Posters which demonize Israel-only have been hanging all over the Connecticut College campus for 48 hours now. The Administration has not ordered them taken down. Some Jewish students are both frightened and sickened by the stepped-up pace of anti-Semitic hate speech on this campus and have just reached out to me.
According to them, the same Global Islamic Studies Program that targeted Professor Andrew Pessin earlier this year; that got the administration to move instantly against alleged hate speech against Muslims; has now plastered the campus with anti-Israel and anti-Birthright posters obtained from Electronic Intifada. Here is what one student wrote:
“As you all may remember, last spring at Connecticut College a witch hunt transpired as Professor Andrew Pessin's words were taken out of context by many students, faculty and staff. Thankfully, many of you covered the story and were able to bring national light on the horrible and gross situation. I hope you can continue to do so as the climate at Connecticut College has only gotten worse.
Recently (I believe as of Thursday), a group called Conn Students in Solidarity with Palestine (CSSP) was created, effectively putting a clever twist on SJP to gain more support as the "solidarity" movement on college campuses is far and widespread.
The troubling news is that this club put up many posters (which I have included below) that are truly propaganda and challenge the legitimacy of Birthright, among other things. Additionally, the club is highly associated with our new Global Islamic Studies department, and the new Chair of the Department, Professor Eileen Kane is the faculty advisor of CSSP. We fear that next is an attack against Hillel, and then -- an apartheid wall.
This winter, students from Connecticut College plan on going on Birthright trips. These same students walk the halls of this institution and have to deal with this propaganda along with the fact that many students are actually reading and believing the facts based on propaganda obtained from Ali Abunimah’s infamous electronicintifada.com. According to the U.S. State Department’s definition of anti-Semitism, it can be easily argued that this demonizes Israel as it "blames Israel for all inter-religious and political tension" and it "denies the Jewish people their right to self-determination." These posters challenge the Jewish student decision to partake in a Birthright trip.
If you think you could help out in any way, I would invite you to do so and continue communication with me.”
I immediately sent an email to the Administrators and the Trustees which reads as follows. As yet, I have received no answer.
Students from Connecticut College—Jewish students—have reached out to me because they are terrified, heartbroken, and do not feel safe on campus given that the Global Islamic Studies program has begun posting vicious lies against Israel which amounts to hatred against Jews. In my opinion, these posters, which the students sent to me, do amount to hate speech against Jews and should be treated as such by the administration and trustees.
I would like to know whether the College will respond as swiftly and as positively as it did when alleged hate speech against Muslims was an issue. Will you sponsor mandatory campus-wide Teach-ins which tell the truth about Israel and about Islamic religious and gender apartheid and Islamist Jihad? Will you show appropriate films, have scholars teach classes which analyze the Blood Libels against Israel and the Jews and the reasons for the increasing appearance of such Blood Libels on American campuses?
As you may know, I am an Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women’s Studies and the author of sixteen books including the classic Women and Madness, The New Anti-Semitism, and An American Bride in Kabul which won a National Jewish Book Award for a Memoir.
Please favor me with an answer.
Dr. Phyllis Chesler