Michigan University apologizes over anti-Israel professors

University of Michigan apologizes to students who were refused letters of recommendations for study in Israel by lecturers who support BDS.

Ben Ariel,

University of Michigan
University of Michigan
iStock

The University of Michigan has apologized to two students who were refused letters of recommendations for study in Israel by lecturers citing their support for boycotting the Jewish state, JTA reported on Wednesday.

In a letter written on Tuesday to the campus community, the president and provost addressed two recent Israel-related controversies at the school.

“We have apologized to the students themselves and worked to ensure that they have everything they need to complete their applications,” President Mark Schlissel and provost Martin Philbert wrote, adding that the university “strongly opposes a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.”

The message also addressed a university lecture that featured a speaker who compared Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to Adolf Hitler. Schlissel and Philbert said they were “sorry students were hurt by this experience.” They also said the image was “on a single slide among nearly 200 other slides” and that the lecture had not singled out Israel.

In September, University of Michigan professor John Cheney-Lippold was criticized after he declined to recommend junior Abigail Ingber for a semester abroad in Israel because he supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against the country.

In response, 58 organizations called on the University of Michigan to sanction professors who implement academic boycotts of Israel.

On Tuesday, the Detroit News reported that the university had disciplined Cheney-Lippold.

Also on Tuesday, a report surfaced about a second academic at the University of Michigan who refused to write a letter of recommendation for a student to study abroad in Israel, citing support of an academic boycott of the Jewish State.

According to the report, graduate student instructor Lucy Peterson refused to write the letter to Jake Secker, 20, a junior from Great Neck, NY, upon learning he was applying to study at Tel Aviv University.

There has been no word on punishment in this case.


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