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October 18, 2002 - Image 42

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-10-18

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Campus Leaders Lacked Courage

College Ad Missed The Point

here do most uni-
Princeton, N.J.
32 Michigan universities as
their occurrence on city
versities in
s a historian of
to why they decided- not to
Michigan stand on
sign the ad.
The problem is defining
intimidation and
relations in Germany
Missing conspicuously are
intimidation when it stops
harassment of students, particu-
and as a professor
the Big Three — the
well short of rejecting Israel's
larly Jewish ones?
who has taught at several
University of Michigan,.
very existence or threatening
Answer: They stand silent.
German universities, hostility ..
Michigan State University
Jews with violence. When
That is the obvious answer
toward Jews and Judaism in
and Wayne State University.
does criticism of Israeli gov-
given their reluctance to sign a
university settings is certainly
U-M President Mary Sue
SUSAN NAH ernment actions cease to be a
full-page advertisement titled
nothing new to me.
Coleman is quoted in the
legitimate expression of politi-
"College Presidents Decry
Yet the recent New York
New York Times as stating,
Count erpoint cal opinion and become anti-
Intimidation on Campuses"
Times ad condemning anti-
"I'm really concerned about
Semitism? How can we Jews
published on Oct. 7 by the American
Semitism at American colleges
the rise of anti-Semitism-worldwide,
speak out on behalf of human
Jewish Committee (AJC) in the New
but I think we need to address intoler- neither reflects the reality of most
rights for Palestinians as well as Israelis
York Times.
campuses nor provides assistance to
ance more broadly."
and not be labeled traitors? Do not
The six-paragraph advertisement,
those of us in the field of Jewish stud-
That statement, of course, evades
"campus watch" ads and Web sites
signed by about 308 universities
ies who are, in fact, confronting seri-
the point. She could have signed the
themselves intimidate free speech?
nationwide (1,900 were contacted),
ous problems..
statement and continued to "address
stated in part:
The full-page ad, sponsored by the
intolerance more broadly."
Jews Intimidating Jews
"We are concerned that recent
American Jewish Committee and
No one suggests that this is the end
examples of classroom and on-campus
signed by 300 university presidents,
of the fight or that this is the only
What's missing is help with a perva-
debate have crossed the line into
does mischief and might actually
statement ever to be issued on the
sive problem many Jewish professors
intimidation and hatred ...
harm the position of Jewish studies at
and students face: intimidation and
"In the past few months, students
Further, while Coleman defended
threats from other Jews.
who are Jewish or supporters of Israel's
The ad calls for campus debates
the right of sponsors of the anti-Israel
Many of us on campus are deeply
right to exist — Zionists — have
"Second National
without "threats, taunts
critical of what we consider to be
received death threats and threats of
or intimidation" —
Student Conference on
gross violations of human rights com-
violence. Property connected to Jewish
which all of us support
the Palestine Solidarity
mitted by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel
organizations has been defaced or
— but fails to define
Movement".to take •
Sharon, and yet we are strong
What does it say-
destroyed. Posters and Web sites dis-
place on her campus
what constitutes intimi-
Zionists. Unlike the Likud Party, we
about u niversity
playing -libelous information or images
Oct. 12-14, she could
believe two states need to be estab-
s who did
have been widely circulated, creating
have expressed her per-
For Daniel Pipes, who lished, Israel and Palestine, for reasons
not choos e to sign a
an atmosphere of intimidation.
has started a "Campus
sonal outrage at the vit-
of politics, security and morality.
recent A merican
"These practices and others, direct-
riolic hatred of some of
Watch" Web site, schol-
Thus we face two battles: defending
Jewish C ommittee-
ed against any person, group or cause,
ars siding with Arabs or
the speakers and the
Israel to those who oppose Israel's very
sponsore d full page
will not be tolerated on campuses. All
criticizing Israel merit
conference's implied
right to exist and arguing our political
in the New York
instances will be investigated and
his condemnation.
views to right-wing Israelis, Jews and,
Times that spoke
acted upon so that the campus will
The vagueness of the
One can defend the
increasingly, Christians.
again st intimi-
remain devoted to ideas based on
Times' ad may be a
constitutional principle
We often hear that criticism of Israel
elation o n campus?
rational consideration. We call on ...
major reason so many
of free speech, but con-
is equivalent to anti-Semitism —
the academic community to join us."
university presidents,
demn the speech articu-
which, if true, would turn most Jew s
The statement was signed by some
including Harvard's
lated under the protec-
and most Israelis into anti-Semites.
of the nation's top academic leaders,
Lawrence Summers, refused to sign
tion of the First Amendment.
Ironically, the one violent threat and
including, the Rev. Theodore M.
the ad.
A Wayne State spokesperson said
the many nasty comments I have
Hesburgh, president emeritus of the
Nothing stated in the ad is itself a
she checked, but the president's office
received on campus came from right-
University of Notre Dame; Frank
does not remember receiving a request problem; the problem is what is not
wing Jewish students and faculty,
H.T. Rhodes, president emeritus of
stated. For example, the ad declares:
to sign the ad that AJC said was sent
angry at my publicly siding with -
Cornell; and H. Patrick Swygert, pres-
"In the past few months, students
Aug. 12. The spokesperson, however,
Israel's Labor Party platform and
ident of Howard. James 0. Freedman,
who are Jewish or supporters of Israel's opposing Sharon.
pointed to WSU President Dr. Irvin
a former president of Dartmouth, and
right to exist — Zionists — have
D. Reid's refusal — after being peti-
I've also heard about informal,
six other signers led the campaign.
. received death threats and threats of
tioned by a group of students — to
sometimes secretive boycotts of Jewish
violence." The ad then speaks of
recommend to the university's Board
professors critical of Israel that have
Jewish property that is being "defaced
of Governors divestiture of WSU
been organized by Jewish students and
Who Didn't Sign
or destroyed."
holdings in companies that do busi-
faculty, sometimes assisted by Jewish
Yet only five of 37 Michigan univer-.
No responsible citizen supports
ness in Israel.
professional organizations.
sities signed the statement. They are:
threats and violence against persons
In a statement, Dr. Reid said, " ... it
Most troubling about Pipes'
Oakland University, Spring Arbor
and property. All of us condemn anti-
would be wrong, and unfair, to con-
"Campus Watch" Web site is its one-
University, Michigan Technological
Semitism, whether physical, directed
sidedness. Pipes, who has strong polit-
Rise dissatisfaction that some may feel
University, Kalamazoo College and
against property or verbal. That such
ical views, stands in judgment of those
with the policies of a government in
Central Michigan University.
acts have occurred on campuses,
power at any point in time with the
who differ and claims they dislike
A spokesman for the AJC said it did
places of free speech, is worse than
very legitimacy of a state."
America, exaggerate the faults of Israel
not receive any reasons from the other
and side with Arab countries.
Calls to Michigan State University
Susannah Heschel is the Eli Black
Scholars who stand accused by Pipes
requesting a statement on why its
Berl Falbaum is a Farmington Hills pub-
Associate Professor of Jewish Studies at
president did not sign the ad were not
have no opportunity to defend them-
Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH,
selves. The effect is threatening and
lic relations executive and former political






reporter. He teaches journalism part-time
at Wayne State University in Detroit.

FALBAUM on page 44

and visiting professor in the Jewish
Studies Program at Princeton University.

HESCHEL on page 44

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