Colleges all across America have groups like Students for Justice in Palestine and the Jewish Voice for Peace, which support boycotting Israel. Out of all 50 American states, you would think that administrators in California, at least, would be on board with anti-Israel activism. And yet, all ten chancellors of the University of California system recently put out a statement condemning the boycott of Israel, according to Campus Reform.
Well, the ten chancellors of the University of California system co-authored a letter last week and, unlike what you might expect from such a blue state, they are all heavily opposed to the BDS movement. They said “We believe a boycott of this sort poses a direct and serious threat to the academic freedom of our students and faculty, as well as the unfettered exchange of ideas and perspectives on our campuses, including debate and discourse regarding conflicts in the Middle East.”
See, here’s the thing: whether you support or oppose Israel, it behooves you to let students experience Israel. That way they can back up their arguments with actual fact instead of the latest, media-orchestrated smear campaign. If you ban studying abroad in Israel, you make people wonder what exactly it is you’re trying to hide — Streisand Effect, folks.
It does seem to be the trend that students and faculty push divestment initiatives, but the big wheels, you know, the ones who actually control the money, aren’t quite on board. New York University’s student senate wanted to divest from General Electric and other companies that do business with Israel, but the administration spiked that proposal — their Trustees apparently think that “the endowment should not be used for making political statements.”
Similarly, after a University of Michigan professor first agreed to write a recommendation for one of his students to study abroad and then later reneged on that agreement when he found out she wanted to go to Israel, UMich denied him a merit raise and barred him from taking a sabbatical for two years.
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