Letter to the Editor: President Bradley’s Response to SJP

In my role as the President of Vassar College, I very much value academic freedom and the open exchange of ideas. We do not all need to agree on every issue, and, in fact, true learning occurs when we hear viewpoints different from our own. The truth is equally important, however. One of Vassar’s earliest faculty members, Maria Mitchell taught that the way one finds truth is to “go to the source.” I would like to correct some of the statements made about me and about Vassar in the opinion piece entitled “Israel Apartheid Week highlights Palestinian oppression” (The Miscellany News, “Israel Apartheid Week highlights Palestinian oppression,” 04.04.2019).

In the summer of 2018, I traveled to Jordan, Israel and Ramallah to better understand their models of higher education, particularly in the liberal arts. I met with the leadership of Palestinian and Israeli universities, and in Jordan I met with the leadership of a high school that teaches liberal arts.

In addition, as a public health scholar, I was eager to meet with key health leaders throughout the region. I was also able to host a Vassar alumnae/i event, which is something I do throughout my travels. I also met with dozens of other people from the region, including Israeli and Palestinian students, educational and human rights advocates and local leaders, including Israel Nitzan, who was the incoming Deputy Counsel General and was to begin his work in New York City in fall of 2018. I had never traveled to the region before and welcomed learning as much as I could from them. It was a rewarding experience for me, and one that is helping me in my work here.

Vassar will continue to connect and work with a diversity of academics—Israelis, Palestinians and others across the world—in order to provide our students the best educational opportunities, and I am pleased that Vassar is a place where we can use our knowledge to openly debate and discuss all kinds of topics.

Elizabeth H. Bradley,

President

4 Comments

  1. Thank you for being a positive model for all academic institutions and showing fairness for all people. You need to send this letter to all universities having a hard time protecting all their students from the extremists on campus. The best of luck in your important mission.

    • Ms Neuman, is asking for freedom against apartheid extremist ?

      Ms Bradley, so you would have travelled without compunction to apartheid South Africa also ? Cause if you went there during that time you would have also been able to “better understand their models of higher education, particularly in the liberal arts.”

      • Does anyone who knows history really see a strong connectivity between apartheid and the Palestinians? Could blacks in SA vote ,get elected to a legislature,enter any hospital,attend any college,eat in any restaurant,write almost whatever they want,protest openly; etc etc: as Israeli Palestinians can?
        Hamas and Palestinian leadership is a part of the problem. Hamas/PLA did not use the billions given them for infrastructure,desalinization,plants,school or hospital building, tourist development etc:, but rather bought armaments, bought concrete for tunnel construction,gave friends/family high paid jobs and pays stipends for so called “martyr” families who’s relatives have stabbed or murdered Israelis.
        Is there a peace movement allowed in Gaza or PLA territory? There is a large one in Israel! Is there freedom of expression,of speech or religion of politics etc?
        Those of you who think Hamas and a free Palestine is the answer to peace, please tell me what you propose for the 6 million Jews in Israel? Would you like to live,work,worship,write,speak out under a Hamas/PLA government?
        They do not allow the freedoms you know here. Israeli Palestinians have the most freedom of any Arab nation and there is no doubt about that. Does that excuse abusive Israeli military/police behavior,no it doesn’t, but for there to be peace there must be conversations,a dialogue, and the BDS adherents, in their pseudo self righteousness, are lacking skills in respectful discourse!
        Comparing Israel to South Africa,comparing the treatment Palestinians to the horrible mistreatment of Native Americans, and to the hundreds of years of suffering by African-Americans and calling Palestinian mistreatment “genocidal” is ludicrous and no basis for intelligent discussion. Sorry,the Palestinians deserve better than Hamas/PLA and better than the close-minded BDS adherents,and of course,better from the Israeli government too!

        • Thanks for your response. Why use the word “Israeli Palestinians” in claiming they can vote, attend any college etc. Why not use the word “Palestinians” ? Cause Palestinians don’t have any of those liberties under apartheid. And you know it.

          Hamas. Israel fostered that organization as a hedge against the PLO. Are you going to deny it ? Easy to focus on Hamas, but what is the justification for the endless apartheid like settlements on stolen land ? Good Karma.

          Was there a peace movement in the ANC ? No. Was there peace movement within the IRA ? No. So the “peace movement” is an excuse to obfuscate apartheid through settlements. Were the Palestinians a secular society ? Yes. So what happened. Do you wish for us to believe a deliberate process of apartheid had nothing to do with their state today ?

          Who gets the blame for the shape/status of their society after 70 years of wretched imprisonment ? Do you deny that the Israeli Govt. openly boasted of starving Gazans’ (Wikileaks). If they really wanted a secular and stable society, why steal land and treat them like animals ?

          The continual use of the word Israeli Palestinians who are actually called Israeli Arabs shows you wish to create a false narrative. And even those people (Israeli Arabs) are at best fifth class citizens in Israel. Why compare them to Arab dictatorships alone ? I thought Israeli was “just like America”. If you were a minority in America would you accept the “rights” granted to “Israeli Palestinians” let alone Palestinians. I think not. That exposes the charade of using them as props and comparing them to other Arab dictatorships.

          Blaming Hamas and the PLO are just an excuse to continue the theft of land. You don’t cage a pet and poke it with sticks and wonder why it bit you. Why would you do it to people and pretend it’s all their fault ?

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