Friday, February 13, 2009

Hampshire College

Hampshire College in Amherst has now become the first US institution of higher education to divest from Israel. The school is famous for a couple of reasons, but one of them is that it hosts the National Yiddish Book Center. The conflict between certain elements of the Jewish Diaspora and Zionism is not new. But, the presence of such a symbolic institution of the cultural history of the Jewish Diaspora at Hampshire certainly highlights this conflict. In the larger scheme of things it looks like the movement for Palestinian human rights is finally starting to get some support in the US.

5 comments:

Levi9909 said...

Fascinating! Where did you get the information about the Yiddish Book Center? Was it something you knew or has it been mentioned in the news of the divestment?

J. Otto Pohl said...

Mark, I visited Hamsphire College in 1996 and 1999. The National Writers Union (UAW Local 1981) used to have its annual meetings there. I was an elected delegate to the At-Large Local in the two years mentioned above. It is impossible to miss the Yiddish Book Center when at Hampshire. As far as I know it has not been mentioned in the news about divestment.

Levi9909 said...

It has now!!

J. Otto Pohl said...

Oops, I meant to write I visited Hampshire College in 1996 and 1998 not 1999. The Yiddish Book Center was completed in 1997.

The Red Son said...

I had several friends who went to Hampshire College and have actually climbed up on the of the roof of the center, which they referred to as the "Yiddish Tripping Center" because non of them ever went there except to trip in the back garden. I am curious as the reaction from alums and parents, a good number of whom are Jewish.

Anyways I too noted this in my blog post on this subject. I know many member of the student group who organized this, many of them are my comrades.