Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Israel on Campus in Omaha

This morning I had breakfast with Mitchell Bard, author of Myths and Facts, Will Israel Survive, and about 20 other books on the subject of Israel and the middle East
He will be speaking tonight at the University of Nebraska at 8:00pm on the topic of the Arab Lobby.

The breakfast was with members of the Schwab Center for Israel and Jewish Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Our meeting was about his organization and the resources they provide to college campuses.  According to Bard, most college students are not anti Israel.  Most college students are not pro Israel.  Most college students are apathetic to their own countries issues, let alone the Arab / Israeli conflict. 

The problem as he sees it, is the left wing faculty that pushes an anti Israel agenda.  He says this goes back a very long time.  he mentioned how when he was a grad student in the 80s he remembers a teacher who showed a video in class about Israel that the ADL had just recently done a study on because of its blatant anti Jewish slant.  That teacher, he says, is still on the faculty.

He thinks that the wrong way to confront anti Israel faculty is to silence them.  The best way is to bring in faculty that has a pro Israel message.  He is not interested in left or right wing, he just wants to see faculty that believes that Israel has a right to exist. 

He also wants faculty that will teach other aspects of Israel in addition to the conflict.  Culture, music, science, agriculture, literature, film, and archeology - among other things. 

In the past, Jewish groups have thought of endowing pro Israel faculty, but what has happened in a few universities is that a multi-million dollar donation is made and then once the university has secured the gift they have appointed a post Zionist or out right anti Zionist chair who goes on to hire like minded faculty.  At that point the donor no longer has control and his gift will be used in the exact opposite way it was intended.

Bard's method is to give money on an annual basis to colleges in order to maintain some semblance of control.

His organization, which has all of 5 people including him and runs out of his basement in Chevy Chase Maryland, has an annual budget of 2 and a half million dollars and in the last seven years has brought over 100 visiting professors from Israel to college campuses across this country.

I really enjoyed meeting him and I am looking forward to his lecture tonight.