JTA: U.S. college heads visit Israel, seek collaboration opportunities
Once again, Israel is recruiting university presidents and chancellors. I wonder how these academics can justify not meeting with Palestinians, who have suffered diverse academic assaults from Israel – from ethnic/religious discrimination to their schools being shelled and students killed – while they’re over there. Think of the astronomical wealth of the Israel Lobby, which can fund a multitude of such trips.
JERUSALEM (JTA) – A delegation of U.S. university presidents is in Israel to explore opportunities for academic and research collaboration.
The seminar, which ends July 9, is sponsored by Project Interchange, an educational institute of the American Jewish Committee.
A president of a historically Black college and university, Spelman College President Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, is participating in the program the first time.
The delegation was scheduled to meet with senior Israeli government and academic officials and leaders of civil society across the social and political spectrum, and to travel to the West Bank to meet with Palestinian leaders. They were scheduled to network with their counterparts at Tel Aviv University, Hebrew University and the Weizmann Institute, among others.
The group was also set to travel to Sderot, to view the city that has been under fire from rockets from Gaza.
“As chancellor of a top American public research university with a strong international presence and aspirations to build on our existing global relationships, it is important that that I have a deep understanding of Israel and its neighbors,” said seminar delegation chair, University of California Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi.
Some may recall that Katehi was part of scandals at the University of Illinois awhile back in which rich, well-connected students were getting admissions preferences over better qualified applicants, and at Davis, where police pepper sprayed peaceful students.
• Seminar Chair: Linda P.B. Katehi, Chancellor, University of California, Davis
• Louis Agnese, Jr., President, University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, TX
• Lawrence Biondi, President, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO
• Karen Haynes, President, California State University San Marcos
• Elliot Hirshman, President, San Diego State University
• Dorothy Leland, Chancellor, University of California, Merced
• Harvey Perlman, Chancellor, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
• Beverly Tatum, Spelman College, Atlanta, GA
• Randy Woodson, Chancellor, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
Targeting academics for pro-Israel propaganda began in the 1940s, if not earlier:
With its extraordinary funding, AZEC embarked on a campaign to target every sector of American society, ordering that local committees be set up in every Jewish community in the nation. In the words of AZEC organizer Sy Kenen, it launched “a political and public relations offensive to capture the support of Congressmen, clergy, editors, professors, business and labor.” 
……Grassroots Zionist action groups were organized with more than 400 local committees under 76 state and regional branches. AZEC funded books, articles and academic studies; millions of pamphlets were distributed. There were massive petition and letter writing campaigns. AZEC targeted college presidents and deans, managing to get more than 150 to sign one petition.
Regarding the UC Davis pepper spray incident, Robert May, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Linguistics at the University of California at Davis, writes:
I think there is an interesting contrast between the University of Virginia situation and that of Linda Katehi, chancellor here at UC Davis. We now know from the Reynoso report (discussed here) of Katehi’s complicity in the violent act against the innocent students, and her mendacity about her role in the pepper spraying incident; for this she does deserve to be, and ought to be, fired from her position. Yet nary a word to this effect has been heard from the UC Board of Regents nor the President of UC. The campus Academic Senate did finally censure Katehi, but stopped short of calling for her to be fired, which had been recommended by the Senate’s committee that had looked into the incident. As we head off this week to our summer vacations, it is apparently business as usual in the Chancellor’s office.
- Katehi, Reynoso expected to discuss pepper-spray report Tuesday at Capitol (sacbee.com)
- Chancellor Linda Katehi lists her mistakes in UCD pepper-spray incident (sacbee.com)
- UC Davis: Open Letter to Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi (alethonews.wordpress.com)
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