An anti-Israel boycott backed by Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), which led to the cancellation of a California college study abroad program at Israel University of Haifa in Israel – was vetoed by the president of the West Coast academic institution.
Pitzer College Anthropology and History professor Daniel Segal – an ardent supporter of the Palestinians – announced via social media the Muslim representative’s latest controversial anti-Israel move.
“@RashidaTlaib is in with #SuspendPitzerHaifa. @pitzercollege,” Segal tweeted Wednesday.
The next day on Thursday night, Pitzer College President Melvin Oliver vetoed an overwhelming 67–28 vote by the Pitzer College Council in support of the resolution, which ultimately suspended the college’s study abroad program.
“I fully respect the actions of the College Council, thus I do not make this decision lightly,” Oliver said in a Pitzer College press release. “By singling out Israel, the recommendation itself is prejudiced. We do not solve one injustice by committing another. If implemented, the recommendation would unnecessarily alienate a large cross section of the College’s constituencies. The reputational harm to the college would be irreparable, and as president of this institution, I cannot permit that to happen.”
Muslim representative backing anti-Semitic campus movement
Tlaib’s anti-Israel positioning against the Israel study abroad program was quickly publicized via another Twitter post – this one send out by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.
“U.S. Congress member @RashidaTlaib supports faculty at @pitzercollege who voted overwhelmingly to suspend a study abroad program with Haifa University over Israel’s discriminatory policies against Palestinians,” the pro-Palestinian campaign group tweeted. “The College Council must uphold the faculty vote. #SuspendPitzerHaifa.”
A photo of Tlaib holding a pamphlet featuring propaganda material championing the anti-Israel boycott accompanied each tweet.
Progressive campus politics pushed by school staff urged students to side with the Muslim aggressors in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – in an effort designed to push the Jewish State to give up its God-ordained possession of the Holy Land.
“Leftwing faculty members voted to abandon the study abroad program in November, unless Israel met demands to Israel regarding Palestinians and the Pitzer College Council – made up of faculty and students – [and members were] set to vote on the matter on Thursday,” Breitbart News reported. “They voted for this, despite the fact that the University of Haifa has the largest population of Arab students in Israel – 41.1 percent, ahead of Technion Israel Institute of Technology at 22.2 percent – according to a Haaretz report last year.”
In December – a month after being elected to the House – Tlaib touted her anti-Israel political stance in an interview, when she spoke about her fervent support of the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement. Her proposed plans to support the Palestinians and oppose Israel in the conflict was clearly communicated in her political agenda.
“Rashida Tlaib, a Democratic representative-elect from Michigan, belongs to a cohort of incoming members of Congress who’ve vowed to upend the status quo – even on third-rail issues in Washington like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” Breitbart’s Penny Starr noted. “To that end, Tlaib is planning to lead a congressional delegation to the Israeli-occupied West Bank ... Her planned trip is a swift rebuke of a decades-old tradition for newly elected members: a junket to Israel sponsored by the education arm of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, known as AIPAC – the powerful pro-Israel lobby group.”
Besides talking about her planned trip to Israel to promote the Palestinian cause, the Muslim representative pushed the anti-Semitic BDS movement that has swept American university campuses for years – essentially pushing the narrative that the Palestinians are being oppressed by Israel in a so-called “apartheid state.”
“I personally support the BDS movement,” Tlaib told the Intercept in her December interview. “[Economic boycotts are a way to bring attention to] issues like the racism and the international human rights violations by Israel right now.”
Segal was the originator of the idea to end the study abroad Israel program back in November.
“This shows a failure to appreciate that Palestinians are our fellow human beings, and a contempt for the college’s democratic process,” he expressed to the student-run newspaper, The Student Life, at the time. “Because of the divisiveness of the president’s actions and his betrayal of the college’s core values, the president is doing grievous damage to the college I love and have served for 32 years.”
The case for Israel
But Oliver challenged the anti-Semitic student movement – led by Muslims and other pro-Palestinian activists – at every corner, as he told the student newspaper back in November that it would be a “major blow” to the school, which currently has a number of other study-abroad programs designed to benefit students.
“Why would we not suspend our program with China … or take our longest standing program in Nepal, where the Pitzer in Nepal program has been run for over 40 years?” Oliver posed to The Student Life at the time. “During that time, they have had a bloody civil war that killed 19,000 people. Why Israel?”
In addition, the editorial board of the student-run Claremont Independent expressed its opposition to the push to cancel the study abroad Israel program.
“In a twist of irony, this vote is also counterproductive to even the efforts of pro-Palestinian student activists; it prevents students from seeing the current conflict in-person and forces a reliance on second-hand sources,” the Claremont Independent editorial board argued earlier this week. “Is not actually attending the place where the conflict is occurring, -- seeing and experiencing it yourself – the purest way to see the conflict unfiltered? This push to ban the study abroad at Haifa is nothing but the absolutely worst form of virtue signaling.”
University of Haifa President Ron Robin also targeted the pro-Palestinian activists’ problematic campaign.
“We have Jews and Arab faculty and students coexisting, and this seems to contradict the narrative about Israel as an apartheid state,” Robin pointed out, according to the Washington Free Beacon. “We hope we’re a crystal ball of what Israeli society could look like.”
The leader of a pro-Israel group on campus also criticized the left-leaning, anti-Semitic campus politics reigning on campus – a mindset that ultimately led to the termination of the Israel study abroad program.
“The director of campus affairs for the American Jewish Committee also criticized the move, saying that faculty was letting ‘outside political influences’ impact the academic life of students,” the Beacon’s Brent Scher informed.
It was contended that playing politics and keeping students from being exposed to both sides of the conflict is counter-productive and anti-education.
“At issue in the Pitzer vote is not only the study abroad program in Haifa, but the idea that a student should not have his or her academic pursuits hindered by outside political influences,” Zev Hurwitz said, according to the Beacon. “True academic freedom allows the free exchange of ideas – regardless of circumstances in the host country.”