Tuesday, March 04, 2008

More Anti-Israel Bias at Columbia

Officials at a Columbia University department established in 2005 to balance an anti-Israel tilt in Middle Eastern scholarship at the university have appointed as its director a professor who signed a letter labeling Israeli policy "the occupation and oppression of another people."

Supporters of Israel on campus say they are disappointed about the appointment of Yinon Cohen as the new director of the Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies, in light of his previous statements.

A Columbia business professor and co-chair of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, Awi Federgruen, called the administration's decision "deeply, deeply troubling."

"It's clear that he represents a very extreme segment of the political spectrum in Israel," Mr. Federgruen said. "I also think he is in fact distorting in a major way the history of the region and the history of the country."

In May 2002, Mr. Cohen, then a professor at Tel Aviv University, endorsed a statement that supported Israelis who refused to serve in military operations in Gaza and the West Bank during a violent uprising by Palestinian Arabs. The letter was signed by 358 faculty members at 21 Israeli colleges and universities.

"Such service too often involves carrying out orders that have no place in a democratic society founded on the sanctity of human life," the letter read. "For thirty five years an entire people, some three and a half million in number, have been held without basic human rights. The occupation and oppression of another people have brought the State of Israel to where it is today."

Read also "New Challenge to Columbia and to Chomsky, Finkelstein, and Cockburn" By Alan M. Dershowitz-FrontPageMagazine.com | 7/13/2005


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