AEN held its 5th National Conference in person May 16-18 in Washington, DC/Silver Spring, MD.
Nearly thirty faculty members attended the conference in-person, with dozens more joining for select virtual sessions. Over the course of the conference, participants heard multiple presentations about the issues at the core of AEN’s mission and engaged in discussions and strategy sessions about creating positive change on their respective campuses.
The National Conference occurred at a time of increased challenges for faculty seeking to counter the delegitimization of Israel on campuses.
Said Mark G. Yudof, chair of AEN’s Advisory Board, “Gathering at this moment is particularly critical given the uptick in antisemitism and anti-Israel activity on university and college campuses and other arenas of the academy…Jewish and Zionist students, and increasingly faculty and staff, are facing significant challenges as they seek to hold firmly to their beliefs and values.”
Miriam Elman, AEN’s Executive Director, provided an overview of the growing virulence of anti-Israel campus activism and its impact on Jewish and Zionist students and faculty. Jeffrey Herf (Professor of History, University of Maryland) spoke about his new book, Israel’s Moment: International Support for and Opposition to Establishing the Jewish State, 1945–1949. Ron Robin (President of the University of Haifa) discussed his university’s commitment to diversity and coexistence, and its educational exchanges with the UAE.
Ellen Cannon (Professor of Political Science, Northeastern Illinois University), Donna Robinson Divine (Professor Emerita, Smith College), and Jarrod Tanny (Associate Professor of History, UNC Wilmington) presented responses to the themes addressed in AEN’s recently-published Guide for faculty and administrators. Concurrent panels focused on countering stereotypes through Israel education and mobilizing STEM faculty to oppose antisemitism and anti-Israel bias.
Naomi Greenspan (Director of AEN’s Improving the Campus Climate Initiative) discussed incorporating antisemitism education within diversity, equity, and inclusion training. Irwin Cotler (Canada’s Special Envoy on Preserving Holocaust Remembrance and Combatting Antisemitism) provided historical background on how the rhetoric of human rights has been weaponized for antisemitic purposes. Kenneth L. Marcus (Founder, Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law) explained how campus antisemitism could be addressed through legal means.
The full conference program can be viewed here or below. The program includes a welcome letter from Executive Director Miriam F. Elman and Advisory Board Chair Mark G. Yudof, the conference agenda, speaker biographies, and the entire list of conference participants.