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

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