Rabbi David Ellenson Joins 300 University Presidents Protesting Academic Boycott of Israel

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Rabbi David Ellenson was among nearly 300 university presidents who signed on to a full-page advertisement in the New York Times protesting the academic boycott of Israel. "Boycott Israeli Universities? Boycott Ours, Too!" read the ad, organized by the American Jewish Committee in response to a proposed boycott of Israeli academic institutions by the British University and College Union and published on August 9th. The ad featured a statement by Lee Bollinger, president of New York's Columbia University, endorsed by the other presidents. "At Columbia I am proud to say that we embrace Israeli scholars and universities that the UCU is now all too eager to isolate -- as we embrace scholars from many countries regardless of divergent views on their government's policies," Bollinger wrote. "Therefore, if the British UCU is intent on pursuing its deeply misguided policy, then it should add Columbia to its boycott list, for we do not intend to draw distinctions between our mission and that of the universities you are seeking to punish. Boycott us, then, for we gladly stand together with our many colleagues in British, American and Israeli universities against such intellectually shoddy and politically biased attempts to hijack the central mission of higher education." Among the signatories were the presidents of Brandeis, the University of California-Berkeley, Northwestern, Penn State, Tufts and Princeton. 

Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's first institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding. www.huc.edu