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Progressive Israeli universities are exactly the wrong target for Pitzer's BDS activists

Progressive Israeli universities are exactly the wrong target for Pitzer's BDS activists
Pitzer College in Claremont. (Pitzer College)

To the editor: The Pitzer College faculty members who voted in favor of suspending the study abroad program at the University of Haifa in Israel due to concerns about the treatment of Palestinian students and visitors to Palestinian universities displayed dubious logic.

It is the universities in Israel that maintain a keen interest in protecting human rights.

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In the recent case of Lara Alqasem, initially denied entry to Israel before entering a master’s program in human rights at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, it was the university that joined Alqasem’s appeal to the Supreme Court and provided intellectual firepower so she could win her case and study in Israel.

Little is to be gained by standing on a soapbox in Claremont when students could travel, study, interact and judge for themselves through study-abroad programs.

Lois Fishman, Los Angeles

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To the editor: I support Palestinian rights, but I think the better answer would have been for Pitzer to create a parallel program at a Palestinian campus such as Bethlehem University or Birzeit University.

Or, Pitzer could have created a component of the study-abroad program where the participants volunteer with Palestinian humans rights organizations to fully expose the students to people with a wide range of opinions and experiences.

Rather than denying any type of learning in that critical environment, create the experiences that you want people to have. Isolation breeds ignorance, and we all know what ignorance breeds.

Lori Chudacoff, San Anselmo, Calif.

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