Letter To The Editor: In Support of Professor David N. Myers

The Board of the Historical Society of Israel wishes to express its full support of Professor David N. Myers as President and CEO of the Center for Jewish History in New York, and strongly objects to all attempts to slander or to depose him.

Professor Myers is today one of the most prominent scholars of modern Jewish history. He holds the prestigious Sady and Ludwig Kahn Chair in Jewish History at UCLA, and his learned books and articles are required reading for students of Jewish history in universities throughout the world. His engagement with Israel has been a constant aspect of his intellectual career; he participates in many conferences in Israel and continues to engage with Israeli scholars. There is no other scholar more suitable than Professor Myers to preside over an academic institution that seeks to gather, preserve, and promote learning and research of the history of the Jewish people.

Professor Myers, as many other academics in Israel and abroad, expressed critical views on several aspects of Israel’s governmental policies, and joined organizations concerned with human and civil rights (such as the New Israel Fund) or with the prospects of peace between Israel and the Palestinians (such as Peace Now). These are perfectly legitimate opinions and are neither a denial of the right of the State of Israel to exist nor in contradiction of the Zionist vision at its best.

In recent years several organizations have been publishing “black lists” of Israeli intellectuals and public figures who expressed some form of criticism of the Israeli government’s policies. We are deeply concerned by the anti-democratic spirit of all such attempts at intimidation and silencing of critical voices. The Board of the Historical Society of Israel thus calls for an immediate end to the defamation campaign, which presents all critical opinion as “anti-Zionist” and as “treason.”

The Historical Society of Israel

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forward.

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