Brandeis newspaper editors Rebecca Blady and Hillel Buechler sensitively and articulately inform us that the majority of Brandeis students who oppose Ambassador Michael Oren as commencement speaker do so on the grounds that he will alienate a segment of the Brandeis community who “believe Israel’s accomplishments are dwarfed by its moral deficiencies” — a polite way of saying they question Israel’s right to exist — but that the students, themselves, do not generally share those views (“Israel Ambassador Wrong For Commencement,” Opinion, May 21).
Their “clarification” provides little solace. It is morally reprehensible and sets a terrible precedent for students anywhere to lend their support to those who seek to delegitimize Israel and pressure a university into discriminating against an Israeli speaker. Because, like it or not, Israel is legitimate, it is a close ally of the United States, a true democracy with a respected judiciary, and its ambassador has as much right to speak at a university commencement as the ambassador or head of state of any other nation of the world. And if an institution, like Brandeis, with Jewish roots can oppose Oren from commencement, then other universities with no such connection can make an even stronger argument to banish him from any speaking engagement.