Monday, February 16, 2009

Shame on Hampshire College

Hampshire College, located in Amherst, Massachusetts, has fallen victim to the latest round of Israel bashing by a small group of pro-Palestinian anti-Semites who succeeded in having the college divest from companies doing business with Israel.

The college’s decision was made following a petition drive by the virulently anti-Zionist (read anti-Semitic) college group Students for Justice in Palestine. They are proud supporters of Hamas and critical of the Oslo Accords and the Palestinian Authority. In my book, they are not nice kids.

Opposition by American colleges and universities to divestment campaigns that single out one country is widespread. Most have seen through the fog of divestment campaigns and realize that there are other countries with human rights abuses far worse than those alleged against Israel but that Israel is singled-out for attention. Thus, the success of the SJP at Hampshire College has taken many by surprise.

Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz addressed the issue in his blog Double Standard Watch at on February 15, 2009. He noted,
“Several months ago, a rabidly anti-Israel group on the Hampshire College campus began a campaign to try to get the college to divest from six companies that they claim helped ‘"the Israeli occupation of Palestine."’ Those who came up with this formulation regard all of Israel, including Tel Aviv, Haifa and Ben Gurion Airport, as ‘"occupied Palestine."’ In other words, their goal is to end the existence of Israel. This divestment effort is part of an international campaign against Israel.”

Despite college denials to the contrary, Dershowitz writes, “the student group, supported by many faculty members, claimed total victory, issuing a press release that boasted that Hampshire has become the first college in the United States to divest from Israel.”

Should we write this off to over-exuberant college students? I think not. Experience with anti-Israel campaigns by other pro-Palestinian groups at colleges around the country shows that the anti-Palestinian college crowd is well placed with backing from the anti-Israel camp. There is no interest there for Israelis to live side by side in peace with a Palestinian state. Their goal is to destroy Israel and the Jews who live there.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth,

I'd just like to point out that Hampshire Students for Justice in Palestine is led by many Jewish and Israeli students, and that many Jewish and Israeli students at the school organized in support of SJP and in support of divestment.

We've had several open forums over the years to address student concerns in general, and concerns about anti-Semitism and U.S. Jewish identity in particular.

In fact, just this week we are having a hosted discussion by our resident Rabbi addressing the feelings and concerns of Jewish students. We are also having a day-long teach-in/workshop on the importance of fighting anti-Semitism, while at the same time recognizing the equal importance of ending the occupation of Palestine by the state of Israel and the U.S. government.

Some of these Jewish American and Israeli voices can be found on the video blog ("Voices of Hampshire, Voices of Divestment") here ::

Peace :: a Hampshire Student