The Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV) today identified a Yeshiva University tenured professor as espousing “revisionist history” with a sharply anti-Israel bias. This followed publication of a statement by over 160 “Jewish Studies scholars” that criticized the Trump administration for recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and announcing its intent to move the US Embassy to that city. One of the signatories on the statement is Professor Jess Olson, an Associate Professor of Jewish History and Associate Director of the Center for Israel Studies at Yeshiva University (YU).
In a letter sent to YU President Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman last Thursday, the rabbis asserted that the statement “reads as objectively as a typical UN resolution,” pointing out, for example, that it equates Jewish and Arab historical claims to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. Whereas the Jewish people have prayed for and towards Jerusalem since the days of King David, Arabs invaded Israel, which was renamed Palestine by earlier Roman aggressors, as part of the Islamic conquest of the Middle East. The statement also recycles a series of falsehoods from the anti-Israel B’tselem organization.
The statement stands in marked contrast to Rabbi Berman’s own video, published by YU, that called the Trump administration move “confirmation of a long-standing reality, one that speaks to our hearts and sings to our souls.” In his video, Rabbi Berman points out that the Jewish Holy Temple is “to be called a House of Prayer to All Nations,” and expresses his hope that Jewish Jerusalem be “a source of inspiration and illumination” to all of humanity.
The CJV letter was written by Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld, Vice President of the CJV and an alumnus of the YU High School for Boys, and co-signed by the entire CJV Rabbinic Board, including alumni of YU’s undergraduate college, Cardozo Law School, Bernard Revel Graduate School and Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary. “It is an outrage,” said Rabbi Schonfeld, “that our alma mater has a professor teaching anti-Israel bias in the classroom. Academic freedom is no excuse for bigotry.”