Dear President Crudele:
The recent post on your blog, “Universities are venues for engagement,” clearly demonstrated Florida Atlantic University’s continued avoidance and poor handling of an issue that matters to our local community. The criticisms of FAU’s administration remain entirely valid and necessary. The following points explain why.
The Students for Justice in Palestine group (SJP) at FAU have systematically engaged in the misrepresentation of Israel as bloodthirsty and murderous, particularly with regard to children. This fact was repeatedly evidenced in displays such as the “child victims of Israel” art exhibit, the presentation of bloodied child body bags on the Free Speech Lawn, and has appeared again as a part of the past week’s events on campus.
A simple review of the facts, if FAU were to actually look into the matter, would reveal the stunning dishonesty of SJP’s message. In the history of humanity, no state has committed such extreme effort as Israel to minimizing civilian casualty while carrying out its duty to protect its own citizens. Our local Jewish community has gone to great lengths to highlight this fact to the broader community. Any objective observer of SJP’s message can gather that the point of their activities is to demonize Israel and undermine its right to exist.
That the FAU administration would again suggest that SJP is merely raising “political awareness of certain policies of the State of Israel” is wildly outrageous, and brings into doubt the intellectual standards and moral character of FAU’s administration. You should know that it is not the policy of Israel to kill children, or any civilian for that matter.
In March 2008, the U.S. State Department issued a detailed report on anti-Semitism globally, recognizing that anti-Zionist sentiment and criticism of Israel can cross the line into anti-Jewish bigotry. Whether intended or not, such expressed sentiment and criticism can have the effect of promoting prejudice against Jews. As an example, the State Department noted that demonizing Israel and/or Israelis “as barbaric, unprincipled, selfish, inhumane, etc. is anti-Semitic and has the effect of causing audiences to associate those bad attributes with Jews in general.”
The stylized form of anti-Jewish bigotry used by SJP is commonly referred to as the 3-D methodology — Demonization, Delegitimization and Double-Standards. This type of anti-Semitism is no less hurtful or harmful than more traditional forms of anti-Jewish bigotry, and universities have the moral and legal obligation to address it if and when it occurs. The totality of actions committed by SJP at FAU over the past several years were…