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Thursday, February 09, 2006

Further Follies For Ford

The Sun has been running a story for the past three days that I simply cannot believe has not yet been picked up in any significant way by the Jewish press.

The American Association of University Professors had a conference planned in Italy next week on the subject of academic boycotts. Earlier this week, the Sun pointed out that 8 out of the 21 participating professors had strongly and publicly supported academic boycotts of Israel. In addition, the Sun uncovered that one of the articles circulated to the conference's attendees was an anti-Semitic article, written by a Holocaust denier, originally published in a pro-Hitler publication. The conference's organizer claimed it was included "in error". I'm sure.

Alan Dershowitz in the Sun:
"It's an absolute scandal," a Harvard law professor, Alan Dershowitz, told the Sun. "No legitimate funding source should be associated with this, and the AAUP should not be associated with this. If the AAUP wants to have a conference like this, then they ought to have nonpolemical experts who are neutral and not coming there with an agenda and a specific country in their sights, which is exactly what's going on."

He added that the conference would "turn into a debate about boycotting Israel. I wonder how many of the same people would come if this were a debate about boycotting China or Cuba. ... They don't favor boycotts, they favor boycotts against Israel."

Mr. Dershowitz also questioned whether the circulation of the anti-Semitic article was an accident. "Accidents like that don't happen unless you're playing footsie with Holocaust deniers."
The kicker? This conference was being sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Nathan Cummings Foundation. They urged in two separate statements for the postponement of the conference.
In a joint statement on Tuesday, the president of the Ford Foundation, Susan Berresford, and the president of the Nathan Cummings Foundation, Lance Lindlom, said the paper's inclusion in the conference materials had "undermined the credibility of this conference as a forum for intellectually honest and rigorous exchange." The Rockefeller Foundation, which was to house the conference free of charge at its historic villa on the banks of Lake Como in Bellagio, Italy, issued a separate statement on Tuesday that asked the association to delay use of its facilities. "The sponsors of the conference and subsequent publications have stated that the credibility of the conference has been undermined. ... The Rockefeller Foundation shares these concerns," it said.
I recall that this is not the first time the Ford Foundation has had trouble with type of thing. Last year, they came under fire after a series of articles in the JTA found that:
Large financial grants from Ford enabled Palestinian groups virtually to hijack the 2001 U.N. Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa, and direct attacks against Israel and Jews.
In that same JTA article, an announcement was made of the hiring of Stu Eizenstat, former advisor to President Clinton, as a liasion between Ford and the Jewish community, to help implement changes in how Ford spends its foundation money:
Eizenstat said his predominant role will be to work with Ford to implement new guidelines for how Ford grantees can use their money.

"We are making explicit what was implicit before — that no grantee can support or participate in any acts of violence, bigotry, intolerance, discrimination or call for the destruction of any state," Eizenstat said.
Yeah. Maybe Eizenstat should work a little harder, or try to make an appearance at his desk sometime.

Kudos to the NYSun for their hard-charging coverage of this story.

5 Comments:

Anonymous REReader said...

Well, after all, Henry Ford was such a good friend to the Jewish people.

3:07 PM  
Anonymous charliehall said...

The AAUP at first tried to have the conference, then backtracked and cancelled it:

http://www.aaup.org/newsroom/ConferenceMessage.htm

I am a former member of the AAUP.

3:52 PM  
Blogger The back of the hill said...

It's also been mentioned elsewhere. Saw it on Ha'aretz dot com today.

Here it is, 2006, and stuff like this still happens. Am I surprised?

Well, no. Why would I be?

11:28 PM  
Anonymous ez.k said...

When will it become clear to the world that anti-Israel is just thinly vieled anti-semitism.

10:55 PM  
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