ACF Statement on University of Michigan BDS “Teach In”

ACF Statement on University of Michigan BDS “Teach In”

October 30, 2018
Contact: Avi D. Gordon, Executive Director Alums for Campus Fairness
917-512-4585, [email protected]


As alumni of the University of Michigan, we are outraged by the university-sponsored “Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies Teach-In Town Hall: What is BDS? And Why Does it Matter?” event which took place at the Great Lakes Rooms at Palmer Commons yesterday morning.

Though the event is billed as a university-sponsored educational program, it is undeniable that the organizers of this event saw the program as an opportunity to push an anti-Israel agenda without any opportunity for contextualizing, nuance or rebuttal from speakers who do not adhere to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement’s offensive and divisive ideology.

We were horrified to learn that not one, but three official university departments were listed as co-sponsors for an event with such obvious bias and intent to cast Israel in a purely negative light.

As members of Alums for Campus Fairness, we are proud to support the fair practice of free speech on campus. We recognize that there are a variety of voices and opinions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and support a university environment that supports open discourse on challenging issues.

Events like the CMENAS Teach-In make it harder for the University of Michigan to realize an open, inclusive conversation on tough issues. By excluding dissenting voices from what was ostensibly marketed as an introduction to BDS, CMENAS, the Institute for the Humanities and Anthropology departments are making it abundantly clear that those academic departments are not interested in the free exchange of ideas.

Moving forward, we hope that pro-Israel speakers, thinkers, leaders and academics will enjoy the same opportunity to be heard in these campus spaces and that CMENAS, the Institute for the Humanities and the Anthropology department will commit to co-sponsoring events with different viewpoints in the future.