Faculty key to improving Israels image on campus, report says

new york (jta) | The belief that students are the main instigators of anti-Israel activity on college campuses is wrong — it’s actually the faculty.

At least, that’s the premise of a report by the Israel on Campus Coalition, a group of 27 Jewish organizations that aid pro-Israel activists at U.S. colleges, and the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, a group that aims to bolster the U.S.-Israel relationship.

A few high-profile anti-Israel or anti-Semitic acts on some campuses have created the misconception that anti-Israel activity is widespread and directed by students, said the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise’s executive director, Mitchell Bard, who prepared the report.

But such flashpoints are rare, Bard says.

“The real problem is more insidious because it’s not as visible, and that is the absence of scholars who can teach about Israel in a way that is factual and even remotely sympathetic to Israel.”

Befuddled by the implacability of Arab governments, Mideast scholars sought to blame the conflict on Israel, said Martin Kramer, whose “Ivory Towers on Sand: The Failure of Middle Eastern Studies in America” is quoted in Bard’s report. That alleged bias has been compounded by Arab funding of many Middle Eastern Studies departments.