On April 3, 2019, The Miscellany News published an article submitted by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) that implicated President Elizabeth Bradley of conducting business with an “apartheid state,” stating, “[Bradley] made introductions that are now resulting in efforts to establish greater economic collaborations between Dutchess County and Israel” (The Miscellany News, “Israeli Apartheid Week highlights Palestinian oppression,” 04.03.2019). In response, columnist Jesser Horowitz defended President Bradley’s action and lauded her efforts. In his article, he explained, “This economic relationship largely began when Israel’s Deputy Consul General in New York met Vassar College President Elizabeth Bradley on a trip she took to Israel last year” (The Miscellany News, “SJP’s protests against partnerships harm Poughkeepsie,” 04.10.2019).
Both articles pushed forward the notion that President Bradley has worked together with Dutchess County to establish this business collaboration with Israel. While SJP criticized Vassar’s involvement in this project, Horowitz endorsed it. However, further investigation has determined that this claim is incorrect; President Bradley did not play any role in the formation of this trade agreement between Dutchess Country and Israel, nor is Vassar at all involved in the collaboration. This misunderstanding from both parties came from a misreading of the source article that they had cited. Specifically, the last paragraph of this article states the following: “Deputy Consul General Nitzan has been in the United States for six months, working out of Israeli Consulate in Manhattan. This marked his first trip to Dutchess County but he had heard of Poughkeepsie before arriving stateside. His introduction to the area came when he met with the president of Vassar College when she traveled to Israel last year” (Mid-Hudson News, “Dutchess officials further trade relationships with Israel,” 03.23.2019).
Given how the majority of this article describes the trade partnership in detail, President Bradley’s conversation with Deputy Consul General Israel Nitzan became falsely correlated with the introduction of the trade partnership. Neither SJP nor Horowitz were the only ones to misinterpret this news. On April 12, Poughkeepsie resident Fred Nagel submitted a letter to the editor of the Mid-Hudson News that criticized President Bradley, stating, “The president of Vassar College seems to have discussed plans with the Deputy Consul General during her trip to Israel.” However, we have received confirmation from the author of the Mid-Hudson News article Todd Bender that President Bradley was not involved in any way with the partnership. In a recent email correspondence, he stated, “The comment did not indicate any type of trade-relations conversation between Bradley and Nitzan. Had that been mentioned, it would have made it into my article.” Furthermore, a phone call with Vice President of Dutchess Tourism Melaine Rottkamp has confirmed that President Bradley was not involved in the trip to Israel that Dutchess Tourism was a part of. As a result, we have officially issued corrections to both SJP and Horowitz’s articles, available online at The Miscellany News website.
[Correction (Friday, Apr. 19): The statement formerly included in this article that Melaine Rottkamp confirmed that Vassar has not been and is not involved in the trade partnership between Dutchess County and Israel is incorrect. This statement has been replaced with the correct sentence, wherein Melaine Rottkamp confirmed that President Bradley was not on same trip that Dutchess Tourism attended.]