Fordham’s Decision to Block Pro-Palestine Group Is an Attack on My Academic Freedom


By Jacob Linker /
March 13, 2017

Fordham University has a real problem with political speech. In the name of avoiding controversy, they suck the air out of political life on campus and then act surprised that so few are able to take a deep breath. The fear of political polarization or controversy . . . often stifles meaningful dialogue on campus and deprives students of the opportunity to engage in the marketplace of ideas.

I am a proud Jew and a proud American. However, I cannot defend the actions of my school — Fordham University — which has recently blocked the formation of a Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter on campus.

On November 17th, the United Student Government stated that SJP “fulfills a need for open discussion and demonstrates that Fordham is a place that exemplifies diversity of thought.”

However, Dean of Students Keith Eldredge would go on to deny SJP official recognition. He stated that Fordham “cannot support an organization whose sole purpose is advocating political goals of a specific group, and against a specific country.” Seemingly unaware of the irony, he went on to argue that “the Israeli-Palestinian conflict . . . often leads to polarization rather than dialogue.”

I am a proud defender of the state of Israel, the only nation in the region stretching from Morocco to Pakistan where citizens have a completely free press, unimpeded freedom of speech, and true civil liberties. I stand with Israel as it defends itself when Hamas attacks, regardless of the cries of an international community that routinely looks the other way as crises occur in Burma, Nigeria, Syria, and countless other hotspots. I defend the settlements in Jerusalem and the blocs which are generally understood to be a part of the State of Israel in any meaningful peace agreement.

I support the strong Israeli-American relationship with all of the economic, technological, security benefits it entails for both sides. When I see Palestine activists denounce Israel and look the other way towards Palestinian stubbornness and corruption, I am angered. I come from a household where when my parents found out about SJP being denied, I was asked by my father, who sounded incredibly proud, if I had anything to do with it.

But Fordham University has a real problem with political speech. . . .

[Read the full article here . . . ]