Discipline for University of Michigan prof who wouldn’t write a letter for a student to study in Israel; but another UM teacher refuses to write a similar letter on anti-Israel grounds

UPDATE: According to the Jewish Journal, UM President Mark Schlissel has apologized to UM’s Jewish students, singling out both Cheney-Lippold and Peterson and saying the University would do everything it could to help the two “deplatformed” students finish their applications to study in Israel.  The Journal adds this:

Refusing to write letters of recommendation for political reasons violates university policy, Schlissel stated.

“U-M strongly opposes a boycott of Israeli academic institutions, and no school, college, department or unit at our university endorses such a boycott,” Schlissel said. “Our view is that educators at a public university have an obligation to support students’ academic growth, and we expect anyone with instructional responsibilities to honor this fundamental university value. Our students deserve to be afforded all of the opportunities they have earned through their academic merit.”

Schlissel added that the university has established “a panel of distinguished faculty members to examine the intersection between political thought/ideology and faculty members’ responsibilities to students.”

In these days when many academic institutions either overlook the demonization of Israel or let their Jewish students twist in the wind, this is very refreshing, and I’m proud of UM. (Note: I’d be just as proud if a University did the same thing for its Palestinian students—or any students whose careers or goals are impeded by the ideological bent of the faculty.

h/t: Orli

_______________

Well cut off my legs and call me Shorty! (Is that ableist?) You may remember the fracas about John Cheney-Lippold, a University of Michigan (UM) cultural studies professor who refused to write a letter for a student, Abigail Ingber, who wanted to study in Tel Aviv for a semester. (See my four posts on it here.) At the time I wrote letters to the President of the University, to Cheney-Lippold’s chair, and to all the UM Regents, accusing Cheney-Lippold of dereliction of professional duty despite his clear freedom of speech to do and say what he wanted when not engaged in mentoring students professionally. You can see my letter here, which says this among other things:

So far the response of the University of Michigan to this clear dereliction of duty has been tepid. I would hope that you could impress on your faculty their need to fulfill their academic duties regardless of their personal beliefs, and tell them that refusing to help students advance their careers because that help violates one’s dislike of Israel—or any other country—is not a demonstration of academic freedom, but a violation of one’s contract with the University.

I would have done exactly the same thing had a Jewish professor refused to write a letter supporting a student who wanted to study in Palestine.

I got only tepid responses from one Regent and Cheney-Lippold’s chair that told me what I already knew (and put in my own letter): no UM department, or the University itself, takes a stand against Israel or in favor of BDS.  I figured that UM wouldn’t do anything  further. (I didn’t favor Cheney-Lippold’s firing or anything, but did think he should have been given a talking-to.)

Well, Cheney-Lippold has been given more than a trip to the University Woodshed. As the Detroit News and Washington Post report (click on first and second screenshots respectively), the professor has been disciplined, and not lightly, either.  But in the meantime, as the Post reported, a second UM teacher—in this case a graduate student instructor (GSI)—withdrew her own offer to write a letter of recommendation for a student after the GSI learned that her student wanted to study for a semester abroad at Tel Aviv University. The GSI, one Lucy Peterson, rescinded her offer when she learned that the semester was in Israel, as Peterson, like Cheney-Lippold, was “pledged. . . to a boycott of Israeli institutions as a way of showing solidarity with Palestine.”

First, what happened to Cheney-Lippold? Read the article:

Excerpts (I’ve put the Dean’s reponse in bold):

John Cheney-Lippold, a tenured American and digital studies associate professor, will not get a merit raise during the 2018-19 academic year and can’t go on his upcoming sabbatical in January or another sabbatical for two years, according to the letter signed by Elizabeth Cole, the interim dean of UM’s College of Literature, Science and the Arts.

He could also face additional discipline, up to and including dismissal, if a similar incident occurs in the future, Cole wrote in the letter, dated Oct. 3.

“Your conduct has fallen far short of the University’s and College’s expectations for how LSA faculty interact with and treat students,” according to Cole’s letter, which The News obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. “This letter is a strong warning that your behavior in this circumstance was inappropriate and will not be tolerated.”

“In the future, a student’s merit should be your primary guide for determining how and whether to provide a letter of recommendation. You are not to use student requests for recommendations as a platform to discuss your personal political beliefs.”

. . . Besides outlining disciplinary action, Cole’s letter chided Cheney-Lippold for writing two letters previously for students who wanted to study in Israel because he didn’t have tenure. Cole also criticized him for using class time in two courses he is teaching to discuss his views on the Palestinian-led BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanctions) movement and his decision to not write a letter for Ingber.

“You did not honor your responsibility to teach your students the material on your syllabus related to your field of expertise,” Cole wrote. “Although this material was discussed in only one session, an entire class period represents a significant portion of your total contact hours with students over the semester. This use of class time to discuss your persona] opinions was a misuse of your role as a faculty member.”

The letter also said Cheney-Lippold violated Ingber’s privacy in some statements he made to media outlets and “cast a national spotlight” on her.

“Your actions throughout this entire series of events has harmed your students and has caused significant disruption to the Department of American Culture. the College, and the University as a whole,” Cole wrote.

The interim dean also said Cheney-Lippold wrongly portrayed the Israeli boycott as sanctioned by UM. “In fact, the University formally and publicly opposes a boycott of Israeli academic institutions,” Cole wrote.

Cheney-Lippold’s current salary was unavailable, said UM spokesman Rick Fitzgerald. But before he received tenure, he was an assistant professor earning $77,797. UM does not give cost-of-living raises, only merit raises, Fitzgerald said.

Cheney-Lippold was scheduled to go on a sabbatical for one semester starting in January.

I’d say that that is pretty stiff punishment; in fact, it is stiffer than I would have imagined. Canceling a sabbatical is pretty severe stuff, as you lose all that free time you could have devoted to research. But the discipline is a UM matter, and certainly what Dean Cole wrote Cheney-Lippold was fine—in line with my view that there are professional obligations of faculty that transcend personal ideology. Good for the University of Michigan!

In further news, the father of Abigail Ingber, the student affected, spoke up at last, saying that UM should have fired Cheney-Lippold, calling his actions anti-Semitic and adding this:

“The way he publicized everything and put his own personal beliefs ahead of the academic interests of the students and caused shame to the university and our daughter, that was sufficient basis for him to be terminated,” [Mark] Ingber said.

He also said he thought that Cheney-Lippold waited until his tenure became effective  on Sept. 1 to deny his daughter a letter of recommendation, calling it “manipulative” so that he would be immune to discipline.

Cheney-Lippold is consulting with lawyers, and an advising lawyer (from Palestine Legal) said that Cheney-Lippold’s rights had been violated by “compelling” him to favor a program “that is fundamentally discriminatory and violates human rights.” Good luck, Dr. Cheney-Lippold, and congratulations for getting in bed with the anti-Semites.

But in the meantime, have a gander at this:

As the Post reports, it’s very similar to the Cheney-Lippold incident.

Jake Secker is a 20-year-old junior from Great Neck, N.Y., majoring in economics and minoring in entrepreneurship. His father is Israeli, and Secker has made five trips to the nation he considers his “home away from home.” But since he was a young boy, he has longed for something more — actually living in Israel for a stretch of time. This winter, a semester abroad at Tel Aviv University could fulfill that aspiration, he hopes.

As part of the application process, Secker sought a reference from a teaching assistant, known at Michigan as a graduate student instructor, or GSI.

“Hi Lucy!” he wrote Monday, Oct. 1, to his GSI from an introduction to political theory course from last year. “Hope you had a great summer!”

“I am in need of an academic letter of recommendation to study abroad next semester and if you can do that for me that would be greatly appreciated,” he explained.

She replied the same day. “Totally! I’d be delighted,” wrote a teaching assistant he identified as Lucy Peterson who, according to her Facebook profile, is a political theory student at the university.

According to an email provided by Secker, Peterson inquired: “What program are you applying to? Send along whatever information I need, and I’ll let you know when I submit it.”

Secker thanked her and told her he was applying to study at Tel Aviv University. She then replied to say that she couldn’t provide the reference, Secker said.

Here’s Lucy Peterson’s response as reproduced by the Post:

Again, this doesn’t reflect any problem with Jake Secker’s record, for Peterson was willing to write recommendations for other programs (as was Cheney-Lippold for the other student). This is purely about hatred of Israel, and an instructor’s unwillingness to do her job mentoring because she wants to “show solidarity with Palestine.” It’s a second case of abnegation of duty in favor of politics, and it’s wrong.

The Post article adds that Secker contacted Hillel and then his complaint went to the UM Board of Regents and the President of UM. The associate dean for social sciences also wrote a kindly and supportive letter to Secker, offering to meet with him. The dean then offered to write the letter of recommendation herself (that would be a weighty letter!) and said that there would be “some sort of change.” Secker’s father also contacted the UM President and said that there should be disciplinary action against Peterson.

I’ll probably write a letter or two supporting Secker, without recommending that Peterson be disciplined or fired. After all, she’s a graduate instructor, which probably means a graduate student who is doing teaching, and that has to be taken into consideration. But Peterson also needs a trip to the woodshed.

 

48 Comments

  1. Posted October 10, 2018 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Height shaming! Not sure if ablesit. Now I will read past the first two sentences. 😊

  2. Diana MacPherson
    Posted October 10, 2018 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Wow that is quite the punishment. I guess U of A found it embarrassing as no institution enjoys that sort of attention.

    I hope the TA is straightened out. I really find this trend terrible.

    And….why do people let their phone battery get so low? It’s hard on the battery to run it down so low, charge more often! 😉

    • Neil Wolfe
      Posted October 10, 2018 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who sees nothing in most screenshots but a battery in need of charging.

  3. Malgorzata
    Posted October 10, 2018 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    sub

  4. Posted October 10, 2018 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    They stated he violated his contract which was the appropriate response. My prior questions had to do with what basis the university would use discipline the professor. It would have to be for a violation of law or contract violation.
    Agree that he should not have been fired.

    As why any one eould boycott Israeli institutions, especially a professor at a state university, that is very difficult to understand. It shows how far removed from reality people in our society have become. We have become tribal and separated ourselves into tribes and groups with no empathy or attempt at cooperation or understanding. This is unfortunately particularly true in college campuses.

    I have gotten slapped down on this blog for asking for civility towards republicans and for calling people out for using offensive language toward various groups in our society.

    • eric
      Posted October 10, 2018 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      It’s not that hard to understand; they think Israel is acting in a terrible manner and seek to us their own economic pressure to get them to change. They compare it to South Africa under apartheid, and the world responded to that country’s policies through almost this exact method; boycotts.

      Most people outside that group don’t see the comparison as valid, which makes it hard to understand why boycotting is justified in this case. But there’s nothing difficult to understand about the strategy, since western countries – including liberal governments and conservative ones – have used it before.

    • Posted October 10, 2018 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      As to the why, I think they boycott as a form of signaling. Your (correct) observations about tribalism explain why. As BJ noted, this guy will now be a hero in some quarters, and there might even be a go fund me.

    • Posted October 10, 2018 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      I am sorry that you had that experience here. I do not know the particulars. Naturally there is a strong skew here toward the left and toward democrats, and responses over those with other views can look like one is being ganged up on.

  5. BJ
    Posted October 10, 2018 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    You know, I didn’t favor any punishment either at first, but UM’s statement brings up a lot of issues that simply didn’t occur to me, and some other information of which I was not aware.

    “Cole also criticized him for using class time in two courses he is teaching to discuss his views on the Palestinian-led BDS.”

    “You are not to use student requests for recommendations as a platform to discuss your personal political beliefs.”

    “Cole also criticized him for using class time in two courses he is teaching to discuss his views on the Palestinian-led BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanctions)…”

    “The letter also said Cheney-Lippold violated Ingber’s privacy in some statements he made to media outlets and ‘cast a national spotlight’ on her.”

    That last one is particularly nasty. This professor used a student and made them stand under the public spotlight so he could spout off about the evils of Israel. And he’s using class time to propagandize students so he can spread his ideology. I will note that the latter was not at all uncommon when I was in college, as I had many teachers who would suddenly talk about Israel, BDS, “Apartheid state,” etc. during unrelated classes, and that’s how I actually came to believe so many of the conspiracy theories they espoused. I was a young, impressionable college student who looked up to my teachers, and they regularly used class time to brainwash myself and others about the evil of Israel.

    • BJ
      Posted October 10, 2018 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      So, after reading that, I think a harsh punishment was in order. But what’s next? I have a feeling that now tons of professors at UM — perhaps across the US (and even the UK) — will do the same thing “solidarity” with Cheney-Lippold, and that there may be student protests over all of this (we know exactly which side the protests would support). There’s even a good chance that Cheney-Lippold and others like him will get celebrity and money out of this.

  6. Posted October 10, 2018 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    I hope the brass at the University of Michigan made it clear to all instructors and Department Chairs, not just Cheney-Lippold, that this type of conduct is not acceptable. The letter made it quite clear to Cheney-Lippold that using his position to punish students for not adhering to his politics will not be tolerated. Good! Perhaps no further punishment is needed unless he does it again. In large part I view this as an institutional failure, widespread in the academic world, that lets faculty think that “academic freedom” permits this sort of thing.

  7. phil brown
    Posted October 10, 2018 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    “This is purely about hatred of Israel”

    This seems a bit strong, as surely one could support a boycott on Israel not from hatred of Israel, but as a protest against current Israeli policy with regard to Palestinians.

    Just as those who supported a boycott against apartheid era South Africa were not anti-South African, just against the policies towards non-whites.

    (I’m not myself claiming that the current situation in Israel is similar to the situation in Apartheid era South Africa.)

    • mikeyc
      Posted October 10, 2018 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      I’m glad you’re not comparing them. The BDS movement has no such compunctions, though. It’s a facile and ignorant claim and made primarily by anti-semites.

    • Malgorzata
      Posted October 10, 2018 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      Even if some memebers of BDS movement do not know that the leaders of the movement are against the existence of Israel in any borders (it’s possible to be totally ignorant of the goal of the movement one is a memeber or supporter of) they most probably can hear the chant which is present at every BDS event: “From the River to the Sea Palestine will be free”. The implication of this chant is really very simple: no Israel between Jordan River and Mediterranean sea. In other words this is a call for genocide of 6.5 million Israeli Jews. This doesn’t look like a quest for justice for anybody but like hatred of Israel. Unless they really don’t understand what they are shouting which is really quite difficult to believe.

      • Posted October 10, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

        I agree with Malgorzata, mostly, but in their defense I will say most protestors don’t understand what they are shouting, in general. It’s herd behavior.

        • BJ
          Posted October 10, 2018 at 11:47 am | Permalink

          I don’t know about that. If one knows anything at all about the situation (which they should, if they’re protesting in support of one side of it), they know that the Palestinians believe that the Israel should be completely destroyed and that killing any Jew is an enormous and godly achievement to be celebrated and compensated.

          • Posted October 10, 2018 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

            He has researched it so carefully he doesn’t know his own university’s policy.

            I invite you to speak to protesters some time. Any protest at all. Few can tell you much coherent and specific about why they are there. (Except the Westbrook baptists, who know exactly whom god hates of course.) broad answers like “I hate Trump” or “To show support” or “Hillary is a crook” count to my mind as evidence of herding.

            I recall one such protest in Ann Arbor. After spouting the to the sea line I asked a woman about what would happen to the Jews. She was at a loss for a while, and said yes that’s a problem but … then she chased after me begging me not to think her an antisemite! But she hadn’t even thought out the simplest implications of what was on her placard.

            • BJ
              Posted October 10, 2018 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

              You make a fair point. But, regarding the woman in the last paragraph, do you think she changed her mind after realizing that the consequences of what she and her fellow travelers were advocating might be genocide? Unlikely.

              Still, you’re likely right about most people not thinking much about it. Then again, I remember all of this on my college campus, and I remember the people who were into it having regular discussions about it, so it’s not like their thinking was merely slogans and “I hate Israel.” There was a lot of talk about conspiracy theories presented as facts (even from professors in classes) and about the evil of Israel and the good of Palestine.

              • Posted October 10, 2018 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

                Color me skeptical of the “talk8ng about it”. I have watched a few such discussions. No dissent, no testing of assumptions. Like you describe. Protests are mostly a social activity.

          • Mark Sturtevant
            Posted October 10, 2018 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

            My understanding of the BDS movement is that they show two faces to the public. Within Palestinian lands and elsewhere in the Middle East, they are unabashedly anti-Semitic to a degree that it is hard not to notice. But their message within Western lands where they try to come off as oh-so-reasonable but victimized people. If this understanding is true, then I can at least see how less informed Westerners may be snookered into impassioned support for the BDS movement.

          • Posted October 11, 2018 at 4:32 am | Permalink

            Calling for the end of the state of Israel is not necessarily calling for the deaths of all its citizens. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if many of the protesters have convinced themselves that Israel will be given back to Palestine to rule and everything will be sweetness and light and the Jews living there will coexist in harmony with the Muslims.

            In reality, of course, it would be something of a blood bath.

        • Posted October 10, 2018 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

          That’s a defense???

          • Posted October 10, 2018 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

            It is.
            Clueless self aggrandizing poseurs > genocidal bigots

            😉

  8. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted October 10, 2018 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    I think Lucy Peterson put her foot straight into it. She clearly states why she’s withholding her recommendation. What goes for Mr Cheney-Lippold obviously should go for Ms Peterson. (And I think that the sanctions to the former are justified).
    Look, there is quite a bit about the policies of Israel I’m not happy with -I guess most of us are-, but the comparison to the South African Apartheid regime is neither here nor there, there simply is no comparison. It is like comparing a cold to breast cancer.

  9. Posted October 10, 2018 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    I am very surprised, since UM has been very squish on regressive stuff in the past. Maybe this was too overtly anti Semitic.

    I’m with the father, but this is certainly more than just a slap on the wrist, so bravo.

  10. Posted October 10, 2018 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    So what is the purpose of punishing Cheney-Lippold at this point? Retribution? Once it is made clear to ALL instructors that this conduct will not be tolerated and punished in the future, I see no need to punish Cheney-Lippold. Does the University of Michigan really need to set an example?

    • mikeyc
      Posted October 10, 2018 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      Do they need to set an example? In a word, yes.

      • mikeyc
        Posted October 10, 2018 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

        oops. For some reason I hit post before I finished my thought.

        If they didn’t punish him the message would be to all involved; “we’re really serious about this so don’t do it again, ‘wink’ ‘wink'”.

        • Posted October 10, 2018 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

          I was in academia for forty years. A strongly worded letter from the administration is all that is needed.

          • Posted October 10, 2018 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

            Well it’s a good thing the Pope put out a strongly worded note on child abuse. That was a serious problem before he solved it so easily!

            • Posted October 11, 2018 at 4:39 am | Permalink

              The Pope isn’t the dean at a University. He’s never sent a strongly worded letter with an official warning to a specific individual (as far as I know). Child abuse is not the same as a fairly minor political act.

              In short, the analogy really doesn’t work.

              In my opinion, a letter of reprimand is a reasonable response to a first offence. The professor may not even have been aware of the University policy. This could be viewed as a mistake on his part.

        • Posted October 10, 2018 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

          I tend to agree now that I think of it. A policy without any means of enforcement, or any sanction for violating it, is a toothless policy. But I wasn’t going to tell UM what to do.

  11. Jon Gallant
    Posted October 10, 2018 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Professor Cheney-Lippold’s UM page contains the following informative summary of
    his scholarly specialties:
    “Research Area(s)
    gender
    race
    citizenship
    identity

    In short, Prof. Cheney-Lippold appears to be a standard communicant of Grievance Studies. Discriminating against Israel, and any student who wants to have anything to do with Israel, is simply an emblem of his membership in this coterie. Grotesquely, this is now identified (and loudly self-identified) as “the Left”.

    Those born before last week will remember a time when Leftists would have been outraged at any proposal for academic boycott of the USSR “in solidarity with” Finnish Karelia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia, not to mention the Chechens, Ingush, and other groups the USSR subjected to mass deportation. But back then, the idea of academic boycott would have appeared too outlandish. Today, the idea of academic boycott is applied against only a single country on the planet.

    • phil brown
      Posted October 10, 2018 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      There’s one for Turkey too:

      https://academicboycottofturkey.wordpress.com/2017/06/07/call-for-targeted-academic-boycott-of-turkey/

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted October 10, 2018 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      That is an interesting point that I had not considered. But I suppose there was never a well-funded and appealing-looking anti-Soviet union movement at the time.
      Ironically, there is sort of an anti-Russia movement in democratic circles now, while those at the top of republican power are hoping to make it go away!

    • Steve Pollard
      Posted October 10, 2018 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      This is a very good point. If you are going to disengage from Israel in academia, business, culture, whatever, then what can your policy possibly be towards China, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, (and come to that Palestine itself)?…add your own candidates. Once again, the only democratic country in the Middle East, although it has its manifest faults, which deserve calling to account, is singled out for punishment.

  12. James
    Posted October 10, 2018 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    If you’re upset about that you’re going to be absolutely livid about this:

    Lara Alqasem, a 22-year-old U.S. citizen with Palestinian grandparents, landed at Ben-Gurion Airport last Tuesday with a valid student visa. But she was barred from entering the country and ordered deported, based on suspicions she is a boycott supporter.

    Alqasem is registered to study human rights at Israel’s Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/us-student-detained-in-israel-for-alleged-boycott-support/2018/10/09/fd51c338-cba9-11e8-ad0a-0e01efba3cc1_story.html

    “If Alqasem comes forward tomorrow morning with her own voice, not with all sorts of lawyerly sophistry and statements that could be construed this way or another, and declares that she now thinks supporting BDS is illegitimate and she regrets what she did on this matter, we will consider our stance,” Israel’s strategic affairs minister Gilad Erdan said.

    https://www.newsweek.com/israel-will-release-detained-us-student-if-she-apologizes-supporting-boycott-1162162

    • mikeyc
      Posted October 10, 2018 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      That is appalling. The heavy hand of gubmint. BDS is misguided and rife with anti-semitism, but this kind of thing goes to far.

      Here’s a quote from the article; “In a letter to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Dror Abend-David said she had an “open and positive attitude toward Judaism, Jews, and the State of Israel.””

      Abend-David is her Hebrew instructor, fercryinoutloud.

    • Malgorzata
      Posted October 10, 2018 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

      I’m not appaled. Every country has a right to bar people who are working against it. Ms. Lara Alqasem on top of being fervent BDS supporter is an active member in Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), and organization which supports terrorism and murdering of Jews, disseminating most vile lies about Israel. She defended stabbing of a 15-year-old Israeli boy and accused Israeli soldiers of “murdering” his attacker. SJP supported Samer Issawi, a prisoner in Israeli prison with much blood on his hands, and many other killers of Jews. Now her supporters disseminate lies that she is “detained” in Israel. She is barred from entering Israel and is free to leave any moment. Nobody is detaining her. Israelis have every right not to want to have this person in their country.

      • mikeyc
        Posted October 10, 2018 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

        Well now who should I believe? According to the article James posted the young woman is no longer a member of the group and the only activism she was involved in was trying to boycott a kind of hummus.

        You’re right that any country has the right (and obligation) to control who may visit, but if that article is to be believed, in this case it seems very heavy handed.

        But if what you say is true…. I will withdraw the appall.

        • Malgorzata
          Posted October 10, 2018 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

          As far as I know she was the president of the chapter of SJP at her university until 2017. It’s possible she is no longer a member. But during the time she was her organization supported murderers. Did she ever renounce her activities? I’ve seen no evidence of it but possibly she has done it in secret inside her soul. Israelis have as little chance to know this secret as I do.

  13. Posted October 10, 2018 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    I’ve put an update at the top of my post: the UM President has apologized to both affected students, chastised not only Cheney-Lippold but Peterson, and promised to help both students complete their applications, presumably with good recommendations.

    It’s time to push back against the Israel demonizers who try to hurt students’ careers in service to their own ideology.

  14. Posted October 10, 2018 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    I am agnostic about the boycott of Israel, mainly because I haven’t seen that it is effective in resolving the conflict. I also have mixed feelings about punishing someone for following their conscience, even when I don’t feel the same way. Conscientious acts have been recognized as ethical behavior since before the founding of this country.

    I participated in the grape boycott that started in the 1960s, not because I was anti-farmer, but because I thought they should pay farmworkers better wages. In the same way, I don’t see that those who boycott Israel are necessarily anti-semitic, though they might be. However, I don’t think it is justified to assume that someone participating in the boycott is against the state of Israel. They may just be against particular policies of Israel, just as I am opposed to some policies of my government, which doesn’t make me anti-American.

    • Graham
      Posted October 10, 2018 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

      I happen to agree and so it seems to the people at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, this is one of those nasty grey areas that people don’t like to look into because the answers are not easy to find.

      https://www.thefire.org/movement-for-academic-boycott-of-israel-continues-to-raise-thorny-problems-produce-bad-consequences/

      Then again, speaking from personal experience the BDS movement has produced some pretty ugly sophistry. I hope to never again have to confront someone who believes that putting the word ‘Israeli’ in front of a call for Jews to be burned alive makes it an acceptable political statement.

  15. Posted October 11, 2018 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    This article, while bitterly critical of the Israeli government, is notable for pointing out the utter absurdity of boycotting Israeli academia, and how this tactic betrays those whom critics of Israeli inustices should be seeking out as allies: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/global-opinions/wp/2018/10/10/lara-alqasems-detention-in-israel-exposes-campaign-to-police-free-speech-and-suppress-critics/

  16. Kenneth Ryesky
    Posted October 12, 2018 at 5:29 am | Permalink

    Here is my published take on the Cheney-Lippold affair:

    https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2018/09/bds_professor_revokes_recommendation_letter_for_tel_aviv_u.html

    Am currently working on another piece regarding Peterson.

    Methinks that UMich administration people need some testosterone shots.


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