Making a list…

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dfgdWe got distracted in all the weather-related excitement, but if you did read the Times this morning, you may have noticed a full page ad headed by none other than Lee Bollinger–he became the poster child for academic freedom after protesting a British teachers union boycott of Israeli universities a few months ago, and now the American Jewish Committee is gathering signatures in support of his statement. The ad ran with 286 schools, including some heavy hitters: almost all the City Universities of New York, most major state universities, Princeton, Cornell, Georgetown, the University of Pennsylvania, and dozens of other schools nestled comfortably in U.S. News‘ top 100. 

The interesting part, then, is who didn’t make the list. Harvard, Yale, the University of Chicago, Amherst, Williams, Duke, Stanford, and Brown were nowhere to be found. Eighteen other schools–including NYU, Temple University, George Washington, and Johns Hopkins–signed on since the ad ran today, so presumably the silent ones have had a chance to reconsider. And in any case, the story broke at the end of May, which means that the AJC has been scuttling around since then gathering signatures.

What gives?


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  1. perhaps

    they wanted to make a name for them by issuing their own statements.

    for example the president of notre dame did this rather than " sign on to a similar statement written by Lee C. Bollinger, president of Columbia University."

    so i'm sure some of them boycotted but not by backing Lee, but rather by carving out a place for themselves.

  2. haha

    great word choice, prezbo - intellectually shoddy isn't really something you see everyday.

  3. why do

    Israeli supporters and Israeli bashers insist on drawing us into their millenna-old feud, when the truth is, most of us don't like either side and wish they'd just leave each other alone

    • The Rabbi

      Vanity of vanities, all is vanity. I believe that answers your question.

    • Anonymous

      i don't want to be a jerk... but what millennia old dispute? israel has been around since '48, and the WZO only started in the late 1800s.
      Now on to the matter itself... Lord knows that not all of Israel's actions are ones i agree with, but i don't see what Britain's academic boycott does to help any. if anything, it's the israeli academia who have some of the most progressive political views in the nation.

    • Julia

      Academic freedom is the concern of every educational institution regardless of opinions on the Arab-Israeli conflict. It would be the same if the boycott was against Chinese scholars or any other country.

      • there are

        a large number of academic freedom issues which receive no comment from Lee Bollinger. There are the stories like this. There are the stories like

        • trying again...

          There are a large number of academic freedom issues which receive no comment from Lee Bollinger. There are the stories like this:
          There are the stories like this:
          There are the stories like this:
          And those are all actually in the U.S., or the list would be a lot longer. Academic freedom in Palestine is certainly more damaged by occupation than academic freedom in Israel could possibly be by a British boycott.

          I haven't noticed any public statements from Bollinger on any of those issues, let alone New York Times full-page ads. His driving concern, and that of the other suddenly outspoken University predisents, whatever the rhetoric, is not civil liberties. It is Israel.

          • Nah

            There are plenty of academic freedom issues that Prezbo doesn't address, yes, but I don't think he's let any large-scale cross-border problems go without comment. Debatable persecution of one individual or a relatively small group of people, which is what your examples describe, doesn't really justify comment on the same scale as an absurd boycott against an entire country.

          • PURPLE  

            The entire Palestinian educational system is systematically neglected and abused by the Israeli government. It's not just universities (and it's certainly not just "one individual or relatively small group of people"), it's every aspect of the educational system. Any argument you could make against the British ban limiting academic freedom also applies to the very injustice it is seeking to protest.

          • haven't

            you seen Palestinian "educational" videos? It's Mickey Mouse lookalikes teaching children that it's good to martyr themselves, and die for the sake of killing Jews.


          • American Child

            Did you ever watch GI Joe? Do you have any clue what that shit is really about?

          • hahahah

            we have a conspiracy theorist!! please, i dare you to show me an example of 1. an american children's cartoon publicly broadcasted which promotes suicide bombing 2. an israeli equivalent.

            hint: you won't find one! stop making excuses for terrorists, idiot. you don't support palestinians--you just like the idea of them fighting "The Man" or whatever the hell it is that leftists salivate over.

          • oh my that is

            such an impressive line of logic you've got there! faced with the reality that the palestinian government may, in fact, be full of terrorists and assholes, you turn to GI Joe as evidence that Americans are evil (which had nothing to do with anything)? well done, sir! SO convincing! i forgot all about those GI Joe episodes where American soldiers grabbed toddlers off the street to tell them about the virtues of suicide bombing!

  4. daniella

    I don't know what Harvard's excuse is, but U Chicago specifically stipulates that they will never express a school-sanctioned opinion when it comes to any political/social issue. That's why they refused to divest from the Sudan last semester.

  5. Yes!

    This is another in a series of reasons to hate Brown.

  6. weird  

    this is just weird. can we all ignore it please?

  7. taking bets  

    how many more comments before this plunges into some hackneyed debate between the pros and the antis?

  8. okay

    I just want to say this pre-emptively, because I smell a Ward Churchill reference coming up. I just wanted to say in advance that Ward Churchill was not fired because of his "little eichmanns" statement, but for his plagiarism and lying about being of Native American descent. Glad that's out of the way now. Carry on.

  9. thanks bwog!  

    we can now see that comments 10, 15, 17, 20, 21, and 22 are from the same person!

  10. prezbo's motives

    i belive it is perfectly clear to all in the know that prezbo made this strong academic freedom statement specifically as it relates to jewish interests because he is worried that zvi is taking all columbia's jewish donors to tel aviv with him.

    smartest move of his career to date.

  11. Julia

    Britain never brings up the Balfour Declaration, Churchill's 1922 White Paper, or the British Mandate of Palestine - or, in fact, any of its own meddling in the Middle East - when it comes to matters like this, have you noticed?

    /Imperialism is crap
    //Two-state solution, guv'nor
    ///Innit though

  12. US News

    is not qualified to rank anything.

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