Rashida Tlaib joins boycott campaign against University of Haifa

The University of Haifa president counters: “We have Jews and Arab faculty and students coexisting…contradicting the narrative about Israel as an apartheid state.”

By World Israel News Staff 

U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), a Democratic Party congresswoman who has voiced support for the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement against Israel, is now supporting a move by anti-Israel faculty members at a small private California university to end its study abroad partnership with an Israeli university, according to Washington Free Beacon, a conservative website.

The campaign by faculty members at Pitzer College aims to suspend its study abroad program at Universityof Haifa until their demands are met by the Israeli government, says the news outlet.

Reportedly leading the effort is Professor Daniel Segal, an anthropology and history professor, who announced through his Twitter account that Tlaib was his movement’s newest backer.

“Tlaib is in with #SuspendPitzerHaifa,” he wrote, along with a picture of Tlaib holding the group’s information pamphlet.

The picture was also posted by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, says Washington Free Beacon.

Pitzer’s study abroad program to Israel is small. Only 11 students have made the trip since 2007 and no one has participated since 2016, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The next step reportedly is expected Thursday with a vote by the Pitzer College Council, which includes both faculty and students.

“We have Jews and Arab faculty and students coexisting and this seems to contradict the narrative about Israel as an apartheid state,” said University of Haifa President Ron Robin, adding that he would like to see his institute as “a microcosm of what Israeli society could look like.”

Tlaib’s office did not respond to a request for comment on her support for the Pitzer boycott, reported Washington Free Beacon.

A website for the campaign says that the group is demanding that the Israeli government cease “its restriction to entry to Israel based on ancestry and/or political speech” and adopt “policies granting visas for exchanges to Palestinian universities on a fully equal basis as it does to Israeli universities.”

The boycott is opposed by a group called Students for Academic Freedom, which is said to be gathering signatures for a petition to oppose what it calls a severe restriction of academic freedom.