New York, NY, May 17, 2017 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today issued an open letter to The City College of New York Interim President Vincent Boudreau in response to the College’s statement following a speaking engagement with Dani Dayan, the Consul General of Israel in New York.
On May 12, Consul General Dayan appeared on campus at the invitation of student groups. During the question and answer portion of his appearance, the consul general was unable to answer questions in a peaceful manner due to the commotion that brewed as a result of heated accusations designed to incite conflict. Following the incident, Interim President Boudreau issued a communique to the campus community affirming the importance of free speech while referring to Consul General Dayan in a dismissive and inappropriate manner.
The following is an open letter issued today to the City College of New York from Evan R. Bernstein, ADL New York Regional Director, and Andrew J. Frackman, ADL New York Regional Board Chair:
Dear Interim President Boudreau:
We write in regard to your May 12th statement concerning the altercation during a recent event at City College of New York (CCNY) featuring Ambassador Dani Dayan, Consul General of Israel in New York. We welcome your affirming the critical principle of free speech and the importance of an unfettered exchange of ideas as the cornerstone of institutions of higher education.
At the same time, we are troubled by part of your statement, which not only omitted Ambassador Dayan’s name and title, but referred to him as “a well-known advocate of expanding Israeli settlements in the contested territories, a position that generates great opposition and anger among some in our community.” While it is true that in his previous capacity Ambassador Dayan represented the Israeli settlement movement, he currently serves as the official diplomat in New York for Israel, and not as a settler advocate. Your statement’s failure to mention this important detail, and portrayal of Ambassador Dayan as a nameless, provocative ideologue, is not only misleading and dismissive of the ambassador, but may be seen as justifying the lack of civility demonstrated by some students to the Consul General during the question and answer portion of his presentation.
Since accuracy, important in all contexts, is especially essential in an institution of higher learning, we strongly urge you to correct this omission from the statement posted on your website.
ADL has a number of useful resources on how to handle challenging situations such as this one, and we would be happy to meet with and your staff you to discuss this in further detail. Please let us know if we can be of assistance.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world’s leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry. Follow us on Twitter: @ADL_NY