New York, NY, June 12, 2008 … Against a backdrop of renewed calls for an academic boycott of Israel, a group of leading American academics traveled to Israel as part of a symposium and study tour designed to raise awareness of the State of Israel as a civil society founded in democracy, free speech and due process.
The From Ivy to Olives Academic Symposium and Study Tour, which took place in Israel from May 26-31, brought prominent professors of law from prestigious American universities into contact with their counterparts in academia and jurisprudence in Israel. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) organized the symposium and study tour in partnership with Columbia Law School and Israel's Ono Academic College.
The symposium and mission to Israel included briefings with journalists, military officials, diplomats, Palestinians, an Israeli Supreme Court justice and Israeli academics in the fields of law, university governance and management.
"At a time when calls for an academic boycott of Israel have regained traction in Great Britain and elsewhere, here was an opportunity for academics from the United States to deepen their understanding of Israel and gain firsthand exposure to those who grapple with issues of free speech, human rights and terrorism," said Kenneth Jacobson, ADL Deputy National Director and the symposium's scholar-in-residence.
"At the same time, it was a unique experience for both Americans and Israelis, as many of the top American legal authorities on the subject of corporate governance dialogued with their Israeli counterparts. This comes at a moment when Israel is playing more and more of a role in the international corporate world."
Institutions represented on the mission included Columbia University School of Law, Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, New York University School of Law, New York Law School, Yale Law School, Willamette University, Stanford University School of Law, the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, the University of Southern California Gould School of Law, and the University of Alberta.
The two-day symposium focused on issues of freedom of speech and corporate governance, and also involved participants from Ono Academic College, Bar Ilan University, Tel Aviv University, Netanya Academic College, Hebrew University, Radzyner School of Law, Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, and Ben-Gurion University School of Management.
The program was made possible thanks to the generosity of The Finkelstein Foundation and The Leslie and Roslyn Goldstein Foundation.