Nearly 500 people, most of them Jewish studies scholars, have signed a petition supporting the David Myers, the head of the Center for Jewish History, amid calls for his ouster over ties to liberal groups.
The petition comes days after public relations executives Ronn Torossian and Hank Scheinkopf launched a campaign against Myers over his leadership role at the New Israel Fund, a dovish pro-Israel group.
The petition calls the campaign “scurrilous,” accusing Myers’ opponents of “the worst kind of McCarthyism.”
“David Myers is a distinguished historian of Jewish civilization, with a stellar reputation of academic leadership in North America, Israel, and throughout the world,” the petition reads. “With a proven track record of dynamic leadership, institution building, and community outreach, he is the ideal person to direct the Center for Jewish History. Calls for his ouster based on ad hominem charges on purely political grounds must be rejected.”
Prominent signatories include New York University’s Hasia Diner, Susannah Heschel of Dartmouth College, Michael Walzer of Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study, Deborah Lipstadt of Emory University, and Steven M. Cohen of HUC-JIR.
Josh Nathan-Kazis is a staff writer for the Forward. He covers charities and politics, and writes investigations and longform.