June 24: No limits at Yale

After controversial closure of Yale center, new program launched on anti-Semitism.

letters (photo credit: JP)
(photo credit: JP)
No limits at Yale
Sir, – As director of the newly created Yale Program for the Study of Antisemitism (YPSA), I am writing to correct the mischaracterization of the program’s aims in “After controversial closure of Yale center, new program launched on anti-Semitism” (June 22).
As I made clear in a statement disseminated to the media and the scholarly community, “YPSA will discuss both contemporary anti-Semitism and historical anti-Semitism. Like many, I am concerned by the recent upsurge in violence against Jews around the world and YPSA will address these concerns. I also believe that we benefit a great deal by placing current events into historical context. YPSA will not refrain from exploring any controversial contemporary topic. As a member of the Yale faculty and the director of the new program, I will do my best to ensure that all academic work associated with YPSA reflects Yale’s tradition of the highest scholarly excellence.”
The Yale administration has provided extraordinary support for the new program and has not tried to limit the range of issues it will address in any way. I hope we can lay the false rumors to rest once and for all so that YPSA can undertake the important work of contributing to our understanding of anti-Semitism.
New Haven The writer is director of the Yale Program for the Study of Antisemitism
Baths of ages
Sir, – Melanie Lidman’s article on the inauguration of the Ophel City Walls Site (“First Temple period archeological site unveiled in Jerusalem,” June 22) is somewhat misleading.
While the monumental architecture at the site indeed dates to the First Temple period, the “multiple mikvot” (Jewish ritual baths) found nearby date to no earlier than the late Second Temple period. Consequentially, there is no basis for her suggestion that the name of the “Water Gate” mentioned in Nehemia 3:26 relates to “the plethora of mikvot in the area.”

The writer recently completed his doctorate in the Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology at Bar-Ilan University

Melanie Lidman responds: While there are many mikvot in the area around the Old City walls from the Second Temple period, there is also a variety of mikvot inside the new complex inaugurated this week that date to the First Temple period. The future “Promenade of Mikvot” planned by the East Jerusalem Development Company will create a link between mikvot from all the periods in history. The connection to the verse in Nehemia was made by the archaeologist, Dr. Eilat Mazar, and not by me.
Abort the initiative
Sir, – Daoud Kuttab (“The morning after the UN vote,” Comment & Features, June 21) has it all wrong. The day after the Palestinians unilaterally declare statehood in the UN it will be Israel that acts.
Foreign Minister Lieberman recently stated that Israel will void the Oslo Accords, for example. This will have the effect of gelding the brazen Palestinian Authority cold. The tactic of withholding PA tax funds has also come up.
This would have a devastating effect on its ability to function on any plane.
A proposal has also been raised in the Knesset to annex the lands in Judea and Samaria on which Jewish settlements are located. This would effectively eviscerate the Palestinian state.
In my view, the Palestinian statehood initiative at the UN is so hostile that it’s essentially a declaration of war.
Kuttab would be well advised to climb on the bandwagon of logic, rationality and truth and tell PA President Mahmoud Abbas to abort the whole initiative. Negotiations are the only path to a permanent settlement.
Tel Aviv