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The GW Hatchet

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GW for Israel launches petition condemning interim Elliott School head

GW for Israel launched a petition Tuesday urging officials to reconsider appointing current Elliott School of International Affairs Vice Dean Ilana Feldman as the school’s interim leader.

The petition states that Feldman is a “fervent” supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement – a nonviolent movement aimed at pressuring Israel not to occupy Palestinian territories. The petition states that officials should reconsider choosing Feldman in the interim and select a “better-suited” candidate as the school’s permanent dean.

“We find it highly problematic that the University selected an individual who has worked to hinder international dialogue and exchange to head ESIA,” the petition states.

The petition states that Feldman has a record of “minimizing terrorism,” “delegitimizing” the State of Israel and advocating to cut ties with Israeli academic institutions.

Boycotts “subvert” educational opportunities and curtail faculties and students’ academic freedom to conduct research on Israel, the petition states.

The petition has garnered more than 800 signatures as of Wednesday.

GW for Israel did not immediately return a request for comment.

Officials announced Monday that Feldman will become the school’s interim dean at the end of this month as outgoing Dean Reuben Brigety prepares to step down at the end of the semester to become the vice chancellor and president of Sewanee: The University of the South.

GW for Israel posted a statement on Facebook later the same day condemning the Elliott School’s appointment of Feldman as the school’s provisional leader. The post states her support of the BDS movement will “isolate” Israeli students and those who support a Jewish State of Israel.

University spokeswoman Crystal Nosal said Wednesday that officials chose Feldman based on “strong support” from Elliott School members like Brigety and several faculty members. She said Feldman has demonstrated, as vice dean, her respect for and commitment to all students, faculty and staff in the school.

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