Anti-Israel sentiment mixed with age-old anti-Semitism has reached a fever pitch at Vassar College. It is time that faculty and administrators take a stand against this toxic brew on behalf of academic values”.
It’s time to take a stand. Vassar College, a private liberal-arts college in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., has experienced far more than its fair share of anti-Israel activity. A recent example, a talk on February 3rd by Jasbir Puar entitled “Inhumanist Biopolitics: How Palestine Matters,” was sponsored by eight Vassar departments and programs, including Jewish Studies and American Studies. Yet, Ms. Puar viciously attacked Israel throughout her speech and agreed that Israel treatment of Palestinians amounted to genocide, although she objected that the term was too “tethered to the Holocaust.” Despite her hateful speech, members of the Jewish Studies Program stayed silent throughout the program. This is testament to the anti-Israel dogma that pervades the college campus. Characterizing Israel and Zionism in ways that anti-Semites formerly characterized Jews has become common among anti-Israeli activists on college campuses. In fact, it exposes the real motivations of those who profess to criticize only the Israeli government’s policies with regard to the West Bank, not Jews themselves. “These events are transforming a prestigious institution into a parody ripe for ridicule—a place embarrassing to prominent alumni and worrisome for prospective Jewish students.” We respectfully call upon Vassar President Catharine Bond Hill to speak out against the face of such venom.