A university embroiled in controversy involving professors supporting the BDS movement has, nonetheless, held a "teach-in" that was admittedly pro-BDS.
Twice in the last few months, educators at the University of Michigan have refused to write letters of recommendation for students making plans to study in Israel. In both cases the educators cited their own support for the boycott, sanctions and divestment (BDS) movement against Israel. One of those educators, associate professor John Cheney-Lippold, was sanctioned last month for his refusal in August. Another nearly identical incident occurred just before Cheney-Lippold was sanctioned.
Nevertheless, a "teach-in" on the BDS movement was held late last month at the university. The event, which took place just 48 hours after the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, featured several advocates of the anti-Israel movement.
"It was that punishment, those disciplinary measures that were ... being protested at this teach-in," says Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, director of AMCHA Initiative. "In other words, this teach-in was not just pro-BDS; it was pro the implementation of an academic boycott at the University of Michigan."
The school's Center for Middle Eastern & North African Studies, which hosted the event, recently received more than $2 million from a federal grant, according to Rossman-Benjamin.
"The purpose of the grant is to promote access to research and training overseas, including through linkages with overseas institutions," she tells OneNewsNow. "But if you think about it, an academic boycott is the exact opposite of that."
Center director, Samer Mahdy Ali, admitted afterwards that the teach-in was "decidedly pro-BDS" and had been organized "on short order in response to the current crisis."