Last Wednesday, in the wake of a report that Princeton University will include a book in its syllabus that claims that the IDF had been harvesting Palestinian organs, Israeli Diaspora Affairs Minister Amichai Chikli wrote a letter to the university’s senior leadership.
The letter was written to Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber and Dean of Faculty, Professor Gene A. Jarrett.
“I am writing to you as Israel’s Minister of Diaspora Affairs and Combating Antisemitism, which entails the responsibility of fighting incitement and bigotry against the Jewish People and the State of Israel,” Chikli prefaced the letter.
He went on to express his disappointment over the inclusion of the book, entitled The Healing Humanities: The Right to Maim by Jsbir Puar. Among other things, the book asserts that Israel is “supplementing its right to kill with the right to maim.”
The book was approved by the university's Near Eastern Studies Department faculty for the upcoming course, Decolonizing Trauma Studies from the Global South.
“It was shocking to see that this book includes explicit insinuations that Israel uses a deliberate strategy of maiming Palestinians,” Chikli continued in the letter. “This delusional and false accusation is nothing but a modern-day antisemitic blood libel.”
The diaspora affairs minister continued, noting that the claims of the book were antisemitic propaganda that do nothing to advance academic debate, free speech, or legitimate education.
“Rather,” he writes, “it contributes to a hostile and divisive atmosphere against Jews and Israelis who study at your university, as well as against the Jewish community.”
The book harms the university, not just Jews
Additionally, claimed Chikli, the mere inclusion of the book opposes the university’s goals of pursuing truth and engaging in academic research. Further, he states, it denigrates the university’s standing as an institution of academic prestige.
Chickli further goes on to assert that he has faith that the book would be removed from the course as well as any other Princeton University courses.
“Antisemitism has no place at Princeton or in any other institution,” Chickli concludes. “I look forward to your response.”