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(February 4, 2019 / JNS) An Israeli American author and activist who has said that Jews have “a reputation for being sleazy thieves” and questioned whether the Holocaust occurred, as well as equated Zionism with racism, is scheduled to address a public event on Thursday at Bucknell University.
Miko Peled will be speaking at the college, located in Lewisburg, Pa., in an appearance leaked by Bucknell English professor Michael Drexler, promoting the anti-Semite’s two books and labeling him as an “Israeli peace and Palestinian rights activist, a supporter of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement [BDS] and a passionate advocate for a one-state solution in Israel/Palestine.”
Drexler told the Haym Solomon Center that Peled is “is not an anti-Semite” and “is not addressing the issue of free speech, nor was he invited to push the boundaries of acceptable speech.”
“He is offering his perspective as an Israeli citizen who is committed to ending the Occupation and supporting Palestinian rights,” said Drexler, who is a member of the anti-Israel group Jewish Voice for Peace’s Academic Advisory Council.
Groups such as StandWithUs (SWU), Alums for Campus Fairness (ACF) and the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) have expressed alarm to the Haym Salomon Center over Peled’s upcoming appearance.
SWU and ACF sent a letter dated Jan. 4, 2019, addressed to university president John Bravmanand the board of trustees that said: “In light of the anti-Semitic positions Mr. Peled publicly espouses, which marginalize and stigmatize Israeli and Jewish students on campus, we write to request that the University take all reasonable and necessary action to affirmatively and publicly distance itself from such discrimination and ensure a safe and hospitable environment for the entire Bucknell community, including, as others have recently done, rescinding Mr. Peled’s invitation to speak.”
The ZOA sent a letter addressed the day before SWU and ACF’s that communicated “deep concern” regarding Bucknell permitting a lecture by someone “who lacks any academic credentials, and whose record demonstrates that he is viciously anti-Israel and anti-Semitic, even encouraging denial of the Holocaust.”
Bucknell Chief Communications Officer Andy Hirsch told the Haym Salomon Center that, while the school is aware of Peled’s past remarks, it “is committed to the exchange of diverse viewpoints. That includes viewpoints with which members of our community might disagree, sometimes vehemently.”
The law firm Rieders Travis has filed a complaint with the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights: “Bucknell University is a private university that receives federal and state funding. The invitation extended to Miko Peled and therefore a platform to vocalize bigotry is in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d. Miko Peled was invited to speak at Bucknell University under the guise of an ‘Israeli Peace and Palestinian rights activist.’ ”
“As the following facts show, Miko Peled is not welcomed in academic circles of thought, and he actively and on a regular basis through Twitter, Facebook and his own websites articulates anti-Semitic and anti-Israel rhetoric,” continues the complaint. “The two are inexorably intertwined so as to represent a violation of the statute.”