UM-Professor John Cheney-Lippold is under fire for refusing to write a letter of recommendation for a student, because she is applying to study abroad in Israel.
(University of Michigan)
The University of Michigan professor is against the refusal to write a letter of recommendation for a student applying to study in Israel.
John Cheney-Lippold, a UM digital studies professor, brought to the attention of the student, Abigail Ingber, of his decision in an e-mail that has since gone viral after Club-Z, a-Zionist youth organization, posted a screenshot on her Facebook page.
“I am very sorry, but I have only scanned your first e-mail a few weeks ago and just missed out on a key detail,” Cheney-Lippold wrote. “As you may know, many university departments have committed to an academic boycott of Israel to support the Palestinians living in Palestine. This boycott includes the writing of letters of recommendation for students plan to study.”
Cheney-Lippold told the Michigan Daily “the eternal claim of anti-Semitism, I completely deny,” adding that he was just “following a call by a representative of the Palestinian civil society for a boycott of Israel in a very similar tactical frame as in South Africa.”
UM spokesman Rick Fitzgerald told Fox News “the university has consistently opposed any boycott of Israeli institutions of higher education,” adding that “the injection of personal politics, a decision on the aid for our students is against our values and expectations as an institution.”
In a previous statement, the university said it was “disappointed” in Cheney-Lippold, and the motivation of teachers ” in the deep conversations to clarify how the expression of our shared values play in the support of all of our students.”
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UM leadership, including the chairman and the vice-chancellor, have publicly denounced the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. In last November. has the board of Regents rejected a pro-BDS proposal that passed the student government.
At the beginning of last year, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law a law which prohibits boycotts against persons or a service of a foreign state.
Not acceptable. A student who strives to learn and further their education may never become the victim of political bias. The University needs to publicly clarify opposition to the academic boycott of Israel. https://t.co/eyc2e4XbBT
— Jonathan Greenblatt (@JGreenblattADL) September 18, 2018
Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt beat the professor’s actions on Twitter.
“Not acceptable,” Greenblatt wrote. “A student who strives to learn and further their education may never become the victim of political bias. The university needs to publicly clarify opposition to the academic boycott of Israel.”
Caleb Parke is an associate editor for FoxNews.com. You can follow him on Twitter @calebparke