Middle East studies in the News
Vassar's Alums Step Up
by Jonathan Marks
Vassar College may be the most anti-Israel school in the country.
It is one of the only colleges whose faculty has come out in large numbers in favor of the American Studies Association boycott of Israel. A couple of years ago, it was the scene of an open forum in which a planned student trip to Israel was denounced so vehemently that even the ardently anti-Israeli Philip Weiss found it "truly unsettling." That incident led the trip organizers, whose left wing credentials are impeccable, to write of a "climate of fear" that had settled over Vassar and made serious discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict impossible. Vassar's Students for Justice in Palestine found itself in the news for tweeting anti-Semitic material, including a Nazi propaganda poster. A recent alum, a "proud left winger," wrote in response to that incident that anti-Semitism was not uncommon at Vassar, in spite of its large Jewish population.
The ensuing bad publicity has led to at least one feeble attempt at balance, where balance consists in weighing the opinion that Israel, though awful, should be permitted to exist, against the opinion that it is too awful to merit existence. But generally speaking, the anti-Israel train has rolled on there. Students have now turned their attention to trying to pass a resolution endorsing the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement.Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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