“A boycott of Israeli academics and institutions is contrary to our core principles of academic freedom, antithetical to the free exchange of ideas and at odds with the University’s position,” said President Hamilton.
The president of New York University Professor Andrew Hamilton said Monday that the school would not accede to its graduate student unions’ vote to sever its ties with Israel and its academic institutions.
Six hundred of the 2,000 graduate students belonging to the union voted on April 22 on a resolution calling on the university to close its program at Tel Aviv University, claiming that such ties violate the school’s anti-discrimination policy. The resolution was favored by two-thirds of those who voted. The resolution also calls on the United Auto Workers, its parents union, to divest from Israeli companies. Fifty-seven percent of the 600 students who voted also pledged to boycott Israeli government and academic institutions on their own accord.
“A boycott of Israeli academics and institutions is contrary to our core principles of academic freedom, antithetical to the free exchange of ideas and at odds with the University’s position on this matter, as well as the position of [the student group]’s parent union,” Hamilton said Monday in a statement.
“NYU will not be closing its academic program in Tel Aviv, and divestment from Israeli-related investments is not under consideration,” the statement added. “And to be clear: whatever ‘pledges’ union members may or may not have taken does not free them from their responsibilities as employees of NYU, which rejects this boycott.”
The World Jewish Congress, North America, sent a letter to President Hamilton thanking him for his rejection of the resolution.
“On behalf of World Jewish Congress, North America, we are writing to thank you for your important statement against a boycott of Israeli academics and institutions and your decision to reject boycotts and divestment from Israel related investments as well,” wrote Evelyn Sommer, Chair of WJC, North America, Rabbi Joel Meyers, Chair WJC, United States and Betty Ehrenberg, Executive Director WJC, North America.
“We believe that this is an important recognition of the fact that these punitive measures aimed at Israel are discriminatory in nature and do not advance the cause of peace,” the letter continued. “We hope that other university presidents and leaders will follow your important example and, instead of supporting measures that will prejudice the peace process, will help work for positive attitudes that will help foster true peace and understanding.”
The Anti-Defamation League also praised the university “for unequivocally denouncing” the union’s “ill-conceived resolution.”
By: World Jewish Congress
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