We’ve criticized Columbia U. on Jewlicious on the basis of the film students with the backing of the David Project recorded about the pressure some Jewish students were made to feel in certain poli sci classes. Since then, the film came under attack, as did Columbia which found itself on the defensive for a while. Ultimately, despite a lot of noise, especially within the Jewish community, the story fizzled out.

Well, I’m glad to say that any doubts about Columbia were dispelled yesterday by Columbia University’s president, Lee Bollinger:

Statement by President Lee C. Bollinger on
British University and College Union Boycott

As a citizen, I am profoundly disturbed by the recent vote by Britain’s new University and College Union to advance a boycott against Israeli academic institutions. As a university professor and president, I find this idea utterly antithetical to the fundamental values of the academy, where we will not hold intellectual exchange hostage to the political disagreements of the moment. In seeking to quarantine Israeli universities and scholars this vote threatens every university committed to fostering scholarly and cultural exchanges that lead to enlightenment, empathy, and a much-needed international marketplace of ideas.

At Columbia I am proud to say that we embrace Israeli scholars and universities that the UCU is now all too eager to isolate — as we embrace scholars from many countries regardless of divergent views on their governments’ policies. Therefore, if the British UCU is intent on pursuing its deeply misguided policy, then it should add Columbia to its boycott list, for we do not intend to draw distinctions between our mission and that of the universities you are seeking to punish. Boycott us, then, for we gladly stand together with our many colleagues in British, American and Israeli universities against such intellectually shoddy and politically biased attempts to hijack the central mission of higher education.

Published: June 12, 2007
Last modified: Jun 12, 2007

Impressive in many respects.

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