Dartmouth Announces Linda Sarsour Lecture, Days After Refusing to Co-Sponsor Event Featuring Israeli Soldier
Dartmouth College announced Wednesday evening that it will be hosting a lecture by virulently anti-Israel activist Linda Sarsour, days after an office at the school declined to co-sponsor an event featuring a veteran of the Israel Defense Forces.
The Sarsour event — to be held Friday evening in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month — is co-sponsored by the college’s Office of Pluralism and Leadership (OPAL) and Special Programs and Events Committee. According to a member of Dartmouth Students for Israel (DSI) — who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution by the administration — OPAL turned him down earlier this week when he approached them about co-hosting a program featuring Izzy Ezagui, the only soldier to ever return to battle after losing an arm in combat.
DSI was told by an OPAL representative that the Ezagui lecture “sounds like a great event, but it is felt that it does not meet the mission of OPAL.” The representative then suggested “more appropriate places to reach out to” for assistance, including the Student Accessibility Services, which the DSI member said is “generally not an organization that does events.”
On its website, OPAL describes its mission as “to foster a Dartmouth where all students can thrive, value difference, and contribute to the creation of a socially just world.”
The Ezagui event will go forward — with the co-sponsorship of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America on Campus, as well as the Dartmouth Chabad and Hillel centers — but the DSI member said he has asked OPAL to “kindly explain in more detail why the event does not meet the OPAL mission?”
In his follow-up email to OPAL, the DSI student wrote, “I looked at the OPAL mission prior to contacting the office and thought it was very compatible with a ‘comprehensive leadership development’ program, as well as representing historically under-represented groups (Izzy is a Jew, and is disabled, so both groups have been historically under represented at this college and nationally).”
Sarsour — who will be speaking on “how home and a sense of belonging is sometimes the result of our own personal advocacy,” according to the program description on Facebook — has been condemned by Democratic New York state Assemblyman Dov Hikind as “someone who associates with radical Islamists” and as a “bigot” by former national director of the Anti-Defamation League, Abraham Foxman.
Sandor Farkas, the president of DSI, told The Algemeiner that he and his friends are “outraged” by the Sarsour program, especially in “light of the recent controversy” surrounding a professor with ties to the campaign to boycott Israel who has been promoted to the consequential role of Dean of Faculty.
“I think Dartmouth College has shown a remarkable disregard for the concerns of the Jewish community by inviting renowned BDS advocate and Israel-hater Linda Sarsour,” said Farkas, who will graduate this spring.
“Over my four years at Dartmouth, I have always felt that our campus conversation around Israel was reasoned and respectful, with only an occasional exception,” he added. “While I want to believe that this coincidence [of two anti-Israel incidents in one week] is nothing more than administrative incompetence, OPAL’s refusal to co-sponsor an event with an Israeli speaker demonstrates otherwise. I am deeply saddened to graduate knowing that my Jewish friends on campus may face real hatred and discrimination, not only from other students, but from the highest levels of the college administration.”
Farkas said pro-Israel students plan to “stage a silent protest during the [Sarsour] event, including flooding [her] with difficult questions.”
Dartmouth’s announcement comes as the City University of New York (CUNY) has come under fire for inviting Sarsour to give the commencement speech at the graduation exercises for CUNY’s Graduate School of Public Health.
Representatives for OPAL did not immediately respond to The Algemeiner‘s request for comment.