Authored By Kara Zupkus
May 11, 2020
The George Washington University has appointed a pro-Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction Israel (BDS) professor to be the new interim dean of its prestigious Elliott School of International Affairs.
The professor, Dr. Ilana Feldman, has been flagged by Canary Mission as an activist in the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement.
Students and faculty were notified of Feldman’s appointment in an email from the current Dean of the Elliott School, who noted he has the “highest confidence that she is the best person to shepherd the Elliott School through this extraordinary time.”
According to Canary Mission, Feldman’s scholarship “has demonized Israel and camouflaged the detrimental effect of Palestinian terrorist groups on Palestinians and Israelis.”
Feldman was a leading member of a group within the American Anthropological Association (AAA) which unsuccessfully campaigned for the AAA to boycott Israeli academic institutions. She claimed the campaign for boycott was justified after an AAA report which detailed “the tremendous violation of Palestinian rights by Israel.”
GW for Israel released a statement condemning “to the highest degree” the appointment of Feldman as dean. They note that the “outwardly anti-Israel sentiment Professor Feldman has repeatedly demonstrated” will target Israeli and Jewish students “who have already faced harsh discrimination and hatred.”
GW’s Elliott School, which has notable alumni including Sen. Tammy Duckworth, K.T. McFarland, the current president of Croatia, and countless other military and diplomatic leaders, recently faced scrutiny for banning single-gender discussion panels. The outgoing dean, Reuben Brigety, instituted a ban on male-only academic panels to address “signs of gender bias” and threatened cancellations of events which failed to put at least one woman on a panel.
With an undergraduate student population that is 23% Jewish, the school can and should face backlash for this appointment. Dehumanizing Jewish people and arguing against Israel’s right to exist should not be tolerated at such a prestigious institution.
Israel’s leading universities have produced academic achievements like the world’s smallest DNA computing machine system and a drug for Parkinson’s Disease. For a supposed academic, attempts to erase the humanity and technological advancements from Israeli academic institutions are despicable. Such hypocritical intolerance should not become the norm at institutions of higher learning.