The past few weeks have seen a lot of Israel activism at Dartmouth College, spearheaded by CAMERA fellow Josh Kauderer and local Israel group Dartmouth for Israel, with the help of CAMERA. This activity has achieved, not one, but two major successes in the last week – the resignation of Bruce Duthu, a BDS-supporting member of the faculty, from his role as dean, and bringing to national attention the shallow and frankly racist views of “liberal activist” Linda Sarsour.
At the beginning of the month, it was reported that Bruce Duthu, a Professor who declared his support for BDS, had been appointed as an associate dean at Dartmouth. This lead to protests from within the university faculty, as well as a statement by CAMERA, in which we argued that the appointment is lending support to the view that “all people and views should be welcomed, unless they are Israeli.” CAMERA students at Dartmouth then met with Professor Duthu to challenge him on his support for BDS, and in response, he issued a vague letter explaining his position, in which he tepidly said that boycotts are “not helpful.” Gilad Skolnick, CAMERA’s Director of Campus Programming, called for a more forceful clarification, one which condemned “in no uncertain terms the rationale behind discriminating against the Jewish state and its intellectuals.”
The pressure on Professor Duthu continued, until this week, when he sent an email to faculty, explaining that he was resigning from the position. CAMERA strongly supports this decision, and Fellow Josh Kauderer and Dartmouth for Israel issued an open letter to the college’s administration, praising the decision of Professor Duthu, but lamenting the fact he still has not denounced the hateful BDS campaign. However, the hard work of the students, supported by CAMERA, had succeeded in ensuring that someone who fought against academic freedom for Israelis could not be a Dean of Faculty at a leading American academic institution.
But Dartmouth students have also succeeded in bringing another story to national attention. Linda Sarsour, a highly controversial activist, spoke at Dartmouth, and one of DSI’s members, Zack Port, challenged her on her outrageous tweet calling for the whipping of Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Her response was ridiculous and racist; she implied that she may never have tweeted it (she did), she implied it was something stupid she did in her twenties as a college student (she was 31 at the time), and then said the student had no right to ask the question because he was white (an astoundingly racist view, held by a “liberal activist” no less.)
The video got thousands of retweets on Twitter, and the story was published by Newsweek and The Daily Caller. As Linda Sarsour has been invited to give the commencement at CUNY’s Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, the issue of her hateful views is very significant – there have been protests against her speaking at the event, and this video gives further reason for her to be dis-invited.
Our students at Dartmouth should be congratulated for their efforts in standing up for Israel, challenging the support of BDS, and bringing to light the hateful views of speakers at their campus. And these events also should be an inspiration for campus activists nationwide; with planning and effort, students have the ability to bring real change, impacting important policies, and the views of people around the world.
Contributed by Aron White, CAMERA intern