University Heads of Israel (VERA), where he serves as the leading voice for Israel’s academic community in countering the BDS movement.

VERA is a committee of volunteers that include presidents, deans, and directors-general of University of Haifa, Bar-Ilan University, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, TAU, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, and Weizmann Institute of Science.

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