Faculty letter squelches campus voices
By FAIRNESS TO ISRAEL on March 26, 2014 in OPINIONS - 71 Comments

The “Open Letter in Defense of Academic Freedom in Palestine/Israel and the United States,” signed by 39 Vassar professors and published March 1st, is a disturbing document, although not in the way intended. To many alumni, it is a jarring signal that Vassar is no longer the open, innovative institution that transformed our lives, a college which stimulated — indeed compelled — independent and critical thinking. Rather, faculty and student supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel have hijacked campus discourse and imposed an anti-intellectual atmosphere in which professors are ranting activists, not scholars, and students who disagree with the prevailing “progressive” ideology are intimidated into a deafening silence.

This letter is submitted on behalf of Fairness to Israel, a growing group of Vassar alumni, parents of Vassar students, and others, who are deeply concerned with this sorry state of affairs. We will vigorously support Vassar’s president in her efforts to restore sanity, tolerance and civil dialogue to campus.

In their letter (manifesto, actually), the 39 professors assert that Vassar’s condemnation of a resolution by the American Studies Association (ASA) to boycott Israeli academic institutions has a “chilling effect on the free exchange of ideas and opinions.” As they see it, the “real threat to academic freedom” is the “frenzied” campaign launched against the ASA in response to its boycott resolution. This Orwellian view of who is being silenced would be laughable if the matter were less serious.

Did Vassar’s condemnation of the Israel boycott stop the professors from publishing their open letter in The Miscellany News? Did it prevent Israel Apartheid week, the recent seven-day hate fest in which Vassar’s bathrooms were littered with anti- Israel fliers and its hallways decked with posters accusing the sole Jewish state of being apartheid and racist? What of the “open conversation” held on March 3rd, in which faculty and students were invited to discuss the “ethics” of a planned trip to Israel and the West Bank arranged by the International Studies program? Although the trip’s itinerary confirms that its purpose is to convince students that Israel is unfairly depriving Palestinians of water (a favored but false BDS accusation), the mere fact that Vassar students would land in Israel was enough to drive the pro-BDS Vassar community into a frenzy. A shouting match ensued with faculty promoting the trip stressing their anti- Israel credentials in a futile attempt to pacify an even more radical anti-Israel contingent. As one of the professors leading the trip later admitted online, she was “knocked off- center by a belligerent academic community dedicated to vilifying anyone who dares set foot in Israel.” (Source)

The 39 faculty members so afraid of being bullied about their anti-Israel views are curiously undisturbed by the chilling effect their activities have on those in their community who might oppose academic boycotts or reject the ASA’s targeting and demonization of Israel. They failed to consider the impact of their manifesto on students attending the “open conversation” about the Israel/West Bank trip two days later or worse, deliberately timed it to silence pro-Israel voices. Certainly, their fear of inhibiting an open exchange of ideas has not inspired them to present a balanced view of the Israel/Palestinian history in their classes (as one of the signatories once candidly admitted in his course description, students should not expect “an ‘objective’ account of a ‘two- sided’ conflict”). Nor has it compelled them to invite speakers who might present an alternative view of the Jewish state from the racist, apartheid one portrayed by the anti- Zionist guests who are regularly invited. (In the last 12 months alone, Vassar hosted Judith Butler and a Palestinian slam poet, both of whom — like the leaders of BDS — advocate the elimination of the Jewish state.) We can only imagine the repressive effect of the pro-BDS hostility on students worried that their stridently anti-Israel professors will grade them harshly for expressing contrary views and that their apartheid-chanting peers will ostracize them unless they keep silent. Indeed, this bullying has been so effective that the only public voices so far supporting President Hill’s denunciation of the ASA boycott or protesting the anti-Israel ethos have come from alumni and one brave Vassar student in a letter to The Wall Street Journal.

What of this ASA boycott that the 39 professors assert is essential to promoting academic freedom? Well, we are to take it as fact — because these professors and some similar-minded organizations say so — that Israel is a major human rights abuser deserving of having its academic institutions shunned. Never mind that the ASA has never before boycotted academic institutions in any other country. Not in China, which occupies Tibet. Not in Russia, which is currently attempting to take over Ukraine and continues to control Chechnya. Not in Turkey, which occupies parts of Cyprus and Kurdistan. Not in Saudi Arabia, Iran or other Middle Eastern countries that persecute gays, restrict women’s rights, execute political dissenters and commit other horrendous crimes. Not in Sudan, Syria and other nations that deny academic freedom. No, the ASA has targeted Israel, the only country in the Middle East that, according to the US NGO Freedom House, ranks as “free” — the highest rank possible. (Yes, the West Bank and Gaza rank lower — but Israel long ago withdrew from Gaza, which is now ruled by Hamas, a recognized terrorist organization, and the West Bank is administered by the Palestinian Authority, so infected with corruption that it cannot account for the billions of dollars of aid that have been given to it.)

Israel is not perfect, but to blame Israel alone, as the 39 professors do, ignores facts and does nothing to promote the “open, honest and principled discussion” the professors, who are completely silent with regard to Israel’s side of the story, claim to want. Their letter constitutes propaganda against the Jewish state. Whether intended or not, it shows a blatant bias against Israel, a glaring attempt to delegitimize the Jewish state and yes, outright anti-Semitism.

Our group, Fairness to Israel, supports academic freedom in the true sense of the term — the freedom of all sides to present their views and the facts that support them, and to honestly and open-mindedly discuss contentious issues. We oppose academic freedom that is really academic brainwashing, where students are exposed only to the views of activists posing as professors, who pretend there is a “chilling” of their speech when the only chilling is of voices that dissent from their anti-Israel agenda. The latter type of “academic freedom” is a disgraceful misnomer unworthy of Vassar’s great traditions.

—This letter is signed by 66 alumnae/i and parents of Vassar College. 

Leah McClement Alexander ’57

Mindy Aloff ’69

Wendy S. Aronson, M.D. ’64

Shari Rosen Ascher P’16

Toby Anne Axelrod ’78

Jessica Bacal, Esq. ’65

Rita Banner ’78

Mark Banschick, M.D. ’78

Lynn J. Benswanger, J.D., LL.M. ’75

Jane Cohen Bergner, Esq. ’64

Grace Chang ’79

Ruth Prager Cogen ’57

Royce E. Cohen ’66

Ruth Cohen, M.D.’63

Ziva E. Dahl ’65

Rabbi Aryeh Ben David (Andrew Nemlich) ’77

Marlene R. Eckstein, M.D. ’70

Andrew Eisen ’85

Sharon Spitz Fagin, Ph.D. ’78

Julie Feibush ’78

Rabbi Tara Feldman ’89

[Sara] Rivkah Duker Fishman ’67

Neal E. Friedman ’78

Bernice Feuer Garbade ’79

Edith Mendelson Gelfand ’65

Miriam Gold ’53

Larry Goldberg ’75

Esther L. Goldman ’55

Joan Moskowitz Goldstein ’66

William D. Goren, J.D., LL.M. ’82

Melissa E. Green ’78

Michael Grunberg ’79

Åse Margrethe Hansen ’77

Wendy Pronin Herst ’92

Rabbi Andrew Jacobs ’92

Laurie R. Josephs ’78, P’12

Charlene Freadman Kahn ex ’78

Joanne Brecher Kay ’66

Cheryl C. Kagan ’83

Anita Fink Kaufman ’57

Roberta Schuman Kline ’78

Jane Kramer ’78

Renee Orlan Lerner ’57

Hanna Farber Levenson ’67

Jeffrey A. Levitt ’81

Susan Julien-Levitt ’82

Andrea Lieber, Ph.D. ’89

Ellen Moskowitz ’78

Nancy Rubin Nachman ’57

Brenda Oestreich ’57

Dorrie Pariser ’66

Ellen Radish ’80

James Raker, M.D. ’78

Karen M. Rappaport ’78

Berenice Rosenfeld ’65

Scott B. Schaffer, J.D. ’78

Vera Savin Schwarcz, Ph.D. ’69

Gail Diamond Schwartz ’57

Julius R. Schwarz ’92

Ellen Smithberg ’78

Ilene Slass Spear, Ph.D. ’62

Rabbi Ken Spiro ’81

Rabbi Susan Berman Stone ’78

David A. Weintraub ’81

Audrey Laibson Wolf ’57

Gregory Zimet, Ph.D. ’78


Editors Note: This article has been updated on 3/28/14 to reflect an original draft as requested by Fairness to Israel.


71 Comments on "Faculty letter squelches campus voices"

  1. Jean Sonkin Arbeiter March 27, 2014 at 9:38 am · Reply

    Recent biased anti-Israel activity on campus, intended to intimidate and silence, is unworthy of Vassar’s great tradition of honest and open discussion and unworthy of our college altogether. Bravo to Fairness to Israel for pointing this out. All sides of an issue deserve to be heard in an atmosphere directed toward honest truth seeking and free of fanaticism.
    Jean Sonkin Arbeiter ’58

  2. Marjroie Ellenbogen'58 March 27, 2014 at 2:07 pm · Reply

    Earlier historical events {such as the McCarthy hearings (which affected VC faculty) in the early ’50s or the Hungarian 1956 situation ) provoked such hostile behavior.,unworthy of Vassar’s great traditions.Fanaticism
    is very destructive.

  3. Marcia & Ralph Preiss March 28, 2014 at 10:59 am · Reply

    As parents and grandparents of Vassar alumni, we would like to add our names to the Fairness to Israel list and thank President Hill for her courageous stand for academic freedom.

    Marcia & Ralph Preiss

  4. Jonathan S. Birnbach '81 March 28, 2014 at 5:12 pm · Reply

    The only criticism I have of the letter is that I didn’t get to sign it.
    Jonathan Birnbach ’81

    • Marcia Berger Harris December 4, 2014 at 4:24 pm · Reply

      I, too, wish that i had known about this letter so that i could sign it. I am ashamed and embarrassed about the anti-Israel actions taking place at Vassar as well as the administration’s poor response to it.
      Marcia Berger Harris ’65

  5. Raj March 29, 2014 at 8:15 am · Reply

    Administration non-interference in faculty decisions (except for misconduct ) has been the cornerstone of academic freedom in American Universities. So why are these alumni going bonkers over the faculty protest. Because these faculty have dared to shine a light on Israeli and its treatment of Palestinians.

    And then they go on to pretend that wealthy pro Israeli benefactors have not attempted to interfere in Faculty decisions. As if such interference is just a myth in academic America. I guess they want to us to pretend that organizations like the Hillel, StandWithUS, David Project all funded by wealthy pro Israeli benefactors don’t exist. Are we all to pretend that such interference does not have any effect on the decision making of a college president who does not have tenure at that post.

    No interference on college campuses ? How about Alan Dershowtiz ? A person who even wrote to the Governor of California demanding a book be banned. Or when he openly interfered in tenure track decisions at Loyola. Thats not a blot on academic freedom ? You’ll never hear a peep about Alans’ conduct from because it was about, you guessed it, deflecting any questioning of Israel. Or when pro Israeli groups openly interfered with tenure decisions at Columbia. That’s not interference on academic freedom ?

    What the above wealthy privileged alumni want the rest of us to do is to pretend that such interference never happened to college presidents like the Vassar president. Yeah, lets keep our head in the sand and stay quiet when these wealthy privileged alumni want to play “victim”.

    What they’re pissed about is the emerging generation of Arab American and others questioning the mother hood and apple pie view of Israel that has been perpetuated over the years. So its time to play victim and pretend that any questioning of Israel is “anti-semitic” and “hostile” and the other well tuned “victim” words.

    They claim they want a “balanced” discussion. Does this mean their side has been censored. Nope. “Balanced” in this situation means they want the university to acknowledge their “victim” status. That way focus can be taken away from those students questioning of Israeli conduct.

    Now to make things worse for these privileged alumni, even Jewish students at Vassar have walked away from the Orwellian double talk of the Hillel. The Hillel nationwide is notorious for its propaganda and censorship of debate. You think any of these wealthy privileged alumni ever protested the Hillel squelching of free speech. Never.

    Their agenda is all about maintaing the propaganda about Israel. And they know that it is failing. So time to ramp up the “victim” spiel.

    • Scott B. Schaffer '78 April 1, 2014 at 3:39 pm · Reply

      I signed the letter submitted by Fairness to Israel (FTI). These are merely my thoughts and I do not speak for FTI. I am not and have never been a benefactor of a pro-Israeli organization, and my annual donations to Vassar are much too meager to influence the administration. I served for 14 years in higher education and I truly value the concept of academic freedom. As an attorney, I defended a number of newspapers in support of their 1st Amendment rights. So, Raj, I do not question your right to question the State of Israel or to disagree with its actions, or to express your opinions publicly. I personally do not support many actions taken by Israel.

      I signed the letter because I see a Vassar where a faction of the faculty and the student body are stifling academic freedom by only inviting pro-BDS scholars to campus to speak on this topic, by preventing others from expressing opposing opinions by means of heckling and other disrespectful behavior, and by doing nothing to assure an environment on campus that permits and fosters open and honest debate on this topic. I signed the letter because this is not the Vassar I attended. There were many highly emotional topics debated on campus when I was a student, but with the support of the faculty, we debated them openly and honestly, and with respect for each other. Most importantly, I signed the letter because the lack of honest debate, and the intimidation of those with whom you disagree, will diminish and tarnish Vassar’s reputation (if it has not already done so), which will ultimately be reflected in the college’s inability to recruit a strong cross-section of students and faculty. So I ask this question: Do those who support the BDS movement really support academic freedom on campus, or do they tout academic freedom as a veil to stifle debate and advance their agenda?

      • Raj April 2, 2014 at 7:32 am · Reply


        How is a group of faculty supporting a group stifling freedom. If you consider that a standard would u consider Congress as stifling people of Muslim origins freedom in America ? Cause after all they predominantly invite only pro-Israeli groups like AIPAC.

        Our “victim” group or other pro-Israeli group had certainly no problems with balance when speakers like Ethan Bronner, whose son is in the IDF, give supposedly a “balanced talk” on I-P without of course mentioning a single Palestinian name for almost an hour.

        What prevents other faculty group from sending their own letter or inviting people to give their own “balanced” talk. The Hillel (the old one) is a master a that. They had full access to Vassar and then turn around and restrict access to their facilities. And our “victim” group or any other pro-Israeli group for that matter had no problem. Its only when minorities speaks up for Palestinians that suddenly all hell breaks loose.

        I’m not sure protesting a class is disrespectful or intimidation. How is holding a protest intimidation ? The Justice Department has said no. But yet “victim” groups continue to play that card.

        If pro-Israeli groups have never condemned their side (leave alone condemning Israeli actions in their “balanced” narrative) how do u expect the other side to play by Roberts rules. You only have to read Peter Beinart (in Haaretz an Israeli newspaper) who points out the “linguistic fraud” used by pro-Israeli groups. And u want the other side to behave like Scarlett O’Hara’s ?

        I knew exactly what to expect when i posted my first comment. The “anti-semitism” comes with the territory. Just have to have a thick skin and dish it out. Thats how the game is played, And i did not invent it. Unfortunately for our “victim” groups a lot of minority groups at Vassar and elsewhere have figured it out.

    • Happy and Proud April 4, 2014 at 8:55 pm · Reply

      You got it Raj, those rich Jews are taking over the world again. In just six paragraphs, you used the word “Israel” or “Israeli” eight times and the words “wealthy”, “rich”, or “privileged” to describe those Israeli or Israel-loving son-of-a-guns six times.

      I sure am glad there are no poor Israelis around! For a while I had been worried, seeing that 23% of Israel’s population lives below the poverty line. It must have one of those Jew-created propaganda slogans, like the alleged “shoah”. Well here’s your chance to take advantage, my friend. Those rich Israelis are too busy running around suppressing freedom of speech in the U.S. (let’s forget the fact that no one tried to suppress your letter or any other nonsense you spout) to worry about the 370 million Arabs whose governments have vowed to murder them. Reclaim the Marvi Marmara and its peaceful cargo of guns and knives!

      The word you want is JEWS, Raj, not Israelis. Let’s hear who you really are. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. After all, 79 years ago and entire empire was created by people who thought just like you do! Sure it only lasted a few years, but I’m sure your mentors – the ones that escaped and got to South America, that is – will think up a better plan for next time.

      I’ll spell it for you so you don’t forget, Raj. J-E-W-S. That’s your real enemy. We know you need to hide your true feelings for the time being, Raj, and that it’s killing you. But at night, after the end of your favorite television programs “Farfour the Mouse” (Hamas T.V.), where gentle Farfour is murdered by evil Jews) and the sworn-to-be-true drama “Khyber” (Turkish T.V.), where Jews murder Christian children and use their blood for the Passover matzah), you can dream about goose-stepping to your heart’s content.

      Did you ever stop and think that the reason others call you anti-semitic is because you ARE anti-semitic? Apparently not.

      By the way, your fantasy that Peter Beinart (who represents no one except himself) and Ha’aretz (a far-left, German-owned newspaper with a whopping 6% market share) somehow represent Israeli (I mean Jewish, sorry) opinion is about as delusional as your fantasy that the antics of a few students at Vassar – which is one of two colleges in the entire United States to break with Hillel over Israel – has any meaning for the 99.8% of Jewish college students that DO support Israel (as do many Jewish students at Vassar itself).

      Face it, Raj. Fascism and anti-semitism lost seventy years ago and are still losing today. But keep drinking the Kool-Aid if it makes you happy. At least the rest of us won’t have to deal with you in places like work, community activities, our kid’s soccer games – you know, the places normal people go.

  6. Paul Ruud March 29, 2014 at 11:18 am · Reply

    From where I stand, Vassar remains an open, innovative institution that stimulates independent and critical thinking. No one has hijacked campus discourse and imposed an anti-intellectual atmosphere; there is no deafening silence.

    There are hurt feelings. There is indignation. Some feel intimidated while others feel compelled to enter the discussion. Some are talking past each other and others are coming to terms with a range of views and emotions.

    I see the Vassar community striving to let all who wish to speak be heard and to respect those who choose not to participate. I do not agree that we are engaged in academic “brainwashing.” Rather we are working through one of many challenging and important issues.

    • Semyon Gustav March 30, 2014 at 3:04 pm · Reply

      I know for a fact that there are pro-Israel students at Vassar who feel intimidated, most particularly after what appeared in the “open” letter, the events that occurred in the March 3 meeting and rest of what occurred on campus during Israel anti-apartheid week. Also, you might pick up the Wall Street Journal, where it was reported that there is a Vassar parent who is afraid to use his or her own name for fear of repercussions against his or her child.

      Perhaps, you are looking at Vassar from a perspective other than that of a student. But consider, a pro-Israel student reading a letter such as the “open” letter, signed by 39 professors, would almost certainly be deathly afraid of those professors learning of his or her dissent from the opinion expressed by those professors. Surely, anyone remotely familiar with kids knows that to be true. And, that is why professors should be careful when they speak, instead of coming out in support of a movement that is Antisemitic, at least in its effect, if not its intent.

      Another thing to consider, I can assure you that Vassar will no longer be perceived, if the Antisemitism at Vassar is not reigned in, a place for Jewish students and others who are pro-Israel. I trust you do not want that to occur. If you do not think that is the case, I can assure you that you are mistaken.

      • Raj March 30, 2014 at 3:47 pm · Reply

        Semyon Gustav

        Consider for a moment, when a leading First Ammendment lawyer in the country demanding the book be banned. Or him demanding tenure being denied based on a persons views. Those are actual instances of intimidation.

        You have not one iota of proof that any one of those professors targeted any one student based on their view. So why adopt the “victim” status. Is it not because that’s a convenient cloak to attempt avoid any discussion of Palestinian dispossession.

        Who are u to speak for Jewish students, when they themselves walked away from a Jewish Organization (Hillel) for its squelching of the exchange of free speech and ideas.

        • Semyon Gustav March 30, 2014 at 9:34 pm · Reply

          Nothing you have written has the slightest thing to do with Vassar or my comment. A first amendment lawyer can assert anything he or she likes. It is meaningless to what occurs at Vassar.
          My comment is about what is occuring at Vassar, as the result of a letter written by 39 Vassar professors, claiming that their speech is being chilled by Vassar’s president – not some outside attorney. In fact, Vassar’s president did no such thing.

          • Raj March 31, 2014 at 6:43 am ·


            I was pointing to how pro-Israel groups operate. And you want to pretend Vassar is some kind of exception for their modus operandi.

            Of course, denials that pro-Israeli groups have nothing to do with Vassar, would be necessary for you and our wealthy “victims” to maintain their “victim” status.

            And of course you can’t substantiate a single instance of a threat or intimidation or retaliation by a student or professor. Better to shadow box and claim “intimidation” to maintain victimhood.

          • Semyon Gustav April 1, 2014 at 2:40 pm ·

            Raj, The so-called “open” letter by the 39 professors concerned pressure from the president of Vassar. Hence, your entire line of argument is based on a premise that is not in discussion.

          • Raj April 2, 2014 at 6:28 am ·

            Semyon – The letter by our “victims” groups states intimidation by the professors. You may want to read it again. And me pointing that out as standard modus operandi of pro-Israeli groups is now irrelevant ? Seriously ?

            “undisturbed by the chilling effect their activities have on those in their community who might oppose academic boycotts or reject the ASA’s targeting and demonization of Israel. They failed to consider the impact of their manifesto on students attending the “open conversation” about the Israel/West Bank trip two days later or worse, deliberately timed it to silence pro-Israel voices. “

    • Scott B. Schaffer '78 April 1, 2014 at 4:58 pm · Reply

      Professor Ruud, I do not question the sincerity of your comments, but why then have no scholars representing the opposing or a more balanced view been invited to speak on this issue at Vassar?

      • Raj April 2, 2014 at 6:29 am · Reply

        Scott – Has anyone in the victims group held the Hillel (the past one) and other pro-Israeli groups to the same standard ?

  7. Solomon March 29, 2014 at 8:30 pm · Reply

    Comment edited: A majority of Jews (inside and outside Israel) would like to see a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A group of Vassar alums wants to see someone on campus willing to stand up for Israel and doesn’t want Israel unfairly maligned. How does that constitute wallowing in victimhood?

    The BDS movement is led by people who pretend to seek a one-state solution to the conflict. This means the end of Israel and the end of a homeland for the Jewish people. Why should the Jews think the Arabs would treat them any better than they were treated in Arab lands? Hamas still wants to “throw the Jews into the sea.”

    Half the Jewish population of Israel consists of Sephardic Jews who were kicked out of Arab countries, their belongings and property confiscated, from the late 1940s onwards. How about reparations for them? Why do people talk only about reparations for Palestinians?

    Jordan put the Palestinians into refugee camps on the West Bank while a young Israel struggled from the late 1940s through the 1960s and later to bring Sephardic Jews to Israel and to integrate them into Israeli society. (It wasn’t easy, and problems persist to this day, but that’s not the topic of this message.) I agree with you that the Palestinians are victims. They are victims of the Arab world that has wanted to keep them downtrodden in its fight with Israel. Now, many Arab countries have become more preoccupied with problems of their own. Hence, the Palestinians and their supporters badly need BDS to keep up the fight.

    I am waiting for a single Vassar professor who signed the March 1 open letter to stand up and denouce the anti-Israel hate fest or the events of the March 3 “open” meeting at which pro-Israel students were mocked and bullied. The March 3 events has received publicity in both the pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel media. No one seems to deny that what happened on March 3 was a disgrace and a stain on Vassar’s good name.

    By the way, by “pro-Israel”, I mean pro two-state solution with a recognition that Israel has a right to exist.

    I have a suggestion for you, Raj. Why doesn’t SJP, in the spirit of “open dialogue”, invite Dershowitz to speak at Vassar? When SJP invites Dershowitz to speak, I will agree with you that Hillel should be open. Policies you’ve decided are good for Hillel are good for SJP, too.

    • Raj March 30, 2014 at 4:05 pm · Reply

      Peter Beinart on the culture of fraud by pro-Israeli supporters who hide behind the claim of Israel is a democracy. You know, like our “victim” parents/alumni who use Freedom House to declare Israel as Free. But left out Freedom House description of Palestine. I guess the label “Not Free” would be “anti-semitic” to post.


      “To use the language of democracy to defend Israeli policy in the West Bank is linguistic fraud. Such fraud is necessary because to honestly defend the denial of democratic rights, for 46 years, to millions of people because they happen to be Palestinians and not Jews, would require language too coarse for the Upper West Side. It’s an old story. “Things like the continuance of British rule in India,” Orwell wrote almost seventy years ago, “can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of the political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness.”

      It is this culture of euphemism – a culture which has corrupted Jewish America for decades ”

      Peter Beinart describing AIPAC, one of the largest and most powerful pro-Israeli organization in America.


      “How could an organization so repulsed by the one-state agenda give an avowed one-stater such a prominent speaking role? Because when you scratch the surface, AIPAC isn’t as hostile to the one-state agenda as it first appears.
      Consider the organization’s 2012 “action principles.” These principles, which will guide AIPAC’s legislative agenda for 2012, were approved in private session by the body’s National Council the morning that the conference began. They consist of 12 bullet points, none of which mentions the words “Palestinian state” or “two-state solution.” ”

      I have a suggestion for you. Why don’t the Vassar Parent/Alumni “victims” have a conference where both sides are invited. That way we can ask the AIPAC/ Hillel

      • Semyon Gustav March 30, 2014 at 9:50 pm · Reply

        Again, Raj, you have not addressed the comment to which you are responding and your attempt to refer to FTI’s letter to the editor misses what it actually states. If you actually read the letter to the editor by FTI, you will see that it points out the lower rating from Freedomhouse for Gaza and the West Bank. And, that lower rating is explained in the context of the actual rulers of Gaza – the Islamist group Hamas – and the West Bank – the cleptomaniacial PA, which stole billions of dollars, which are in private bank accounts in places like Switzerland.While it is not stated in FTI’s letter, you might note that as bad as Gaza and the West Bank are ruled, they do not hold a candle to places like Saudi Arabia, which is listed by Freedomhouse as being among the ten worst in the world. So, try as you may, even if Israel were solely to blame for the terrible governance of the West Bank and Gaza – which is an impossibility, given that Hamas rules Gaza and much of the West Bank is ruled by the PA, but I’ll humour you by admitting it for the sake of argument -, the fact is that the West Bank and Gaza are not anywhere near the bottom of the barrel of bad places to live in Earth. In fact, they are considerably better than many, if not all, other Arab countries.

        • Raj March 31, 2014 at 6:37 am · Reply

          I did not state my criticism clearly there. I will expand on it here.

          “The numerical ratings and status above reflect conditions within Israel itself. Separate reports examine the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.” – Those are Freedom House’s own words. Why would Freedom house put them there unless it recognizes that Israel controls Palestinians.

          Therefore our wealthy “victims” would like to latch on to Freedom House’s depiction of “NOT FREE” for Palestinians is based on their internal politics and nothing to do with ISRAEL. Wonderful. That would have been like Freedom House describing South Africa as “FREE” and Bantustan as “NOT FREE”. Or better yet under Marshall Petain, based on Freedom House’s rules and our “victims” interpretation, France would have been a “FREE” country in the 1940’s. Germany, what Germany !!!

          The pretend portrayal of Palestinians as some kind of independent people fits right into Peter Beinart’s characterization of “linguistic fraud”. For all the MDS, PHDS and other brilliantly qualified persons in our “victim” group, they would like to pretend, just like Freedom House, that Israel is not the occupational Authority of Palestinians.

          Convenient isn’t it. Draw up the convenient straw man of Hamas and the evil PA, and use them as a distraction from issues such as settlements. I guess if our “victims” needed to talk of settlements they would have to acknowledge that Israel basically steals lands outside its borders and maintains an apartheid state there. So better to engage in what Beinart aptly describes as “cloudy vagueness”.

          • Semyon Gustav April 1, 2014 at 2:42 pm ·

            In that Freedomhouse sets forth how it reaches its conclusions, your entire analysis is pointless. Why not look up what Freedomhouse does. You will likely find out that you are mistaken. But, if you are not, you will still learn something instead of just assuming you know.

  8. hophmi March 29, 2014 at 10:56 pm · Reply

    Raj: Please identity a single instance of one of these professors being in any way silenced at Vassar. You know very well that you can’t.

  9. Marjorie Ellenbogen'58 March 30, 2014 at 5:52 am · Reply

    Comment was Incomplete…earlier events did not ignite such hostility on campus…thishas been inappropriate and unworthy of VC tradition

  10. Åse Margrethe Hansen ´77 March 30, 2014 at 10:34 am · Reply

    Comment edited: Let me assure Mr/Ms Raj that the FTI group is diverse – not only as concerns race, religion, sexual orientation and political leanings, but certainly also as concerns wealth and privilege. What a silly focus! Let´s stay clear headed about what this issue is really about, namely a lack of tolerance for views that aren´t in complete harmony with those of Raj and his/her troops. Greetings from a Christian, lesbian artist of limited financial means, who would never have been able to study at Vassar had it not been for said “wealthy and privileged”. I thank them – maybe you should too, Raj?

    • Raj March 30, 2014 at 3:40 pm · Reply

      Tolerance for views. Is that why Jewish students at Vassar walked away from the Hillel !!!!!. You seem to spend an awful lot of time cheering up people who make up excuses for the lack of free speech in the Hillel. And u claim your’e for “Tolerance for views”. Hypocrisy much ? Ms Hansen.


      • Semyon Gustav March 30, 2014 at 10:06 pm · Reply

        Raj, Ms Hansen did not even mention Hillel. Nor is Hillel mentioned in FTI’s letter. Nor does it matter that some Jewish students have taken Vassar’s Hillel in a different direction. It has nothing to do with Ms. Hansen’s comment or FTI’s letter.One thing you do have correct. Jewish and non-Jewish students who care for Israel would most certainly walk away from the new, “open”, Hillel at Vassar. Its student leader is anti-Israel. For that reason, it actually represents the viewpoint of a tiny minority of Jews. So Vassar’s Hillel does not speak for Vassar’s Jews or anyone else. It speaks for a tiny, uninformed minority.

        • Raj March 31, 2014 at 5:52 am · Reply

          Semyon, I was commenting of Ms Hansens Tolerance for views. And her subsequent cheering for censorship at the Hillel in another post. Ever read a post and its contents before u respond ?
          Absolutely Semyon, now even Jewish students at Vassar don’t speak for Israel. Absolutely. Only the “right” kind of people represent Israel. I guess the rest of them are the “self hating kind” !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • Semyon Gustav April 1, 2014 at 2:46 pm ·

            Raj, Perhaps you are unaware that Jews hold a variety of views. In any event, as I noted in my comment, most Jews support Israel. There are, however, dissenters. The problem at Vassar is that there is a determined group which hopes to end dissent and force an anti-Israel viewpoint as the only acceptable viewpoint. Do you think that the anti-Israel viewpoint should be the only acceptable viewpoint that a student can hold?

          • hophmi April 2, 2014 at 11:33 am ·

            “And her subsequent cheering for censorship at the Hillel in another post.”

            Please list all of the pro-Israel speakers that have been invited to speak on campus by either Arab or Muslim student organizations.

            It’s just completely hypocritical to criticize Hillel for drawing a red line on what political activity they will support with their funding while pursuing a boycott of Israeli voices.

          • Raj April 2, 2014 at 1:38 pm ·


            Every time u post you contradict your “force an anti-Israel viewpoint as the only acceptable viewpoint”. Post all the viewpoints u want. Just be ready to be challenged. Unlike at the Hillel (the old one).

            When the Hillel touts itself and Israel as bastions of free speech and both of them engage in censorship. Then that is hypocrisy.

            Just as Ms Hansens’ call for “Tolerance of views” and then resorting to name calling.

  11. hophmi March 30, 2014 at 11:39 am · Reply

    Raj: Please give a single instance of a Vassar professor being censored in any way in relationship to this issue. You know that you cannot.

    • Raj March 30, 2014 at 3:31 pm · Reply

      I pointed out that it happened at Barnard/Columbia, Berkeley. The actors in the I-P debate are pretty much the same ones. Is it beyond reasonable to be assume the same actors along with their local “victim” squad would not be calling the Vassar Board of Trustees. Oh Please .

      On the same not can you prove that the professors have had a “chilling effect on the free exchange of ideas and opinions.”. The “victim” crowd and others certainly don’t seem “chilled” when they wrote up this entire diatribe in the Miscellany. So where is the censorship. Any proof. Or is that only for the other side.

      • hophmi March 31, 2014 at 6:12 am · Reply

        There were no professors censored at Columbia or Berkeley.

        The effect of professors writing a letter expressing extremist opinions on a controversial political issue that may be discussed in their classes is warning enough to students not to dissent, lest their grades suffer. The chilling effect is completely obvious to any honest person. Professors have tenure. They can do what they want. They have the power in the professor-student relationship.

        • Raj April 1, 2014 at 6:29 am · Reply

          Asking to censure a professor and claiming no censorship sounds hypocritical. Asking for a book to be banned and claiming one is all for free speech shows the extent to which pro-Israeli groups will go to pervert free speech and claim “victim” status.

          My responses rankles people because to the third party reader it strikes a chord of what goes on with these pro-Israel “perma victim” groups.

          • hophmi April 1, 2014 at 9:39 am ·

            “Asking to censure a professor and claiming no censorship sounds hypocritical. ”

            I’m not sure where you’re getting the idea that anyone asked for censures here, but if a professor was found to be holding students to an ideological line in class, it would probably violate the AAUP’s code of ethics. But, no, criticizing censorship and calling for censure would not be hypocritical if the censure were deserved. I’m not one arguing for professorial censure here. I’m pointing out the problem with faculty pushing a political cause in this way. Go back through the Misc archives. I doubt you’ll find many letters like this from faculty, which only goes to show again, that Israel is unfairly being singled out for special treatment.

          • Raj April 2, 2014 at 6:15 am ·

            hophmi – Writing to the Governor of California, especially by the nations leading First Amendment lawyer, to ban a book is not just censure. Its the height of hypocrisy. If it was a AAUP code of ethics why write to the Gov. Of California. Huh ?

            Especially so by the very person who then goes on ally himself with leading groups in the country that use the standard talking points of lack of free speech for Arabs.

            If you consider Israel being unfairly targeted that would be your viewpoint. There are groups on Sudan, Tibet, Nigeria and on and on.. Feel free to join any of them. I don’t think they have a size or member limitations.

            Groups who have their ancestry from that area who have now come into the American mainstream are of course going to question the treatment of their people. And that makes other groups who’ve done the same thing on the other side for decades uncomfortable.

            Countering propaganda is the American Way. Else what would be the difference between North Korea, an Israel under Lieberman’s proposed laws and America ?

            Should that privilege be limited for some groups and some people ?

  12. Jim Raker March 30, 2014 at 11:43 am · Reply

    Comment edited: To “Raj”: your short, manic, diatribe lists “wealthy” six times and “priveleged” five times. This, without you knowing one thing about those 66 (and now approaching 80) concerned alumni and parents. Perhaps the irony of your stereotypical anti semitism is lost on you. The truth is a powerful force, my friend. The “privelege” we have is our Vassar Education which, at one time at least, pushed us towards critical thinking. Not baseless rhetoric.

    • Raj March 31, 2014 at 6:50 am · Reply

      Jim. Try using Google. You will know plenty about the group. For example you will know that persons of the group are benefactors of the Jewish National Fund. A fund that practices open apartheid.

      Nice isn’t it Jim. A person who wishes us to believe this song and dance of a free Israel being a benefactor of an openly racist and discriminatory fund. I’ll be happy to post more tidbits if so desire about our wealthy “victims”.

  13. Solomon March 30, 2014 at 2:29 pm · Reply

    I “love” Raj’s comments. No one demonstrates as well as he does why it is necessary for Israel to exist. As long as anti-Semitism exists, the Jewish people need a Jewish state.

    • Raj March 30, 2014 at 3:26 pm · Reply

      Amen for “anti-semitism”. Playing “victim” sure allows your to avoid or better yet avoid any discussion of Palestinian dispossession. And when i mean dispossession, i mean the lands being stolen beyond Israels’ borders.

      But i must forgive. I guess when u subscribe to Sheldon’s newspapers u may not hear of such horribles. I heard even Chris Christie spent at least an hour apologizing to Sheldon Adelson in New York for calling those land Occupied Territories. The horror.

      Is Chris Christie an anti-semite too ? !!!!!

      • Solomon March 30, 2014 at 10:00 pm · Reply

        If someone said that all Muslim states should disappear, we would say that that person hates Muslims. When someone says that all Jewish states should disappear, as the leaders of the BDS movement say, that qualifies as anti-Semitism, not me playing victimhood.
        I have not said anything at all about my political opinions other than to say (or perhaps, only imply) that I am in favor of a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli problem.
        Do you associate me with Adelson just because we are both Jewish? That’s stereotyping and is classic anti-Semitism. How would average rich white non-Jewish students at Vassar (who are or whose ancestors were Christians) feel if I tried to link to draw a link between them and the Koch brothers? After all, they are all white and Christian.
        And what about the land that was stolen from Sephardic Jews between 1948 and 1967?

        • Raj March 31, 2014 at 6:57 am · Reply

          When someone (actually Israeli foreign minster) says that Arabs can be expelled/transferred from Israel, not a peep from our “victims” and other pro-Israeli groups. We didn’t say it, they would shriek i guess.

          Same thing with any racist statement by pro-Israeli Billionaires. “We didn’t say it”. But of course no problem with the Hillel taking their money.

          However anything anyone from BDS states (according to Solomon) is hung like a millstone around every pro-Palestinian supporter. Hypocrisy much Solomon ?

          • Semyon Gustav March 31, 2014 at 11:44 am ·


            You have again posted a comment that is seemingly in response to a prior comment but which is not. Please note that the topic raised by Solomon – which directly responded to your comment – has not been answered by you.

            So far as people stating things offensive, that has on occasion happened. Israel’s position opposes anyone being transferred.

            One minister, Avigdor Lieberman, holds the view that the boundary lines to be drawn in settling the dispute should be drawn in a manner whereby some Israeli Arabs would live in the proposed Palestinian state and become, if they prefer, citizens of that new state. Other ministers, such as Naftali Bennett, would prefer a single state, with some land yielded to the surrounding Arab states. Neither of those positions represent the official position of the Israeli government.

            By contrast, the official position of the PA is that Jews – even those with family from the WB going back many, many centuries – cannot live in the WB and must be removed. Thus, on their view, Jews have no right to live in the Jewish Quarter of the walled city in Jerusalem, even though all Jews were expelled during the 1948 war. Is that ok with you?

            And, Hamas’ official position is that Jews must leave the country including from places like Tel Aviv and Haifa. If Hamas’ official covenant is to be believed, the official position, publicly stated, of Hamas is that all Jews are to be killed wherever they live and however long it may take Hamas to do so.

            In nasty disputes, people say bad things. You, however, only seem to hear things said by the Israelis.

            Do you think Jews should be expelled from their homeland or killed, as Hamas officially demands?

  14. Åse Margrethe Hansen ´77 March 30, 2014 at 3:32 pm · Reply

    What is the current policy of the Misc as regards editing comments? And what are your policies regarding publishing anonymously? The alias “Raj” got to rant on unhindered by the editor(s), while several of the rest of us have had relatively short comments edited, even when we disclose our full names. Why?

  15. Peggy March 30, 2014 at 4:57 pm · Reply

    As the mother of a Vassar graduate, I would like to add my name to the Fairness to Israel list. I would never allow my son to attend Vassar now. Its smug anti-Semitism is disqualifying.

    • Raj March 31, 2014 at 6:58 am · Reply

      I think Oral Roberts university or Liberty University or Bob Jones University would be a better fit. They will teach your son the “truth”.

  16. J March 30, 2014 at 6:19 pm · Reply

    The rather passive response of the administration to the isolating & intimidation of jews on campus under the banner of free speech is shocking. It is being a bystander to bigotry because its uncomfortable to go up against ‘supposedly progressive views’ which are only if you support the BDS crowd and its barely veiled racism.

  17. Douglas Levene March 31, 2014 at 12:08 am · Reply

    I write only an an outside observer, and as a law professor and the friend of several Vassar alumni. I think it’s disgraceful when professors try to hijack an educational institution into the service of whatever their political hobbyhorse happens to be. The purposes of an institution of higher education like Vassar are education and scholarship. Political action is not on that list. Professors can say or do whatever they want on their own time, but they forfeit any respect due them as scholars once they get down into the lists and seek to compel the institution into serving their own political causes. That includes professors trying to enlist Vassar in a boycott of Israeli universities. Once they do that, they are no longer acting as professors and should not be surprised if the wider world decides that they have forfeited the protections of academic freedom.

    • Raj March 31, 2014 at 7:02 am · Reply

      Hijack is when the victims are forced to do what the hijackers want them to do. Did the “hijackers” force our wealthy “victims” and/or their children to attend an indoctrination class.

      Scholars are supposed to engage in facts. Would u rather they engage in fiction. Or are you just adding yourself to the wealthy “victim” group ?

  18. Melinda Maidens March 31, 2014 at 8:22 am · Reply

    Please add me to the Fairness to Israel list. The first item of business is to ensure that debate at Vassar about Israel, about the Palestinians and about every other topic goes forward in a civil, articulate and intellectual environment. BDS supporters have harassed the professors and students who went on the trip to Israel and the West Bank to study issues of water rights. The harassment is unacceptable.

    As to the ASA boycott: if individual professors prefer not to associate with Israel or Israelis, it’s their loss. They will not be advancing the cause of a Palestinian state, but it’s their right to refuse to deal with anyone they want. The College was absolutely correct in refusing to endorse the boycott. It is inappropriate for the College as an institution to take sides on a political issue. Vassar must take the side of academic freedom.

  19. Toby Anne Axelrod '78 March 31, 2014 at 11:19 am · Reply

    I am pleased to be among the signers of the Fairness to Israel letter, and would urge RAJ to have the courage to comment under his/her actual name in the future. I won’t respond directly to anonymous rants, but would like to emphasize, as others have before me, that the FTI members are quite varied (including freelancers like myself who have never been able to give much financial support to our alma mater, and who borrowed funds to pay for our own education). We represent a wide range of views within the spectrum of support for Israel as a Jewish state. I would venture to say that all of us would like to see an independent Palestinian state as well.

    The anonymous Raj is not presenting his/her argument in a reasoned, factual and respectful manner conducive to discussion. Rather, the comments are so flat and unreflected as to suggest a projection of the writer’s own issues (such as victim identity and privilege) onto an easy target. Perhaps the real person behind this name could carry on a sensible discussion, but presently he or she is doing a disservice to the cause for Palestinian independence.

    Though I understand the reluctance of some parents to send their children into an uncivil environment, I also feel committed to my alma mater by helping ensure that discussion on sensitive subjects such as this are conducted with respect, with intellectual integrity and rigor, and with a healthy ability to self-criticism – such as one finds among Israelis today, with their many conflicting ideas and opinions. There is simply no benefit to “discussion” with an anonymous mudslinger.

    • Raj April 2, 2014 at 8:06 am · Reply

      I am concerned that people urge only me to post by my actual name. How about others. You know others who resorted to name calling like “anti-semite”.

      I present my arguments in a factual manner. I consider “victim” a tactic used by pro-Israeli groups. People may disagree. And i considered the group “wealthy” based on the number of MDS, Professors and other prominent positions. Again people may disagree. But i’m sure people who want a reasoned, factual and respectful manner would agree to disagree. So i eagerly wait for such people to condemn people who resort to name calling.

      As for debate amongst people. Even Israeli papers like Haaretz point out that “anti-semite” is a tactic used by pro-Israelis to shut down debate !!!

      On a side note. As a rule i try not to be drinking fluids when i watch say Fox News when they called for “Fair and Balanced” debate. Similarly i try not to drink fluids when i read certain blogs or Israeli newspapers. Especially those funded by right wing billionaires from America. I hope people understand.

  20. Raj April 1, 2014 at 6:55 am · Reply

    So as not to get hidden away. Here are Solomon’s statements.

    “some Israeli Arabs would live in the proposed Palestinian state and become, if they prefer, citizens of that new state.”


    “Walking on egg shells with his shaky coalition, the prime minister weakly distanced himself from Lieberman’s outburst. Interior Minister Gideon Saar stated that “an Israeli citizen is not an object and cannot be moved under a peace accord. … We can talk about equal rights and equal responsibilities, but revoking citizenship should not be up for debate.” His views were supported by other ministers.”

    The transfer is to be involuntary. But Solomon claims it is to be voluntary. Another shining example of our “victim” group member (?) using linguistic fraud.

    Just imagine folks. The same people who crow in every breath that Israel is a democracy now turn around claim transfer of it citizens is A-OK. No other example highlights the true nature of Israeli democracy claims. Arabs citizens of Israel have tenuous rights. Rights barely maintained for propaganda purposes.

    ” Other ministers, such as Naftali Bennett, would prefer a single state, with some land yielded to the surrounding Arab states. ”

    Except the “linguistic fraud” here is that Naftali Bennett’s single state would be one were Palestinians in the West Bank would have no rights.

    Now you understand why most of the “victims” can’t stand me posting here. I point out the “linguistic fraud”.

    • Semyon Gustav April 1, 2014 at 2:53 pm · Reply


      I quoted Lieberman. And, the fact that Israeils disagree with each other, what of it? That is why Israel is a democracy. Moreover, countries have ceded land and citizens numerous times in history. So, the fact that many Israelis do not like that approach – nor do I, for that matter – is essentially a non-issue. Thank you for admitting that Israel is a vibrant democracy.

      • Raj April 2, 2014 at 5:51 am · Reply

        The attribution to Solomon was a mistake. It should be to Semyon Gustav.

        Firstly. No Semyon u did not quote Lieberman. You performed “linguistic fraud”. Especially when u claim that such transfer would be voluntary.

        Secondly. You continue to commit “linguistic fraud” when u omit the fact that Naftali Bennets’ single state would be were Palestinians would have no rights.

        Thirdly. Claiming that Israel is a democracy because some Israelis are appalled by the racist statements of Lieberman is like calling Apartheid South Africa a democracy because the Afrikaaner party was debated in parliament by Helen Suzman.

        Finally, for all the calls of “anti-semitism” here, one can only imagine, in America, if anyone posits stripping any religious or racial group of their rights and transferring them. But woe be me if such standards are held up for pro-Israeli supporters.

        • Semyon Gustav April 2, 2014 at 2:14 pm · Reply

          Raj, My last post with you.

          It is not racist to swap territory and, when swapping territory, to have citizens of that swapped territory change their nationality. Germany and France have done so repeatedly. I think you have no idea what racism is.

          On your theory about Bennett, there is no basis for a settlement. He proposes a single state. No doubt, he would prefer that the state is governed by Jews. But, he does not advocate, so far as I know, changing the law for those who would live in that state.

          Let’s assume – because it is an irrelevancy – that the two Israeli politicians in issue hold racist views. Should the same understanding of racism apply to Arab politicians? If so, is it not the case that the official position of the PA is to ethnically cleanse all Jews from any land governed by Palestinians? Hypocrisy runs deep in people who support the Palestinian cause because they refuse even to peek at what Palestinian officials advocate. In this case, it is the official position of the PA, not the position of some politicians in a government, but two politicians who do not decide the matter. In the case of the PA, it is, in fact, the position of the government, and it is, by your stated standards, racist. So, grow up!!!

          • Raj April 2, 2014 at 4:37 pm ·

            Semyon, How nice of you to pretend that Naftali Bennett offered a single state solution with equal rights. You know your’e basically presenting falsehoods. Just like when u pretend that forced (emphasis forced) population transfers are nothing but ethnic cleansing.
            Regarding Jews want to live in the new Palestine, they refused. You’re correct. But they’ve always been willing to let all Jews and ALL Arabs live in ALL of the land.
            Why is it racist when the PA insists on rights for Arabs to live anywhere too. Not just Jews.
            Go peddle your “victimology” somewhere else.

  21. Jim Raker April 1, 2014 at 11:55 am · Reply

    Something seriously wrong at the MISC! Several of us responded with our names and short, succinct comments and the MISC “edited” them? Then the MISC allows this anonymous “RAJ” to rant on in long, UNEDITED and deeply antisemitic diatribes. He falsely accuses the signers of the letter as being “rich Jews” and then, when confronted, threatens the signees with googling them and finding out if they are donors or recipients? of philanthropic organizations. Hate speech. Yet that all goes up “unedited” by the Misc, implying sloppy journalism or tacit approval. Which is it? From the rapidly growing international press attention on Vassar’s response (or lack of response) to its antisemitism on campus, one would be left with the assumption that the MISC is complcit as well. I hope not.

    • Raj April 2, 2014 at 5:41 am · Reply

      Could there be a confusion of this website with the Hillel website But the rest is simply spot on as i’ve stated from the get go. The moment one questions the “victims” and/or Israeli conduct the “anti-semitic” mumbo starts.

      “Threaten the signees”. Now Googling someones name is a threat ? Especially after some claim i know not one thing of them. Or is using Google anti-semitic ? Or pointing out that some of the “”not so claimed wealthy” victims” are benefactors of the Jewish National Fund. an organization considered racist by many, is now “anti-semitic”.

      Can i posit that actually pointing out the Israel is FREE while omitting Palestine is NOT FREE could be considered racist ? Cause that was the same tactic used by Afrikaaners to justify apartheid. The straw man of “victim”hood is simply amazing.

  22. Malik Rashad April 2, 2014 at 12:12 pm · Reply

    raj-a few of us know who u are. pls do your trolling elsewhere.

  23. N Blaikes April 2, 2014 at 4:42 pm · Reply

    As a grandparent of a Vassar graduate, I am distressed by the failure of the Vassar administration and faculty to curb the excesses of the anti-Israel fanatics. Reading the comments here reinforce my view that when my other grandchildren reach college age they should look elsewhere. The current climate at Vassar is unacceptable to me.

    • Billy Bob April 2, 2014 at 10:55 pm · Reply

      Recalling the “Vassar College bathed in Blood” sidewalk graffiti outside AC/DC (i.e. Divest IBM etc from VC endowment), I have been following the opaque anti-Semitic activities of both ignorant self hating Jewish students and VC faculty.
      Of greatest irony is the juxtaposition of ubber liberal and progressive VC, with murderous treatment of undesirables in nearly all Islamic states. Their media promote state policies of brutal intolerance as embodied in the September 2007 Columbia U interview “In Iran we don’t have homosexuals like in your country,” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

      Perhaps the idealistic should read The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad, by Fareed Zakaria.

      Meanwhile, I’m headed to Idaho to dig a bunker.

  24. Wendy S. Aronson M.D. April 3, 2014 at 1:56 pm · Reply

    “Rich Jews? ” My goodness. President Sarah Gibson Blanding would have held a Convocation in the Chapel over behavior like this. The phrase is no different from Congressman Paul Ryan’s on the “Inner city culture,” and how it has no work ethic. Read “Black.” At least that venom is in code. This most un-Vassar-like hate-speak is going to harm us. It is much bigger than the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and makes me question whether Vassar is still devoted to the development of
    informed and civilized graduates. The college administration must come out formally, insisting on manners and tolerance. We will see our applications, and yes, our alumni financial support suffer if we don’t mend our ways. And what about our souls?

  25. Mark S. Rosenberg April 7, 2014 at 1:54 pm · Reply

    When on campus forums are held to debate the perceived audacity of a trip to Israel a line has been crossed. When at that forum even critics of Israel are taken back by the vitriol and bullying tactics of those who are so deeply anti Israel a line has been crossed. When many Jewish students at Vassar feel silenced and threatened in expressing their support of Israel a line has been crossed. When some Vassar Professors feel compelled to write a letter supporting an academic boycott of Israel in this sort of environment a line has been crossed. When terms like rich Jews are bandied about in discussions of this issue a line has been crossed. When the administration does not strongly condemn these actions a line has been crossed. That line is the singling out of Israel among all nations and those who support her or even dare travel to Israel for a double standard that is not applied to other nations to justify condemnation of the Jewish State, her people, supporters and anyone that would even travel to Israel irrespective of whether or not they support Israel.

    It is time for those of us who are opposed to these actions to organize. I note that there is a face book page for those at Vassar who support Palestine. It is time for us to also take action. I invite any of you who are interested in forming a group to further support of Israel at Vassar, academic balance at Vassar and the right of Vassar Professors and students to travel to Israel without on campus harassment to contact me at [email protected].

    Mark S. Rosenberg
    Vassar College 1980
    West Hollywood, California

  26. John Sperber '81 April 12, 2014 at 11:14 am · Reply

    It occurs to me that in it’s rather convenient insulation, many at Vassar (including myself) might have trouble recognizing the type of threat Israel and the Diaspora have felt for thousands of years. Let’s take the Westboro Baptist Church as an example: That group was ‘allowed’ to protest at a cordoned-off location off the main campus. The directive was that no one physically confront the group. Did anyone actually see them? Vassar held a day of speeches and parades for awareness, culminating in a hand holding chain surrounding Main House. How nice. Well, that’s not how it works in Gaza, the West Bank, Warsaw, Kristalinacht and Masada. You fought the WBC with words, ideas and social media. It was a stage production. I wonder what you would do to protect your family if the WBC fired rockets into the Quad. Would you break the chain or take it on the chin?

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