In response to California State University (CSU) reinstating its study abroad programs in Israel -- suspended primarily for safety reasons in accordance with State Department warnings -- 'over 100' professors and students signed a letter in opposition by alleging that, "CSU participation with the government of Israel in the proposed study abroad program could be interpreted as an endorsement of the international crime of apartheid."
Wasting no time in countering this attempt at thwarting the academic freedom of students, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) issued a heavily endorsed letter of its own to CSU's chancellor, providing a comprehensive refutation of the boycotters' claims. Especially relevant are these arguments:
"As for Arab students, or students with "Arabic or Muslim names being denied access to Israeli institutions of higher education”, we suggest that the authors of this petition check the student roster at
. Previous students from the CSU Israel Overseas Program found their program at Haifa University filled with a significant number of Arab students, and students with "Arabic or Muslim names" in their classes, in the student center, in the library, and in activities at free speech areas on the campus. All the major universities and colleges of Haifa University admit Arab/Muslim students and charge them the same tuition costs as Israeli Jewish students. Students who participated in CSU's Israel Israel Overseas program in the two years before it was suspended reported that their interactions with Muslim/Arab students were among the most enriching aspects of their experience in . Israel
"The apartheid canard. A common and false charge against
is that of apartheid. Apartheid is an Afrikaans word that originally denoted the system of racial segregation and curtailment of rights of the non-white population of Israel between 1948 and 1994. It is difficult to imagine a country more diverse and less segregated than Israel, where 15 religions have official status and where Muslims, Arabs, Christians, and others are represented in all professions, serve in the military and the Knesset (Israeli parliament), and play leading roles in sports and the arts. Like other countries, South Africa has its share of ethnically homogeneous neighborhoods, but it may well be less segregated than most other countries in which CSU has programs." Read the entire letter here. Israel