On April 2, The Miscellany News published a letter titled “Campus Discourse Continues to be Strong,” by Joshua Schreier. Professor Schreier seems entirely disinterested in being a role model for all students, not just for BDS supporters, and denies the hostile atmosphere that now exists at Vassar for pro-Israel students. Scholars do not publish propaganda in the school newspaper. That is an act contrary to the role of a scholar. Professor Schreier may believe that such an environment is conducive to education. No reasonable person could possibly agree with him.
In fact, it is simply not true that Vassar today supports a diversity of viewpoints concerning the Arab Israeli dispute. That is due in considerable part to Vassar’s course about Israel, taught by a Professor Schreier. As a supporter of BDS, he becomes an advocate first, and educator, if at all, a distant second. His teaching is compromised by BDS and focused on vilifying Israel. A scholar teaching about Israel would bring at least one pro-Israel speaker during this academic year to speak. Has Professor Schreier done so? No. The dearth of pro-Israel speakers is his fault. Perhaps that is because he supports BDS. To supporters of BDS, there are no other viewpoints. Israel, to such supporters, is evil, not a country to be understood. Therefore, scholarship that dissents from that viewpoint is not merely wrong, it is intolerable. The professors, including Professor Schreier, who signed the “open” letter, conflate their opinion of Israel with scholarship. Pro-Israel students should thus reasonably fear being marked down by these advocates pretending to be scholars. That is human nature. No student concerned about grades would dare express a pro-Israel opinion in such a teacher’s classroom. Professor Schreier denies the reality of what is occurring on Vassar’s campus. Because our FTI group includes parents of current Vassar students, we are acutely aware of the plight of pro-Israel students. Most prefer silence to being ostracized by classmates. In fact, only the bravest pro-Israel students have dared to speak up. Professor Shreier and his co-signers evidently prefer monologue to a scholarly discussion.
-Melissa Green ’78