An anti-Israel protest at Columbia University.

Israeli University Heads: Western campuses have “adopted Hamas as the cause célèbre”

Israel's Association of University Heads says that "college campuses have become breeding grounds for anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiments," in a second appeal to their colleagues around the world.

Israel's Association of University Heads has drafted a letter to their colleagues around the world to “express deep concern over the discourse emanating from academia following the devastating Hamas attack on Israel on October 7 and the inadequate response, in many cases, by academic leadership.”
"It is ironic that the very halls of enlightenment in America and Europe, ostensibly the bastions of intellectual and progressive thought that are your campuses, have adopted Hamas as the cause célèbre while Israel is demonized," the letter states. “It’s unsettling to note that many college campuses have become breeding grounds for anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiments, largely fueled by a naïve and biased understanding of the conflict.”
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הפגנה הפגנת תמיכה  פלסטינים ב קולומביה
הפגנה הפגנת תמיכה  פלסטינים ב קולומביה
An anti-Israel protest at Columbia University.
(Credit: AP)
This is the second appeal by the committee, which represents Israeli universities, following a first letter following Hamas’ October 7 attack, in which they asked their colleagues to immediately condemn any support for Hamas on campus.
The Association goes on to write in this letter, "We find ourselves facing a war on two fronts: one against the atrocities of Hamas, and another in the global arena of public opinion. Regrettably, we have noticed an alarming trend in which Israel, despite its right to self-defense, is mischaracterized as an oppressor. This is a false equivalence between the actions of a murderous terrorist organization and a sovereign state's right to defend its citizens, which unfortunately results in the loss of innocent Palestinian lives. Any attempt to justify or equivocate Hamas’s brutal and grotesque actions is intellectually and morally indefensible."
"Universities, as hubs of enlightenment and rational discourse, must take responsibility for the views they perpetuate,” they assert. “Let’s be clear: Hamas shares no values with any Western academic institution. Hamas is an organization that has repeatedly pledged to annihilate Israel and its people. Its ideology is antithetical to the values of human life and the liberal values we hold dear.”
Yesterday, a similar call was made by other Israeli academics, addressed to the Heads of the Academic and Scientific Community, worldwide by President of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities Prof. David Harel, Chair of the Planning and Budgeting Committee of Israel’s Council for Higher Education Prof. Yossi A. Mekori, and the Chair of the Israel Science Foundation, Prof. Daniel Zajfman. Their letter expresses alarm that “worldwide protests in support of Hamas have been proliferating lately, often taking place on academic campuses, and sometimes coupled with demands for Israel's annihilation.”
They point out that "The October 7 massacre by Hamas, unparalleled in its ferocity, and echoing the heinous actions of organizations such as ISIS, is arguably the most devastating event that the Jewish people have had to endure since the Holocaust."
“We call upon you, heads of scientific and academic institutions worldwide, to publicly and unequivocally denounce the October 7 massacre and to demand the immediate release of all the hostages. We also urge you to take every possible measure to prevent dangerous incitement from within your respective institutions, and to safeguard the well-being of Israeli and Jewish students and faculty, who may be at risk of retaliatory actions.”