Jewish student organizations suddenly cancelled the speaking engagement of a prominent American-Israeli writer at a Texas university out of fear of alienating flagrantly anti-Israel groups on campus.
Caroline Glick, a senior contributing editor at the Jerusalem Post and the author of The Israeli Solution: A One-State Plan for Peace in the Middle East, was slated to speak at the University of Texas at Austin on November 14. Students from Hillel, Texans for Israel, and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on Campus instead withdrew from hosting the lecture, fearful her message might inflame anti-Zionist groups, The Algemeiner reported.
Austin’s Joseph Davidsohn, CEO of Davidsohn Global Technologies, funded Glick’s appearance. He called the situation disgraceful and told the American Jewish newspaper Glick “is being vilified because student groups believe she promotes a one-state solution — which means they clearly haven’t read her book.” He added: “It is important that students hear her speak and learn an alternative narrative about Israel, not just the one put out by groups like Students for Justice in Palestine or Black Lives Matter.”
One year ago, 12 members of UT-Austin’s Palestine Solidarity Committee, an anti-Israel and pro-BDS student group that promotes boycotting, divesting, and sanctioning Israel, interrupted a guest lecturer speaking on the Israeli Defense Forces. The group burst into the back of the classroom, sporting black and white checkered Palestinian solidarity scarves popularized by late Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leader Yasser Arafat. One held the Palestinian flag and another read a speech opposing the class. They would not leave. This quickly escalated into a heated exchange between the protesters and UT Israeli studies Professor Ami Pedahzur, who on several occasions told the group to sit down and learn. Instead they chanted “free, free Palestine” and “long live the Intifada.” The anti-Israeli group posted online an edited cellphone recording of the incident. In it, they alleged the Israeli scholars intimidated them, although the video acknowledged the activist group makes “these short disruptions at other events at UT.”
A year later, Jewish groups appear to self-censor to avoid criticism from such highly vocal anti-Israel organizations on campus, thus blocking Glick’s highly respected voice. In fact, Eliav Turk, who sits on the board of two of Jewish groups, Texans for Israel and AIPAC on Campus, feared “she may alienate student groups and minorities we are trying to attract, which have traditionally taken a non pro-Israel stance.” He told The Algemeiner “some people” had concerns Glick “may not be the best representative for what we are trying to accomplish,” which he asserted was to promote their message and advocate for Israel.
Ironically, in August, Turk filed a complaint with an Israeli advocacy group, StandWithUs, over discrimination Jewish students experienced at a Houston Independent School District over a period of months and culminated at a high school’s annual international festival. Israeli flags in the Middle East booth were either shredded or covered over by Iranian or Palestinian flags, KPRC reported.
Campus Hillel Director of Jewish Student Life, Margo Sack, claimed they nixed Glick because Jewish student leaders could not corral enough interest in hearing her speak.
“The proposed program was never placed on the calendar, because students were not interested in hosting her,” she told The Algemeiner, insisting an outside donor recommended Glick as a speaker.
However, UT-Austin Hillel Rabbi Moshe Trepp defended Glick’s appearance against “liberal organizations” which accused her her of an association with a hate group, which he called a “false allegation.” He told The Algemeiner that students’ attempts to shut her out of the university creates “an atmosphere on campus where left-wing haters who say terrible things about Israel and the Jews are never protested, and we can never bring in a person who forces people out of their comfort zone.”
Neither Turk, Sack, or Trepp responded to media inquiries from Breitbart Texas regarding the event cancellation.
Glick previously told The Algemeiner she found it “very disconcerting that we’ve come to a point where American Jews, and reportedly pro-Israel Jews, no longer feel comfortable supporting Israel, and believe they somehow have to apologize for it. This is a travesty and a tragedy. I feel sorry for these students, who have been raised so poorly that they are being denied the basic knowledge about who they are as Jews and what the Jewish state stands for.”
Glick also spoke to Breitbart Texas, punctuating the harsh reality of anti-Semitism at many U.S. colleges today.
“It’s very sad moment in American Jewish history.” Glick noted the campus narrative is dominated by “anti-Semitic BDS groups that call for the annihilation of Israel and the genocide of six million Jews in Israel” while UT-Austin Jewish groups self-censor and block other students “from hearing a viewpoint that explains why Israel is wonderful.”
Follow Merrill Hope, a member of the original Breitbart Texas team, on Twitter.