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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Response to 'Rutgers must end relationship with Tel Aviv University'

Tel Aviv University represents a population of Arab-Israeli students and promotes critical dialogue surrounding the Israel-Hamas war.  – Photo by Evan Leong

On March 28, a commentary was published in The Daily Targum calling for Rutgers to sever ties with Tel Aviv University (TAU). The letter contains unsubstantiated, vilifying claims that should be corrected.

The letter claimed that "Tel Aviv University is arguably the university most directly involved in Israeli apartheid." This claim is not supported with compelling evidence. First, denoting Israel as "apartheid" is tendentious at best and malicious at worst, given that Israel is an ethnically and religiously diverse society.

Second, TAU pursues social equity in its student admissions, as more than 15 percent of its student body is composed of Arab-Israelis, which is approximately representative of the overall population. Arab-Israeli students are full citizens or permanent residents of Israel, and they receive the same education as Jewish students as well as the same state subsidies to offset the cost of tuition.

The claim that TAU sets government and military policy is also unsubstantiated. To the contrary, TAU faculty have been among the most vocal critics of the Netanyahu government and its approach to the current war. For example, TAU President Ariel Porat convened a symposium titled "Challenges of a Humanitarian Crisis in War," featuring noted experts on law, public health and other fields, on April 8.

As our campus and others across the U.S. contend with the awful conflict that Hamas has created, it is essential that we strive for honesty, nuance and respect rather than misinformation, caricaturization and demonization.

Rebecca Cypess is a professor in the Department of Music.

Perry Dane is a professor at Rutgers Law School.

David Greenberg is a professor in the Department of History, the Department of Journalism and Media Studies.

Cynthia Saltzman is a Lecturer in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice at Rutgers—Camden.

Kent Harber is a professor of Psychology at Rutgers—Newark.

Gary A. Rendsburg is a professor in the Department of Jewish Studies.

Michael Aaron Rockland is a professor Emeritus in the Department of American Studies.

*Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.

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