I challenge any or all of the 39 Vassar faculty who signed a letter defending the academic boycott of Israel to debate me on May 5.
Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY, has been the focus of an intense debate over the academic boycott of Israel, and a campus climate of anti-Israel hostility. See my prior posts:
- Anti-Israel academic boycott turns ugly at Vassar
- The Anti-Israel Cultural Revolution at Vassar
- Anti-Israel “Climate of fear” at Vassar
The accuracy of my reporting was confirmed by two Vassar professors who were the subject of anti-Israel attacks:
An important piece of the puzzle was a letter defending the academic boycott of Israel signed by 39 Vassar Professors. That faculty letter led to charges by Fairness to Israel, a group of alumni, parents and others concerned at to what was happening at Vassar, that
“faculty and student supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel have hijacked campus discourse and imposed an anti-intellectual atmosphere in which professors are ranting activists, not scholars, and students who disagree with the prevailing “progressive” ideology are intimidated into a deafening silence.”
The head of Jewish Studies at Vassar, who signed the pro-boycott letter, disputed the Fairness to Israel charges, to which Fairness to Israel didn’t back down. Vassar’s President has weighed in on the situation with a vague statement in support of civil discourse. The NY Daily News had a scathing editorial.
Based on what I observed as an outsider, there didn’t seem to be any pro-Israel faculty voice on campus willing to take on publicly the BDS movement and supportive faculty. Even Hillel was silent, since it’s now an “Open Hillel” including anti-Zionists.
So I began to look for someone to sponsor a talk and/or debate by me at Vassar to present the pro-Israel side. The Vassar Moderate Independent Conservative Alliance (MICA) agreed to do so, as a debate challenge from me to the 39 Vassar professors who signed the pro-boycott letter.
The event will take place on May 5 starting at 7 p.m. and is open to the public.
Any or all of the 39 Vassar faculty members are welcome to debate me. All I insist on is equal time cumulatively. If none of the 39 Vassar faculty agree to debate, I will give a lecture on why the academic boycott of Israel should be opposed.
There will be a tendency to want someone to “win” the debate. That’s not the point. By simply hosting this challenge and debate, the Vassar campus wins.