‘Forward’ says many Jewish university presidents feel ‘loyalty’ to Israel

The Forward has published a story on the tug of war inside the hearts of 20 university/college administrators who are Jewish when it comes to campus criticism of Israel. The piece is notable for its second headline: “College Leaders Balance Israel and Speech; Jewish Presidents Often Find They Must Leave Loyalty Behind.”

This frank statement appears at a time when the phrase “Israel Firster” has been politicized and some say it’s off limits. Well, as the Forward reports, many Jews feel “loyalty” to Israel and this at times conflicts with other duties/responsibilities. This is not true of me. And I bet it’s not true of many of those university presidents. Will any of them write letters?

Another thing. The article never directly addresses the issue of criticism of Israel on campus as it relates to fundraising. Naomi Zeveloff is a fine reporter, but why did she not ask these presidents what the cost is of campus boycott organizations and the like? What price did Hampshire pay for its pro-divestment resolution? Harvard was repeatedly threatened with withdrawal of gifts following the Walt and Mearsheimer paper and the untimely exit of Lawrence Summers.

Zeveloff touches on the donor issue here:

But for one college president, his commitment to open dialogue on campus trumped his desire to speak out against BDS. Former University of Vermont president Daniel Fogel, who served from 2002 until last July, said that his personal aversion to a divestment campaign on campus in spring 2011 was so strong that he would have stepped down if it had been implemented. “I think divestment from Israel would have been a travesty. To me it would have been an expression of anti-Semitism,” he said. “Had the university gone in that direction, I don’t think I would have continued as president.”

But Fogel said that his personal feelings on BDS should not have gotten in the way of the university’s procedures for dealing with thorny questions. When the BDS proposal made its way to UVM’s Socially Responsible Investing Working Group, Fogel began to field calls from Jewish alumni and donors who were concerned, he said, that the university was going to take an anti-Semitic position that “would have ended their relationship with the community and their support for it.” Fogel held his ground, privately reassuring donors that the university would give the BDS question a thorough review. The working group ended up tabling the proposal.

 

Quelle surprise.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in American Jewish Community, Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, Media

{ 12 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Daniel Fogel, who served from 2002 until last July, said that his personal aversion to a divestment campaign on campus in spring 2011 was so strong that he would have stepped down if it had been implemented. “I think divestment from Israel would have been a travesty. To me it would have been an expression of anti-Semitism,” he said. “Had the university gone in that direction, I don’t think I would have continued as president.”

    so did he step down or what? he didn’t continue anyway so what does it mean he would have stepped down?

    maybe it explains in the article.

  2. marc b. says:

    as the Forward reports, many Jews feel “loyalty” to Israel and this at times conflicts with other duties/responsibilities. This is not true of me. And I bet it’s not true of many of those university presidents. Will any of them write letters?

    what am i missing here? ‘many university presidents’ report that their affinity for the state of israel conflicts with their ‘duties/responsibilities.’ ‘many university presidents’ quoted in the article have conflated BDS and criticism of israel with anti-semitism, and have expressed their personal distaste with israel being ‘singled out’, as if there were no controversy over that conclusion. and shapiro, former dean of barnard, comes up with a bit of intellectual oxymoronica, wherein she complains that israel is the ‘victim’ of biased discourse on american campuses, while simultaneously lauding the fact that there is way more freedom and diversity of political views in Israel than in the American Jewish community. doesn’t shapiro see a possible link between ‘freedom and diversity of political views’ generally and the freedom to debate such views on campus.

    i don’t see how have you come to the conclusion that you bet it’s not true of university presidents?

  3. It never ceases to amaze or to digust me, the automatic equation of any criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism. Will this trope ever die it’s long-overdue and well-deserved death?

    ” When the BDS proposal made its way to UVM’s Socially Responsible Investing Working Group, Fogel began to field calls from Jewish alumni and donors who were concerned, he said, that the university was going to take an anti-Semitic position that “would have ended their relationship with the community and their support for it.” “

  4. Les says:

    Because their primary loyalty is to Israel, it is unfair to expect American Jewish Zionists to be patriotic to this, their second, country.

  5. Heaven forbid, their loyalty be towards maintaining some sort of integrity.

  6. tinywriting says:

    It’s not just Congress. We’re ALL corrupted by this filthy money.

  7. MLE says:

    My experience is University presidents are tremendous dick nozzles. There is so much dirt and corruption going on, it really depresses you.

    I went to GW, which is Foggy Bottom in DC, which is a very nice historical area with pretty townhouses,which the University demolishes to build super luxury dorms. Also, despite the fact that there is a huge lack of classrooms and administration space, the space that was once the old University hospital is being developed primarily for commercial use so they can rent out the space to businesses. And the tuition is one of the highest in the country.

  8. Avi_G. says:

    In other news, a team of scientists has recently found that leopards can’t seem to get rid of their spots.

  9. RoHa says:

    I told you all that self-association would make them blind.

  10. seafoid says:

    And I said putting Israel before the United States is not what I call a marriage

    • yourstruly says:

      were caucasians who opposed apartheid south africa considered racist anti-whites? of course not. then why should those of us (regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, politics) who oppose apartheid israel be considered antisemitic? it’s israel’s behavior that’s being criticized, not the race/religion/ethnicity of its citizens and supporters.