Stanford Faculty Statement Opposing Divestment from Israel

  • by: Larry Diamond
  • target: Stanford University APIRL and Board of Trustees

1. Israel should not be singled out for condemnation in a complex and decades-long conflict.
2. Proposals to divest from Israel undermine moderates in Israel and Palestine and complicate the quest for a just, negotiated solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.
3. We are deeply concerned about the polarizing effect of divestment on the University community.

March 4, 2015


At the February 19, 2015 Stanford Faculty Senate meeting President John Hennessy issued a statement regarding recent campus debates and the student senate vote on divestment from Israel. Most startling was his observation that “in the nearly 15 years that I have been president, and my 30 years here as a faculty member, I have never seen a topic that has been more divisive within the university community.”


The undersigned faculty shares the same impression and this distresses us greatly. And it is precisely the single-minded ferocity of this recent campaign, its inability to take in the larger tableaux of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict when focusing on one aspect of the dilemma that unsettles us still more than the student senate resolution it produced.


We share a wide range of views regarding Israel and Palestine, the Gaza war, the wisdom of current Israeli policy, and the efficacy of divestment as a political strategy.  Included below are the signatures of faculty long engaged in peace efforts in Israel and Palestine, and many who have championed divestment as a strategy for addressing the environmental dangers of coal burning or, in years past, apartheid South Africa.


How to explain our discomfort with the singularly focused efforts leveled against Israel culminating in the student senate vote, a discomfort so acute that we have chosen to protest a student initiative? This might appear all the more discordant since the resolution’s final text, amended at the last moment after a contrary vote the previous week, is worded so as to avoid the sort of overarching condemnations of Israel that played so prominent a role in the effort culminating in the vote.


We do so because as we see it the campaign itself cannot be separated from the resolution, its intensity fueled not by disdain for Caterpillar or other companies cited in the resolution but by a one-sided condemnation of Israel. It is this campaign - and its capacity to focus campus-wide attention on Israel as a site of unprecedented oppression - that was as much, if not more so, the goal than the resolution itself.  Its immediate impact, coupled with the divestment successes achieved recently on campuses elsewhere, will likely strengthen those forces in Israel inimical to Palestinian rights in the weeks before the upcoming Israeli March election. It will help ensure that Israelis feel ever more isolated, thus undermining those in Israel and Palestine best capable of moving in the direction of peace.  


The achievement of peace has been achingly slow, thwarted repeatedly -- as many of us see it -- by forces on both sides. If peace has a chance to succeed with the emergence of a workable democracy for Palestinians as well as Israelis, Jews and non-Jews, one-sided broadsides directed at Israel are certain to be more useless now than ever. Demanded is flexibility on all sides, a capacity to see beyond past wrongs however bruising, a willingness to look forwards -- not always and ever-suspiciously -- backwards. 


The goal of our campus’ recent anti-Israel campaign wasn’t to open up discussion on these complex matters but to dictate simple, outright excoriation. In this respect divestment was less its goal than a tactic, a deceptively benign way to bring to fruition an anti-Israel resolution. Hence, the repeated reference in programs leading up to the vote linking Israel with the Ferguson tragedy, one of many efforts at collapsing Israel into whatever catastrophe felt pertinent, and readily accessible.


 


Israel deserves to be treated -- much like nearly all other states -- as a state worthy of criticism; the onslaught unleashed at Stanford suggests something far more overarching in its reach. There is real, overt and systematically murderous racism in the same part of the world in which Israel exists. This is leveled against Kurds, Yazidis, Copts, other Christians, Jews and both Shia and Sunni Moslems. We appreciate that human rights issues are often subjective.  It’s impossible to take in all of humanity’s woes, and inevitably some will loom larger than others. But in the midst of the outright terror leveled against the groups mentioned above, the horrors championed by ISIS, the genocide of hundreds of thousands in Syria, the gunning down of free speech activists on the streets of Paris and Copenhagen – and the killing of Jews in any delicatessen, school, or place of worship displaying a Jewish sign -- the simplicity of the recent Stanford campaign feels all the more off-kilter and disturbing.


Stanford is a place known for its creative intelligence, its agility in wrestling with the most intractable problems. Let’s work toward recasting what has been in the last several months a singularly contentious campaign that has done little more than pitting one side of a longstanding geo-political dispute against the other.  What we face here is a situation where neither side is altogether right or wrong but what is wrong is to seek to so besmirch one side of the dispute as to render its arguments mute, and irrelevant. 


Signed,


Anat Admati


George G.C. Parker Professor


Graduate School of Business


 


Kenneth J. Arrow


Joan Kenney Professor of Economics and Professor of Operations Research, Emeritus


 


Joseph Bankman,


Ralph M. Parsons Professor of Law and Business


Law School


 


Jonathan Bendor


Walter and Elise Haas Professor of Political Economy


Graduate School of Business


 


Jonathan Berger


Denning Family Provostial Professor of Music


 


Joseph Berger


Professor of Sociology, Emeritus


 


Jonathan Berk


A.P. Giannini Professor in Finance


Graduate School of Business


 


Russell Berman


Walter A. Haas Professor in the Humanities


Professor of Comparative Literature


 


S. David Brazer


Associate Professor (Teaching) and Director, Leadership Degree Programs


Graduate School of Education


 


Martin Breidenbach


Professor of Particle Physics and Astrophysics


SLAC


 


Paul Brest


Professor of Law, Emeritus


 


Martin Carnoy


Vida Jacks Professor of Education


 


Katrin F. Chua,


Associate Professor of Medicine


 


G. Marcus Cole


The Wm. Benjamin Scott & Luna M. Scott Professor of Law


Stanford Law School


 


Ed Colloff
Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine


David M. Cornfield


Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor in Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine 


 


Robert Daines


Pritzker Professor of Law and Business


Law School


 


Terry S. Desser


Associate Professor of Radiology


 


Larry Diamond


Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution & Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies


 


Jonathan Dorfan


Professor of Particle Physics and Astrophysics, Emeritus


SLAC


 


Thomas Ehrlich


Visiting Professor of Education


 


Dan Eisenberg


Associate Professor of Surgery


 


Amir Eshel


Edward Clark Crossett Professor of Humanistic Studies


Director, Department of Comparative Literature  


Department of German Studies


 


David Feldman


Professor of Medicine Emeritus


 


Marcus W. Feldman


Burnet C. and Mildred Finley Wohlford Professor of Biological Sciences


 


S. Shirley Feldman


Senior Research Scientist in Psychiatry


Retired Associate Director, Program in Human Biology


 


John Felstiner


Professor of English Emeritus


 


Morris P. Fiorina


Wendt Family Professor of Political Science
Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution


 


Nancy J. Fischbein, MD


Professor of Radiology


 


Shelley Fisher Fishkin 
Joseph S. Atha Professor of Humanities, Professor of English, 


Director of American Studies, Stanford University 


 


Lazar Fleishman


Professor of Slavic Languages and Literature


 


 


 


Charlotte Elisheva Fonrobert


Associate Professor of Religious Studies
Affiliated faculty, Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies; CCSRE
Director, Taube Center for Jewish Studies


 


Michael Fredericson


Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery


 


Grisha Freidin, Professor Emeritus


Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Emeritus


 


Barbara H. Fried
William W. and Gertrude H. Saunders Professor of Law


 


Lawrence M. Friedman


Marion Rice Kirkwood Professor


Stanford Law School


 


Judith Frydman


Professor of Biology and of Genetics


 


Francis Fukuyama
Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow
Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies


 


Susan Galel


Associate Professor of Pathology, Emerita


 


Edith Gelles
Clayman Institute for Gender Research


 


Ronald J. Gilson
Meyers Professor of Law and Business


Law School


 


Claude Goldenberg


Professor of Education


 


Judith Goldstein


Professor of Political Science


 


Stuart B. Goodman


Robert  L. and Mary Ellenburg Professor of Surgery,
Professor, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and (by courtesy) Bioengineering


 


Or Gozani


Associate Professor of Biology


 


 


Mark Granovetter


Professor of Sociology


 


Avner Greif


The Bowman Family Professor in Humanities and Sciences


Department of Economics


Senior Fellow, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies


& Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research


 


F. Carl Grumet


Professor of Pathology, Emeritus


 


Joseph A. Grundfest
William A. Franke Professor of Law and Business
Stanford Law School 


 


Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht


Albert Guerard Professor in Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature



Robert E. Hall


Robert and Carole McNeil Professor of Economics


Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution


 


Robert K. Jackler, MD
Sewall Professor and Chair
Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery
School of Medicine


 


Katherine R. Jolluck


Senior Lecturer, Department of History


 


Michael Kahan


Lecture, Program On Urban Studies


 


Michael J. Kaplan


Professor, Head and Neck Surgery
Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery


 


Ari Y. Kelman


Jim Joseph Chair in Education and Jewish Studies


Graduate School of Education


 


Amalia D. Kessler


Lewis Talbot and Nadine Hearn Shelton
Professor of International Legal Studies
Stanford Law School


 


Michael Klausner
Nancy and Charles Munger Professor of Business and 
Professor of Law


 


Matthew Kohrman


Associate Professor of Anthropology


 


Roger Kornberg


Mrs. George A. Winzer Professor in Medicine


Department of Structural Biology


 


Jeffrey R. Koseff
Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering


 


Elliot Krane


Professor of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine


Stanford University Medical Center


 


Stephen D. Krasner


Graham H. Stuart Professor of International Relations, Stanford University


Senior Fellow, Freeman Spogli Institute


Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution


 


Josh Lehrer-Graiwer


Adjunct Clinical Instructor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology


 


Jonathan Levav


Associate Professor of Marketing


Graduate School of Business


 


Josh Levin


Clinical Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery


 


Michael Levitt


Robert W. and Vivian K. Cahill Professor in Cancer Research


School of Medicine


 


Raymond E. Levitt


Kumagai Professor of Engineering


Dept of Civil & Environmental Engineering


 


Ronald Levy


Professor of Medicine


Director of the Lymphoma Program 


Stanford Medical School


 


Shoshana Levy


Professor (Research) of Medicine (Oncology)


 


Jafi A. Lipson


Assistant Professor of Radiology


School of Medicine


 


 


 


Ira Lit


Associate Professor (Teaching)


Stanford Graduate School of Education


 


David W. Lowenberg, MD
Clinical Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery
Chief, Orthopaedic Trauma Service


 


Lawrence Marshall


Professor of Law


 


Michael W. McConnell


Richard & Frances Mallery Professor, Stanford Law School


Director, Stanford Constitutional Law Center


 


David Mills


Professor of the Practice and Senior Lecturer in Law



Terry M. Moe


Professor of Political Science


 


Stephen Monismith


Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering


 


Alison Morantz


Professor of Law


 


Ian Morris


Jean and Rebecca Willard Professor in Classics


 


Bryan D. Myers


Professor of Medicine (Nephrology), Emeritus


 


Norman Naimark


Robert & Florence McDonnell Professor of E. European Studies


Department of History


 


Nathaniel Persily


James B. McClatchy Professor


Law School


 


Denise Pope


Senior Lecturer


Graduate School of Education


 


Ralph Rabkin


Emeritus Professor of Medicine/Nephrology 


 


Jack Rakove


Coe Professor of History and American Studies


and Professor of Political Science


 


Lawrence Recht


Professor of Neurology 


 


Deborah L. Rhode


Director, Center on the Legal Profession


E.W. McFarland Professor of Law


 


Richard Roberts


Frances and Charles Field Professor of History


 


Aaron Rodrigue


Charles Michael Professor in Jewish History and Culture


 


Myer H. Rosenthal


Professor (Clinical) of Anesthesia, Medicine, and Surgery, Emeritus


 


Aaron Roodman
Professor of Particle Physics & Astrophysics


SLAC


 


Myer H. Rosenthal


Professor (Clinical) of Anesthesia, Medicine, and Surgery, Emeritus


 


Janice Ross


Professor of Theatre and Performance Studies


 


Alvin Roth


Craig and Susan McCaw Professor of Economics


Senior Fellow, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research


 


Gabriella Safran,


Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures


 


Tamar Schapiro


Associate Professor of Philosophy


 


Mark Schnitzer


Associate Professor of Biology and of Applied Physics


 


Yoav Shoham


Professor of Computer Science


 


Robert D. Simoni


Donald Kennedy Professor of Humanities and Sciences
Department of Biology


 


David Spiegel


Willson Professor & Associate Chair


Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences


 


Peter Stansky


Frances and Charles Field Professor of History, Emeritus


 


Lawrence Steinman


George A. Zimmerman Professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences


 


Myra Strober


Professor of Education, Emerita


 


Jeffrey D. Ullman


Professor of Computer Science, Emeritus



Irene Wapnir


Professor of Surgery


 


John Willinsky


Khosla Family Professor of Education


 


Sam Wineburg
Margaret Jacks Professor of Education



Carol Winograd


Associate Professor of Medicine, Emerita


 


Terry Winograd


Professor of Computer Science, Emeritus


 


Adam de la Zerda


Assistant Professor of Structural Biology


School of Medicine


 


Steven J. Zipperstein


Daniel E. Koshland Professor in Jewish Culture and History


Department of History 


 


 


 


 


Margaret Weissbluth


Stanford resident, spouse of late faculty member


 


 


 


 


     


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

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