Last week we reported on a disgraceful 3-day conference at Yale that described criticism of Israel as anti-Semitism. Today Maen Rashid Areikat, the PLO Representative to the United States, sent a letter to Yale President Richard C. Levin, objecting to the conference. It follows:
August 30, 2010
Dear President Levin,
I write to express my deep dismay over the contents of a recent conference held at Yale entitled “Global Anti-Semitism: A Crisis of Modernity".
The conference, which was organized in cooperation with the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism (YIISA), opened with a speech from an official from the Israeli embassy and featured seminars such as "The Central Role of Palestinian Antisemitism in Creating the Palestinian Identity", "The Jihad Flotilla to Gaza: Provocative – Antisemitic – Not Humanitarian”, and "Lawfare, Human Rights Organizations and the Demonization of Israel".
Amongst the "experts" leading these seminars were retired Israeli army officer Jonathan Fighel, Anne Herzberg of NGO Monitor (whose mission is to suppress criticism of Israel by undermining the credibility of human rights organizations), and an Israeli settler named Itamar Marcus.
In addition to being the head of a shady propaganda outfit known as "Palestinian Media Watch", Mr. Marcus also lives in the West Bank colony of Efrat in violation of international law. Mr. Marcus – who, as a settler, has a vested interest in preventing the realization of the two-state solution – has spent much of his life attempting to "prove" that Palestinians are unwilling or unable to make peace, thereby justifying Israel’s continued military occupation and colonization of Palestinian lands. Mr. Marcus is also closely tied to an organization known as the Central Fund of Israel, which funds some of the most extreme and violent elements of Israel’s settler movement.
It’s shocking that a respected institution like Yale would give a platform to these right-wing extremists and their odious views, and it is deeply ironic that a conference on antisemitism that is ostensibly intended to combat hatred and discrimination against Semites would demonize Arabs – who are Semites themselves.
As Palestinians, we strongly support principles of academic freedom and free speech, however racist propaganda masquerading as scholarship does not fall into this category.
I urge you to publicly dissociate yourself and Yale University from the anti-Arab extremism and hate mongering that were on display during this conference.
Ambassador Maen Rashid Areikat
PLO Representative to the United States