That Duthu that you do so well

Dartmouth’s prospective Dean of Faculty Bruce Duthu has responded to the furor his appointment has created in light of his support of the BDS movement. We posted Professor Alan Gustman’s message to the Dartmouth board and faculty here over the weekend. Dean Duthu has now circulated a letter to the faculty. Algemeiner has posted a blurry PDF of the letter here along with this summary:

“I continue to believe in the right of private citizens to express criticism of any country’s government policies. At the same time, I do not believe that a boycott of academic institutions is the appropriate response. Instead, I support sustained, open and collegial engagement with fellow academics, including collaborative research and teaching.”

Duthu continued, “In my role as Associate Dean for International Studies and Interdisciplinary Programs, I have embraced” the position of the Dartmouth president, who rejected BDS in 2013. “[A]s Dean of the Faculty, I will continue to fully support it [the president’s position],” Duthu wrote.

Duthu added that on “subjects that are particularly contentious, divisive or polarizing, such as the issue of academic boycotts generally or criticism of the state of Israel,” it is his “firm expectation” that they will be discussed with “open and civil discourse.”

He also noted that he “condemn[s] anti-Semitism.”

Professor Gustman has issued the following statement on Duthu’s letter:

Professor Duthu’s statement to the Faculty does not reconcile his past support for the BDS movement with his current position that he does not support academic boycotts. He does not simply say, I withdraw my support from the letter I signed. He cannot, without contradiction, 1) assure council signers of the NAISA document and holders of their position of his continuing support for their document, which calls for action to boycott Israeli academic institutions, and at the same time 2) administer his job as Dean of the Faculty, while assuring Dartmouth, as his letter does, that he will not take such action.

Professor Duthu’s response to the Faculty is an attempt to avoid the anger his public advocacy of BDS has created without repudiating the reasons his positions created this anger in the first place.  The BDS movement is anti-Semitic. The chant of the BDS movement, from the river to the sea, is anti-Israel, anti-Zionist, and profoundly anti- Jewish. It refers to sweeping the Jews out of Israel. Again, this movement has become a cover for many anti-Semites who like nothing better than to once again be free to exercise their prejudices. It also is important to understand, especially when evaluating the significance of appointing a BDS advocate as the Dean of the Faculty, that BDS is not just a statement of beliefs or a philosophical movement: it is a statement of action.

As Dean of Faculty Professor Duthu represents the Faculty of Dartmouth.  If Professor Duthu wishes to quiet the anger he is hearing from faculty and Alumni, he must clearly and unambiguously repudiate his past support of BDS or give up his position and go back to the faculty where he can freely advocate for his beliefs – the view his letter implies that he continues to hold as a “private citizen”.

If he does not clearly and unambiguously repudiate his position and support for BDS, the anger directed his way will only get louder. In view of Dartmouth’s anti-Semitic history and Professor Duthu’s apparently continuing endorsement of the anti-Semitic BDS document, Dartmouth must not simply appoint Duthu to the position of Dean of the Faculty and ignore the implications of that appointment.

Alan Gustman
Loren Berry Professor of Economics
Dartmouth College

The BDS movement of which Dean Duthu is an active supporter in his professional capacity reeks of anti-Semitism. Rather than defend it, Dean Duthu asserts that his advocacy of BDS simply reflects his views “as a private citizen” and assures his colleagues that he will not act on it. Duthu does that voodoo so well; he must think the faculty are idiots. I agree with everything Professor Gustman has had to say and am grateful for his raising the issue.

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