Alan Dershowitz 311.
(photo credit: (Courtesy of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East)
The Friends Seminary of New York, which invited the notorious anti-Semite Gilad
Atzmon to one of its classes, and assigned its students to read his hate-filled
writings, has now backed out of an agreement to invite me to the school to talk
to the students about the evils of anti-Semitism.
The headmaster of the
Friends Seminary, a school which is supposed to be committed to honesty and
integrity, has broken his solemn promise to me, and to members of its own
community, to allow its students to hear both sides of an issue that really has
only one side: namely, the illegitimacy of bringing hate-mongers into high
After I exposed the original invitations to Atzmon –
who justifies the burning down of synagogues as “reasonable” response to Jewish
efforts to “control the world” – the headmaster agreed to several
First, he would speak at an assembly to the students about the
evils of anti-Semitism; second, he would assign my essay to the students who
were assigned Atzmon’s essay; and third, he would invite me to address the
students. He has now broken each of these promises.
Students who were at
the assembly have confirmed that the speakers only made things worse. The
teacher who invited Atzmon talked about what a great musician he was. The
headmaster was defensive about how his words were manipulated and justified
bringing Atzmon based on Quaker principles.
Apparently the word “anti-
Semitism” was never once mentioned during this meeting. My article was
not assigned to the students; a citation was sent to them saying that I wanted
students to read it.
When I wrote to the headmaster complaining about
these breaches, they used my letter as an excuse for canceling my appearance.
The real reason was almost certainly pressure from hard-left members of his
faculty and others.
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Let’s be clear what this means. The school was
unwilling to cancel Atzmon’s appearance, even after learning that he was a virulent anti-Semite who questions the Holocaust but believes that it
may be true that Jews kill Christians to use their blood for religious
purposes. But they canceled my appearance because they didn’t like the
tone of a private letter that I wrote to them that was critical of the
headmaster’s failure to comply with his promises. I ended my letter with
the following words: “Please assure me that I am wrong about my judgment about
you. I really would like to see this move forward in a positive direction, but
you are not helping.
“The ultimate sufferers are your students, who are
being taught the wrong values that will serve them poorly in college and in
The values that Headmaster Bo Lauder is imbuing to his students
are deception, breach of promise, toleration of anti-Semitism and an
unwillingness to present all sides of an issue. In the end, the
headmaster is showing tremendous distrust of his students by refusing to allow
them to hear another side of the issue, by canceling my promised appearance, by
not assigning my essay and by continuing to be defensive regarding the dreadful
mistake in judgment he made in allowing Atzmon to teach his students.
headmaster may believe that by breaking his promises, he has ended this issue.
Let him be absolute certain that, as I wrote in my letter to him: “This issue
will not go away, and nor will I. Misled once, shame on you. Misled twice, shame
Unless I am invited to address the students inside the school, I
will appear outside the school, where I will hand out my essays to those
students who are willing to read them and will address those students who have
an interest in hearing a response to anti-Semitism. I am also considering
inviting parents, students and other members of the Friends Seminary community
to an event, in a venue outside the school, where these issues can be discussed
openly and candidly.
Headmaster Lauder may be able to keep me physically
out of his school, but he will not be able to stop my ideas from reaching his
community. The truth does not respect artificial boundaries.
Seminary, like other elite schools around the United States, teaches our future
leaders. Many Friends Schools around the country have espoused strongly anti-Israel policies for years. The Friends Seminary in New York has a rabidly
anti-Israel history teacher on its faculty, who propagandizes his students
against Israel in the classroom, and who has a picture of Anne Frank wearing a
Palestinian headdress on his website. The school has and is again planning to
take its students on trips to the Middle East that present a one-sided
perspective. Now it has crossed the line from preaching anti-Zionism to
tolerating anti-Semitism. I will not remain silent in the face of the Friends
Seminary’s double standard and neither should you.
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