May 26, 2019 | 78° F

Sixty profs. protest Israeli speakers

Over 60 professors signed a statement regarding the Israel Inspires event speakers as having right wing views and perhaps presenting only one political view regarding Israel.

In the statement, Uri Eisenzweig, a University French and comparative literature professor, said the faculty who signed wished to "express grave concern [that] contributes to our growing unease to the role [Rutgers] Hillel has recently come to play in the promotion of the extreme right on campus."0

"Hillel should not support any particular view when dealing with Israel," he said.

In a phone interview yesterday, Eisenzweig said he is Israeli and a Zionist, but the main reason for the initiation of the statement is because he feels Hillel almost exclusively promoted right-wing Israeli policy.

Hillel, however, has a different point of view.

Andrew Getraer, Hillel's executive director, said the organization has no right-wing agenda, and in the past, it has hosted events with groups like Seeds of Peace, which brings together Arab and Israeli young adults.

The only thing Hillel does advocate, Getraer said, is "the right of Israel to exist in safe and secure boundaries."

He said students designed the list of speakers. One speaker David Harris is the executive director of the American Jewish Committee. The committee, Getraer said, advances democracy and pluralism. Other speakers include Myron Aronoff, a University political science, Jewish studies and anthropology professor, who Getraer said, does not follow a right-wing ideology and June Walker, president of Hadassah, the largest Jewish organization in America, which supports hospitals in Israel and hospitals and schools worldwide.

The weekend-long event will also hold breakout sessions for individuals to learn more about Israel. They will not just learn about politics but about the environment and the culture of the state and organizations such as the Coalition on Environment and Jewish Life as well.

Getraer also questioned why there is a faculty statement concerning the Israel Inspires event and no statement from the faculty regarding other groups and organizations that hold other events.

But University history Professor Norman Markowitz, who signed the statement, said those who disagree with the list of speakers should be heard. He posed this analogy: "If there was an America Inspires event in France, and only right-wing speakers attended the event, then people might get an idea that all Americans are conservatives," which Markowitz said is simply not true. He said there are many American Jews who support Israel but may not support right-wing views.

Carmen Cusido

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