A California college is scheduled to vote Thursday on whether to end its study abroad program with an Israeli university — a push that appears to have picked up the support of freshman Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.
Pitzer College, a private liberal arts college in Claremont, Calif., currently runs a range of study abroad programs with a number of countries, including some with poor human rights records such as China, Turkey and Cuba.
But it is the trips to Israel, specifically the University of Haifa, that have sparked the ire of students and members of the faculty, and a vote is scheduled Thursday afternoon to suspend the program. The vote will be taken by the university’s College Council, which, according to its website, has the power to make recommendations to the president of the college.
The president, Melvin Oliver, has fought back against the push to end the program. According to The Student Life, he said in November that ending the program would mark a “major blow” to the college and noted the other countries to which the college runs study abroad programs.
The controversy is notable in particular to its similarities to the controversies over support for Israel currently ongoing in Washington, D.C., where freshmen members of Congress have reignited the debate over U.S. support of Israel. In particular, Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., drew bipartisan condemnation for her comments about Israel, including alleging that those backing Israel were pushing for U.S. politicians to declare “allegiance” to the country.
One of those freshman members of Congress, Rep. Tlaib, was pictured offering her support for Pitzer’s move to end trips to Israel. Daniel Segal, a professor at the college who backs ending the study abroad program to Israel, posted pictures this week of her wielding a folder with the hashtag “#SuspendPitzerHaifa.” – READ MORE