March 6, 2012

The Loss of Activism in Academia

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To the Editor:

RE: “Professors Question Cornell-Technion Partnership, ” Cornell Daily Sun, March 2, 2012

Last night I read “Professors Question Cornell-Technion Partnership” and then watched President Obama’s speech before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference. Both showed how twisted the American obsession with Israel has become. The story of Cornell’s secret scheming to combine with an Israeli institution in New York City was fully equaled by our President’s profession of unquestioning devotion and national subordination to the Jewish State.

As an old alumnus of the University I marvel at the current political apathy of the Cornell community. In 1968 students vigorously protested the apartheid government of South Africa and called upon the University to shed its investments in firms that did business with that state (cf. Cornell Daily Sun, LXXXIV, #122, 12 April 1968, “Cornell and South Africa”). Nowadays, if any Cornellian dares to point out that Israel is an apartheid state and egregious human rights offender, then he or she earns a quick condemnation as an anti-Semite, a dossier in the files of the Anti-Defamation League and little chance of a political career in Zionist America. The ADL has a very long memory.

When I was an undergraduate we were horrified by the Berlin Wall, the symbol of an ideologically committed police state. Now the Israel West Bank barrier “fence” rings a Palestinian gulag, and nary a complaint is heard from Ithaca. Meanwhile Israel has trashed the phony peace process, relentlessly thieved Palestinian lands in the Occupied Territories and pressed our government into yet another aggression, this time against Iran.

If the Cornell Administration had to sweeten the NYC Technology Campus deal with a foreign partner, why did they not consider a European university from a nation without such reprehensible baggage?

H. William Fogle, Jr. ‘70

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