Your article on “The hard conversation” at Evergreen State College is important (“Evergreen: The hard conversation not taking place,” Dec. 10). Anti-Israel rhetoric is so pervasive at Evergreen that intellectual discourse is not possible.
Steve Niva, quoted in your article, heads a Middle East department that shamelessly distorts information about Israel. All are active in the [boycott, divestment and sanctions] movement, including the recent secret vote at the Olympia Food Co-op to boycott Israel. Niva is a Sabeel speaker and openly promotes BDS on campus.
Several Jewish organization representatives have expressed concern to Les Purce, president of Evergreen State. Yet he claims he is unaware of any problem. The President’s Diversity Fund has sponsored a number of anti-Israel speakers. Somehow there are “no funds” to support a speaker with an opposing view.
Professors, fellow students, and even campus student employers harass Jewish students who support Israel. One badgered student told her mother she no longer wanted to be Jewish. Anti-Israel Jews are held in high esteem. Emily Weisberg, who disclaimed any discomfort as a Jew on campus in your article, touts her travel to Israel on Birthright followed by a West Bank tour to document organized protests on the BDS Web site. She now lectures regularly to promote BDS.
Hillel students have reported protestors at a Shabbat dinner, threatening e-mail, jeers when wearing a kippah, and fear at speaking up. The situation is clearly out of balance and must be addressed.