Manzar Foroohar, a professor connected to the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, has been selected to chair a committee aimed at combating anti-Semitism in the California State University (CSU) system.
Foroohar, who teaches modern Middle East and Latin American history at California Polytechnic State University, was tabbed to chair a CSU Academic Senate 2012/2013 committee tasked with implementing the “Governor’s Task Force on Tolerance and Anti-Semitism,” an effort that began in 2010 to address anti-Semitism at California schools.
The professor, however, serves on the organizing committees of two prominent BDS groups, the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel and the Israel Divestment Campaign.
“Her selection defeats the whole purpose of the task force. We urge the [CSU] Academic Senate to take its responsibility seriously, and replace Professor Foroohar with someone more suitable for this role,” Roz Rothstein, CEO of the pro-Israel education group StandWithUs, told JNS.org.
Both CSU and Foroohar did not immediately return requests for comment from JNS.org.
In July 2012, a report released by the University of California Advisory Council on Campus Climate, Culture, and Inclusion found that “Jewish students are confronting significant and difficult climate issues as a result of activities on campus which focus specifically on Israel, its right to exist and its treatment of Palestinians.”
“The anti-Zionism and Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movements and other manifestations of anti-Israel sentiment and activity create significant issues,” the report added.
Foroohar’s appointment to the task force raises questions about CSU’s commitment to effectively addressing campus anti-Semitism, according to pro-Israel activists like Rothstein.
“Unfortunately, given Professor Foroohar’s record of anti-Israel views and activism, she will likely make the problem worse, not better,” she told JNS.org.
But Diana Guerin, chairwoman of the Academic Senate of CSU (ASCSU), told columnist Lee Kaplan of Campus Watch that she considers anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism as “two separate issues” and that “it was important for faculty to have a voice on this type of training for our students.”