ADL WELCOMES STATEMENT FROM HAMPSHIRE COLLEGE THAT IT 'DID NOT DIVEST FROM ISRAEL'
Boston, MA, February 24, 2009 — The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed a statement from Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, that contrary to assertions by some members of the student body and faculty, the institution "did not divest from Israel."
A letter to Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director from Ralph J. Hexter, President of Hampshire College and Sigmund Roos, Chair of the Board of Trustees made clear that, "Hampshire College did not divest from Israel." They also made clear that the college currently holds investments in hundreds of companies that do business in Israel, and in at least three actual Israeli companies.
"We welcome this unequivocal statement from Hampshire College that it did not divest from Israel, and that Israel in fact played no role in the college's recent decision to disinvest from a mutual fund," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "This is an emphatic repudiation of the campaign of misinformation that has cast the college's investment decisions in a false and politically biased light.
"In their zeal to demonize Israel, some Hampshire students and others among Israel's detractors engaged in a deliberate campaign to mischaracterize Hampshire College's decision," Mr. Foxman said.
After reports that Hampshire had become the first institution of higher learning in the country to divest its holdings in Israeli companies, the League wrote to the college's president for clarification of its position on divestment.
In their response, President Hexter and Chairman Roos indicated that some students and faculty members had mischaracterized the college's investment decisions. "No other college or university should use Hampshire as a precedent for divesting from Israel, since Hampshire has refused to divest from Israel. We have stated this publicly."
President Hexter and Chairman Roos invited League officials to visit the campus, in order to work together to ensure that all students feel welcome and safe on campus.
"We look forward to an opportunity to meeting with officials at Hampshire College to discuss how we can work together to ensure that the campus remains a place of inclusiveness and respect for all students," said Robert O. Trestan, ADL Eastern States Civil Rights Counsel, who is based in Boston. "Hampshire College should provide a safe learning environment where differences of opinion, including divergent views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, can be expressed in an atmosphere of respect."
The Anti-Defamation League <http://www.adl.org/>, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry. Media should contact Robert Trestan 617.406.6360 or Myrna Shinbaum 212.885.7747, firstname.lastname@example.org.