The Zionist Organisation of America (ZOA) has failed in its attempt to impose a censorship order on a workshop on Citizenship and Nationality in Israel/Palestine run by Colombia University, reported Huffington Post.
A workshop run by Colombia law professor, Katherine Franke, went ahead this weekend despite a ZOA bid to disrupt the workshop, which uses Zionist and Israeli texts, by securing a censorship order from the Middle East Institute which was a co-sponsor of the event.
The complaint made by the ZOA cited a failure of the workshop to comply with the Higher Education Act (HEA) on the grounds that the HEA requires ‘diverse perspectives’ which ZOA believes were lacking from the workshop.
However, the HEA does not require ‘diverse perspectives’ in regards to the funding of university programs- ‘variety in programming must reflect scholarly judgement, not subjective political conditions about what is ‘pro-‘ or ‘anti-‘ Israel or anything else’, said The Huffington Post.
The attack by the ZOA on the workshop is part of a wider effort by Israel and pro-Israel groups to pressure university programs to choose their material in support of Israeli policy. According to The Huffington Post, the letter also contained a thinly-veiled threat concerning the presence of ZOA supporters among donors to Columbia University.
ZOA’s failed bid was a blatant attempt to interfere with academic freedom and an attempt to politicize government regulation of academic material.