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### Pitzer College’s Antisemitism Controversy: Cancelling Haifa Study Abroad Program

Tammi Rossman-Benjamin

SANTA CRUZ, California (Press Release) – Today, Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, the Director of the AMCHA Initiative, released a statement addressing Pitzer College’s decision to remove the University of Haifa study abroad program from its list of approved programs. This move follows a prolonged antisemitic academic boycott campaign led by Pitzer students and faculty.

Expressing deep concern, Rossman-Benjamin criticized Pitzer College for seemingly tolerating, if not endorsing, the blatantly antisemitic academic boycott of Israel. She highlighted the campaign’s explicit aim to eradicate Zionism and Zionists from campuses, drawing parallels to the historical purging of Jewish individuals from universities in Nazi Germany. Emphasizing the broader implications of academic BDS, she underscored the creation of a hostile and unsafe environment for those supportive of Israel or Jewish self-determination.

Rossman-Benjamin pointed out that prior to the termination of the Haifa program, anti-Zionist elements at Pitzer had actively promoted academic BDS, fostering a climate of demonization and exclusion against Israel and its proponents, particularly Jewish students. She questioned the safety of any student participating in an Israel-related program amidst such hostility and discrimination.

She further cautioned that administrators who allowed this antisemitic campaign to unfold cannot be relied upon to ensure the safety of Jewish students on campus. Rossman-Benjamin urged stakeholders such as parents, alumni, donors, and prospective students to take note of Pitzer’s stance and act accordingly.

In a broader context, she warned university leaders to implement robust measures to prevent the implementation of academic boycotts on their campuses, citing the vulnerability of institutions to similar pressures.

While Pitzer administrators cited low enrollment as the reason for suspending the Haifa program, external pressure from anti-Zionist factions played a significant role in the decision. Previous attempts to close the program in line with the academic boycott were thwarted by former Pitzer President Melvin Oliver in 2018-2019.

The directives of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), instrumental in the push to terminate the Haifa program, advocate boycotting educational initiatives related to Israel and stifling pro-Israel events. These actions can severely impact students and faculty involved in Israel-centric studies or supportive of the Jewish state.

Research by the AMCHA Initiative consistently links BDS activities to antisemitic incidents on campuses, including assaults, harassment, and vandalism.


Press Release provided by AMCHA Initiative