UNC and Duke: This is Not Free Speech, It is Propaganda

Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill have planned an anti-Zionist and anti-Israel conference camouflaged as a conference on Gaza, March 22-24. Several scheduled speakers have compared Israel to Nazis and many others promote boycotting Israel. One of the opening speakers refers to Israel as a “terrorist state.”

The letter below was written by Judith and Lewis Siegel. 

Other letters are archived at Israeli Under Attack at UNC and Duke.

Dear President Price,

We always thought that Duke was a great university. But a great university should not be trafficking in lies and then cry “free speech.” Nor should a great university pile up on a threatened nation and people so as to permit its enemies to falsely propagandize the public. That is what will be happening this week-end. That alone would be bad enough. But to not even provide a balance – that is beyond the pale!

We can’t provide a complete historical background, but just to show a few common lies: The claim is made that Israel occupies Gaza. ISRAEL UNILATERALLY WITHDREW FIFTEEN YEARS AGO. It left behind all its agricultural infrastructure worth tens of millions of dollars, hoping it would enable Gaza to flourish. Gazans destroyed it all. Hate is apparently more important. Gaza is potentially a rich seaport and could have a flourishing tourist industry. But Hamas’s message of hate, its use of Gaza resources to fund its tunnels and rockets, its endless attacks on Israelis and its murder of any Gazans who dare to oppose it has kept it poor and desperate.

We are disappointed in Duke beyond words. We have a deep connection. Our son (A.B. Duke scholar, summa com laude) graduated from Duke. Lewis was a Duke faculty member for 42 years. He was Chairman of the Academic Council, and Vice-Provost and Dean of the Graduate School for 15 years. Judith trained Duke Law interns at the North Central Legal Assistance Program.

Please don’t bother to send a form reply about freedom of speech. Judith, an attorney, is well-versed in the First Amendment and our son is one of the leading First Amendment attorneys in the country. THIS IS NOT FREE SPEECH. IT IS PROPAGANDA.

The only way we see that Duke can redeem itself is to have a seminar that will expose what is really happening in Gaza, why Israel must defend itself against an organization like Hamas that endangers Israel’s very existence, so as to present the balance that the current seminar lacks.

Judith and Lewis Siegel

Be like Judith and Lewis Siegel and Make Your Voice Heard!

Contact the following UNC and Duke leaders to voice your concerns about this unbalanced and biased conference against Israel.

Duke President Vincent Price (919) 684-2424 vincent.price@duke.edu

UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz 919-962-1365 chancellor@unc.edu

Duke Chair, Board of Trustees, Jack O. Bovender, Jr. boardchair@duke.edu

UNC Board of Governors, Chair Harry L. Smith, Jr. public@bog.northcarolina.edu

Disgusted by UNC and Duke Anti-Israel Conference

Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill have planned an anti-Zionist and anti-Israel conference camouflaged as a conference on Gaza, March 22-24. Several scheduled speakers have compared Israel to Nazis and many others promote boycotting Israel. One of the opening speakers refers to Israel as a “terrorist state.”

The letter below was written by Gabriel Szulik and Orit Ramler Szulik.

Other letters are archived at Israeli Under Attack at UNC and Duke.

To all Duke University and UNC leaders,

My wife Orit and I are writing to BEG you to reconsider sponsoring this event titled “Conflict Over Gaza: People, Politics, and Possibilities” which is scheduled for March 22-24. The conference is sponsored by UNC’s Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies and the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies. Co-sponsors include many departments and organizations, including the Gillings School of Global Public Health.

Our family has lived in the Durham-Chapel Hill area for 21 years now, I attended Duke’s Fuqua Business School in 1998-2000, and my wife currently works as a Coach at the Delta Leadership program at Duke. She also sits on the Board of Advisors of the Nursing School at Duke.

We are simply disgusted and very disappointed by the agenda and attendees of this conference, all showing an anti-Israel and pro-BDS bias, which is unacceptable and speaks of the poor judgement by Duke and UNC in hosting this event. The conference doesn’t have a single speaker/presenter who will present the other side of the Gaza story, which includes the terrorizing of thousands of Israelis who constantly live under rocket attacks and terrorist threats; the fact that Gaza is governed by a designated terrorist organization, and the fact that Israel withdrew from Gaza almost 15 years ago and yet it continues to be blamed for the economic and social debacle in Gaza caused by Hamas.

Please reconsider this decision and cancel your sponsorship of this event, so you can preserve a moral standing and show that this kind of biased, anti-Israel propaganda is not tolerated at your prestigious academic institutions.

Regards,

Gabriel Szulik
Orit Ramler Szulik

Be like Orit and Gabe and Make Your Voice Heard!

Contact the following UNC and Duke leaders to voice your concerns about this unbalanced and biased conference against Israel.

Duke President Vincent Price (919) 684-2424 vincent.price@duke.edu

UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz 919-962-1365 chancellor@unc.edu

Duke Chair, Board of Trustees, Jack O. Bovender, Jr. boardchair@duke.edu

UNC Board of Governors, Chair Harry L. Smith, Jr. public@bog.northcarolina.edu

Duke Supporter: University Should Not Co-Sponsor Anti-Israel Conference

Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill have planned an anti-Zionist and anti-Israel conference camouflaged as a conference on Gaza, March 22-24. Several scheduled speakers have compared Israel to Nazis and many others promote boycotting Israel. One of the opening speakers refers to Israel as a “terrorist state.”

Stefanie Kahn, a parent of three Duke students and well known Duke supporter, wrote this heartfelt letter to the university. 

Other letters are archived at Israeli Under Attack at UNC and Duke.

Dear Vince, Jack and Sally,

I am writing as a parent of 3 Duke students (2 alumni, one of whom is back at Fuqua, and a current junior) as well as a a Nasher [Museum of Art at Duke] Board member and employee, a Braxton Craven Fellow, an Iron Dukes member and a very dedicated Duke supporter. I am also a Jewish resident of Raleigh.

I am very concerned about the fact that Duke University is Co-Sponsoring the Conflict Over Gaza Conference. I fully believe in the right to free speech and support any Duke faculty member who wants to organize and support this conference, but I am dismayed that the University is a co-sponsor. Why?

The University has had an impressive track record of speaking out against anti-semitism, racism, bigotry and other discriminatory social and religious issues. I have applauded your stand in acknowledging the African American architect of the University, removing the racist statue at the Chapel, re-naming certain buildings, standing with the LBGTQ community, etc. so it upsets me that you aren’t taking a grander stand on this issue.

I urge you to please re-consider your actions and pull your support for this conference. It is organized by known anti-semites and is very one-sided. At the very minimum, please insist that other voices have an opportunity to speak and debate the current line up of speakers and panelists.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Stefanie Kahn

Be like Stephanie Kahn and Make Your Voice Heard!

Contact the following UNC and Duke leaders to voice your concerns about this unbalanced and biased conference against Israel.

Duke President Vincent Price (919) 684-2424 vincent.price@duke.edu

UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz 919-962-1365 chancellor@unc.edu

Duke Chair, Board of Trustees, Jack O. Bovender, Jr. boardchair@duke.edu

UNC Board of Governors, Chair Harry L. Smith, Jr. public@bog.northcarolina.edu

UNC and Duke to Host Biased Conference Against the Only Jewish State

Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill have planned an anti-Zionist and anti-Israel conference camouflaged as a conference on Gaza, March 22-24. Several scheduled speakers have compared Israel to Nazis and many others promote boycotting Israel. One of the opening speakers refers to Israel as a “terrorist state.”

UNC alumna  Elizabeth J. Kardon wrote UNC and Duke officials. 

To all parties concerned,

I write to you as a UNC-CH alumna, the daughter and sister of Duke alumni, and most importantly, a Jewish woman and mother, native to and living in the Triangle.

I’m extremely disappointed in your decision to host the upcoming Conference on Gaza. This event, thinly and inadequately veiled as a scholarly dialogue, is in fact a one-sided campaign to continue to malign the only Jewish state in the world, and the only Democracy in the Middle East.

Several of your speakers have actively and publicly promoted terrorism against my people. You’ve included no speakers to educate on the reality of Gaza, no one to speak of the terror experienced by those Israelis living on the border. I agree wholeheartedly that Gaza must be freed. It’s people must be freed from Hamas, the terrorist ruling body in Gaza, which forces citizens at gun point to join violent protests at the border, which educates preschool children to kill Jews, which assassinates any Muslim suspected of selling property to a Jew, which throws homosexuals off of rooftops to their death.

You’ve effectively contributed to a hostile environment for Jewish students, and you will be held accountable. As you may be aware, there are several lawsuits filed against the City of Durham and it’s Mayor and Council members along similar lines. What you’re doing falls squarely under religious and ethnic discrimination, and you will be made to answer for it.

I’m beyond disappointed, frankly disgusted, by your decision. I would hope you re-evaluate your stance.

Regards,

Elizabeth J. Kardon
UNC-CH Class of 1991

Be like Liz Kardon and Make Your Voice Heard!

Contact the following UNC and Duke leaders to voice your concerns about this unbalanced and biased conference against Israel.

Duke President Vincent Price (919) 684-2424 vincent.price@duke.edu

UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz 919-962-1365 chancellor@unc.edu

Duke Chair, Board of Trustees, Jack O. Bovender, Jr. boardchair@duke.edu

UNC Board of Governors, Chair Harry L. Smith, Jr. public@bog.northcarolina.edu

Unbalanced Conference Co-Sponsored by Duke and UNC

Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill have planned an anti-Zionist and anti-Israel conference camouflaged as a conference on Gaza, March 22-24. Several scheduled speakers have compared Israel to Nazis and many others promote boycotting Israel. One of the opening speakers refers to Israel as a “terrorist state.”

Bob Gutman, Co-Chair of Voice4Israel, wrote this concise, strong letter to UNC and Duke officials. 

Duke President Vincent Price, UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz, Duke Chair, Board of Trustees, Jack O. Bovender, Jr., UNC Board of Governors, Chair Harry L. Smith, Jr.

I am a retired nephrologist at Duke. The hosting of the Conference titled: “Conflict Over Gaza: People, Politics, and Possibilities” sounds good when I read the title.

But the obvious deliberate choosing of speakers noted for their opposition to Israel about which you have already learned about needs adult attention. For academic institutions to allow such severe abridgment of expected scholarly standards is highly improper.

Please insist on a follow-up symposium that explains to the same public why Israel is caught in a bind promulgated by their neighbors and now, by so many institutions such as yours.

Sincerely

Robert Gutman

Be like Bob Gutman and Make Your Voice Heard!

Contact the following UNC and Duke leaders to voice your concerns about this unbalanced and biased conference against Israel.

Duke President Vincent Price (919) 684-2424 vincent.price@duke.edu

UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz 919-962-1365 chancellor@unc.edu

Duke Chair, Board of Trustees, Jack O. Bovender, Jr. boardchair@duke.edu

UNC Board of Governors, Chair Harry L. Smith, Jr. public@bog.northcarolina.edu

Clearly Not a Peace Conference and Not Worthy of Duke University

Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill have planned an anti-Zionist and anti-Israel conference camouflaged as a conference on Gaza, March 22-24. Several scheduled speakers have compared Israel to Nazis and many others promote boycotting Israel. One of the opening speakers refers to Israel as a “terrorist state.”

Duke University alum Eric Chabinsky wrote President Price to express strong concerns about the conference. 

Dear President Price,

I am discouraged and disgusted to see that my alma mater and UNC are planning to co-host the subject conference in March.

Similar to the ISM [International Solidarity Movement] conference hosted by Duke many years ago, our University is giving hate, anti-semitism and anti-Zionism a forum and legitimacy it does not deserve-

This is clearly not a peace conference, an academic debate or anything worthy of Duke University. Coming on the heels of the East Campus Swastika incident, the Chronicle Editorial Board handling of the Ilhan Omar comments, and Duke Academic Press’s publication of the unscholarly Israel smear “Right to Maim” I see a disturbing trend of Duke becoming unwelcome to Jewish students as it allows itself to be used by BDS supporters and Israel haters that have no plan or objectives other than destroying the only Jewish nation in the world.

If Gazans had supported and elected leadership intent on peace and not Hamas which continuously fires rockets into Israel, spends millions on attack tunnels, infiltrates the border with fire balloons, and teaches their young children to hate all Jews, I’m confident there would be peace today.

As president, you’re responsible for the safety and proper learning environment for all your students including those that are Pro-Israel and Jewish even though they may be a minority- You’re also responsible for Duke’s reputation.

With all due respect to academic freedom, I’m asking you to cancel this non-academic event if it can not be reformulated to be objective, worthy, representative of multiple viewpoints, and not just an anti-Israel propaganda fest.

Sincerely,

Eric Chabinsky
Duke Engineering ‘85

Be like Eric Chabinsky and Make Your Voice Heard!

Contact the following UNC and Duke leaders to voice your concerns about this unbalanced and biased conference against Israel.

Duke President Vincent Price (919) 684-2424 vincent.price@duke.edu

UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz 919-962-1365 chancellor@unc.edu

Duke Chair, Board of Trustees, Jack O. Bovender, Jr. boardchair@duke.edu

UNC Board of Governors, Chair Harry L. Smith, Jr. public@bog.northcarolina.edu

UNC Required Student Reading Peddles Outrageous Holocaust and Cancer Claims

UNC, textbook, holocaust, Voice4Israel
Dr. Stanley Robboy

Update: Shortly after this post was published, UNC announced late today that the book’s offending passages have been removed from the coming 2018 Fall edition about to be released.

An online textbook on health and wellness, 21st Century Wellness, which is one choice among several in a course that UNC-Chapel Hill has mandated its students take, has ignited a major controversy both on the campus and with various groups across the country. Particularly disconcerting to the Jewish community is the proposition that many Jews might have saved themselves or their families from dying in the Holocaust had they called upon their “inner strengths.” The second absurdity to me as a physician is that cancer is a preventable disease.

The authors suggest that Holocaust victims are partially the ones to blame because they failed the self-discipline to use their inner strengths as if this were some form of a mental malaise. I wonder how my relatives who were put onto a train, not knowing where they were going and then prodded by armed guard to hurry and take a “shower,” might have looked to their inner strength to intuit and prevent what was to come. Endowment for Middle East Truth and an Israel education group, StandWithUs, with which Voice4Israel partners, both publicly condemned the book. Jennifer Dekel, EMET’s director of research and communications states: “The book …serves to brainwash our youth into believing a dangerous fallacy that glosses over the horrors of the Holocaust and invokes the twisted ideas of Holocaust deniers.” Roz Rothstein, StandWithUs co-founder, said: “Explain how ‘intrinsic worth’ is supposed to keep someone alive who has been tortured, shot, gassed, or starved.”

Both organizations have asked UNC to immediately drop the textbook from its curriculum and apologize to its Jewish students.

The textbook also claims that cancer is a “disease of choice.” Some of the ways we live today without question increase the chances we might develop cancer. Smoking of cigarettes greatly enhances the development of lung cancer. But the word “cancer” is generic for over a hundred type of neoplasms. Most, like pancreatic cancer, have no known nor suspected cause. Suggesting that cancer is a disease of choice might by analogy be applied equally to driving and dying in an accident. Driving recklessly certainly heightens the chance of accident and death. Driving sensibly lowers the chance, but not completely. Another driver may hit you. Personal responsibility is important for every person to think about, but the authors’ statements far exceed what is judicious and wise.

As others indicate, the University administration should take more responsibility about what it requires of its students. We can all think of many more books that would provide far more complete and accurate information. Hiding behind promoting “academic freedom” disrespects both students and the administration’s oversight role for its coursework.

Bio: Dr. Stanley Robboy is a board member of Voice4Israel and a professor of pathology and also obstetrics and gynecology at Duke University Medical Center.


NC Hillel denounces offensive UNC textbook

NC Hill responded to blaming the holocaust, in part, on it victims, by stating, “This message defames the memory of those who died at the Nazis’ hands and should not be part of any curriculum on our campus. We are concerned about an academic review process that would allow for this narrative to be included in UNC’s educational materials and are actively working with UNC administrators to ensure this type of defamatory and inflammatory language is not taught at any programs at our university.”

Contact Voice4Israel if you are as student, professor, or someone else with information on this situation.