Category: Columns

Jewish faculty reject the weaponization of antisemitism

To President Shafik: “We write as Jewish faculty of Columbia and Barnard in anticipation of your appearance before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on April 17, where you are expected to answer questions about antisemitism on campus. Based on the committee’s previous hearings, we are gravely concerned about the false narratives that frame these proceedings to entrap witnesses. We urge you, as the University president, to defend our shared commitment to universities as sites of learning, critical thinking, and knowledge production against this new McCarthyism.”


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Science magazine’s editorial bias against Palestinians

After reading Science’s absurdly one-sided story (February 28, 2024) on the effect of the genocide in Gaza on Israeli academics, I wrote an email to the news editor to intervene. He responded by offering to publish parts of the email as a “letter” in response to the story. I then reworked the text of the email to prepare it for publication and submitted a draft. The editor sent it back with substantial deletions, notably removing the paragraph describing the deliberate nature of the Israeli military’s destruction of academic life in Gaza. The sentence in which I explained the principles of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) was also removed, on the grounds that “[w]e often don’t know the motivations of those calling for or practicing a boycott.” I pointed out to the editor that the initial story had speculated freely about the supposed antisemitic motivations of alleged boycotts of Israeli academics and insisted on retaining the deleted passages. The editor declined to withdraw the deletions and I decided not to allow the text to be published in amputated form. Below is the text, including the passages Science refused to publish.

Dispute within Max Planck Society over ties to Israel

Statement from a collective of academics in solidarity with Palestine from The Max Planck Society:

The Max Planck Society (MPS) is a government-funded research organisation in Germany that comprises 85 research institutes (most of which are also based in Germany), and it is one of the most successful such organisations worldwide. Therefore, its academic and non-academic employees come from various backgrounds, and the MPS prides itself on the diversity it fosters. However, this position has not always been reflected in the political statements and stances that the MPS has expressed over the years, its continuous support and collaboration with Israeli research institutions, which partake in the apartheid regime in occupied Palestine, being a prime example of this.