Jewish Students Canceled Event With Israeli Speaker. Professors Say They Succumbed To Pressure

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UPDATE: This piece has been updated to include a comment from Academic Engagement Network Executive Director Miriam Elman.

The Jewish Law Student Association (JLSA) backed out of an event at Yale Law School (YLS) that they planned with a former member of the Israeli government due to outside pressure, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

The event scheduled for April 21 features Israeli former Knesset member Michal Cotler-Wunsh, who was invited to discuss and define antisemitism, according to the event page. JLSA was originally set to host Cotler-Wunsh for one of her stops during a speaking tour with the Academic Engagement Network but reportedly pulled out on April 14, one week ahead of the event, after concerns were raised that it would be too controversial, according to the Free Beacon. (RELATED: FBI Prepared To Investigate Swastika Carved Into Jewish Student’s Back As An Alleged Hate Crime)

Two professors and Cotler-Wunsh said that while JLSA did not announce a reason for abstaining from the event, the group had been facing pressure from others to cancel the talk, according to the Free Beacon. After JLSA stepped down, YLS deputy dean Yair Listokin took over and said that he would be hosting the event.

AEN Executive Director Miriam Elman told the Daily Caller News Foundation that she was “grateful” the event was still able to take place.

“I am grateful that Yale Law School’s Deputy Dean stepped up to host today’s event after the JLSA pulled out at the last minute,” Elman said. “Without his swift intervention, we would have had to cancel an event focused on how to define and combat antisemitism with relevant jurisprudence. That would have been a most unfortunate outcome for the Jewish community at Yale on the week of Holocaust Remembrance Day. I am relieved that this conversation can proceed as planned.”

Cotler-Wunsh is a former member of the Blue and White Alliance, which dethroned current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a short period, according to Times of Israel. The alliance is known for taking more liberal stances on issues such as same-sex marriage and desires to further conversation’s with Palestinians.

Cotler-Wunsh told the Free Beacon, “If I’m controversial, I don’t know who isn’t.”

Yale University recently came under fire for hosting a French professor and activist Houria Bouteldja earlier this month due to her anti-Israel and antisemitic comments, including support of the terrorist organization Hamas, according to The New York Post. The event was heavily criticized for being scheduled during the second night of the Jewish holiday of Passover.

Another student group, Yallies4Palestine, has also been pushing a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions resolution that would compel the Ivy League university to end its contract with G4S, a British multinational security group, providing security technology for both the university and Israeli security in the West Bank. The group accuses the Jewish state of “injustice, genocide, and ethnic cleansing” of Palestinians.

YLS, JLSA, Listokin and Cotler-Wunsh did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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