AEN interactive webinars feature leading scholars, experts, and practitioners on issues related to AEN’s mission, including countering Israel delegitimization and antisemitism on campus, supporting academic freedom and free speech, and promoting rigorous discussion of contemporary Israel.
On August 31, 2023, AEN organized a webinar about the U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism, which was released earlier this year. Five distinguished faculty members and organizational leaders shared their perspectives on the national strategy, and discussed the ways in which it intersects with and may impact the work they do on campus and within the academy. Panelists included: Sara Coodin, Director of Academic Affairs at the American Jewish Committee; Miriam Elman, Executive Director of the Academic Engagement Network; Richard Herman, Senior Counselor for the Jewish United Fund/Federation of Metropolitan Chicago and formerly the Chancellor of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; KC Johnson, Professor of History at Brooklyn College; and Alyza Lewin, President of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law.
“Saving Anthropology as a Community of Scholars: Voices Opposed to the Revived Call to Boycott Israeli Universities” is a webinar featuring four distinguished anthropologists, each of whom described the ways in which a resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions at the American Anthropological Association would be harmful to themselves as scholars and to the AAA as an organization: Uzi Baram, Professor of Anthropology, New College of Florida; Harvey E. Goldberg, Sarah Allen Shaine Chair in Sociology and Anthropology (Emeritus), Hebrew University of Jerusalem (and former President of the Israeli Anthropological Association); Melvin Konner, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor, Department of Anthropology, Emory University (and member of the steering committee, Anthropologists for Academic Freedom); and Cynthia Saltzman, Lecturer in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice and Associate Member of the Graduate Faculty, Rutgers University-Camden.
In recent years, the anti-Israel movement has promoted a nationwide campaign alleging that American Jewish organizations are conspiring with Israel to harm minorities in the United States through police exchange programs and seminars which they fund and host in Israel.
In this webinar, Robbie Friedman, Professor Emeritus of Criminal Justice at Georgia State University and the Founding Director of GILEE (Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange), and Steve Pomerantz, Director of the Homeland Security Program at the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA), explained the origins of this pernicious campaign and the impact it has had on campuses, in the academy, and in other arenas, provided factually accurate information about U.S.-Israel cooperative initiatives in law enforcement and counterterrorism, and spoke about their personal experiences leading such professional development trainings.
On March 20, AEN hosted two distinguished legal scholars, Rachel Moran (UC Irvine School of Law) and David Bernstein (Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University), for a webinar about the US Supreme Court cases concerning affirmative action. The two shared insights about the cases, speculated about the upcoming ruling, and discussed possible implications for the campus landscape, offices of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and efforts to include the Jewish experience within DEI programs.
AEN members Thane Rosenbaum (Touro University) and Robert Katz (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis) discuss the connection between free speech rights and criticism toward Israel and Jews on campus and within the academy.
In this webinar, “Fear Factor: Jewish Responses to Antisemitism in the United States,” Rafael Medoff (Founding Director of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies) and Naya Lekht (independent scholar) discuss the ways in which American Jewry, including its leadership and communal organizations, have responded to antisemitism in the past and present.
Dr. Steve Greenbaum (Hunter College and the CUNY Graduate Center) discusses how Israel has played a prominent role in advancing electrochemical energy storage technology and emphasizes the importance of U.S.—Israel scientific collaboration. This webinar was hosted by AEN’s Section for Faculty in STEM.
Sylvia Barack Fishman (Brandeis University) and Andrew “A.J.” Nolte (Regent University) discuss the roots of common antisemitic tropes, how they impact contemporary American pop culture, and how they are reflected in on-campus discourses about Israel and Jewish identity.
Yael Aronoff (Michigan State University), Donna Robinson Divine (Smith College), and Elie Rekhess (Northwestern University) provide analyses of the most recent Israeli elections and their potential implications for campus discourse about Israel.
Dr. Beth Bernstein, senior lecturer of Spanish at Texas State University, focuses on Jewish identity in film and literature in this webinar hosted by Michael Saenger (Southwestern University), chair of AEN’s Section for Faculty in the Humanities.
Dr. Einat Wilf speaks about developing her syllabus for a fall 2021 course at Georgetown University about the history of Zionism, the reactions to the course from diverse groups of students, and her insights for faculty who wish to teach about Zionism and Israel in an often-challenging campus environment.
This hybrid webinar featured Dr. Ayal Feinberg discussing his topic “Hate’s Counterintuitive Outcomes,” and Jaquita Wilson-Kirby discussing her topic, “Believe the Bad Guys When They Tell You Why They’re Being Bad.” Dr. Feinberg is an assistant professor of political science at Texas A&M University-Commerce. Ms. Wilson-Kirby is an equity and inclusion facilitator & candidate for Georgetown (TX) City Council. It was sponsored by Michael Saenger (Southwestern University), the AEN Section for Faculty in the Humanities, and the AEN Section for Junior Faculty.
Hosted by Dr. Gary Grossman (University of Georgia), chair of the AEN Section for Faculty in STEM, this panel discussion focuses on antisemitism in Southern universities and in the South. Panelists were S. Perry Brickman, retired dentist and author; Dr. John Dayton, professor at the University of Georgia; Dr. Motti Inbari, professor at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke; and Rebecca Wilson, a graduate student at the University of Georgia.
AEN hosted a webinar with longtime AEN member Andy Pessin for a wide-ranging talk on his new satirical novel, Nevergreen, campus cancel culture, and the shifting landscape for Jewish and Zionist students and faculty.
Hosted by Michael Saenger (Southwestern University), chair of AEN’s Section for Faculty in the Humanities, this webinar features Rudy Williams, pastor of Friendly Will Missionary Baptist Church in Georgetown, TX, and Mendel Marasow, rabbi of Chabad of Round Rock in Austin, TX, who each address the role of compassion from Christian and Jewish perspectives.
AEN hosted a webinar featuring three experts on campus free speech and academic freedom discussing their recent research and writing, and providing insights to better understand these current issues, the challenges, and the opportunities. Panelists included Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill (Director of the Bipartisan Campus Free Expression Project at the Bipartisan Policy Center), Samuel Abrams (Professor of Politics and Social Science at Sarah Lawrence College and a Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute), and Michelle Deutchman (Executive Director of University of California National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement).
AEN’s Section for Faculty in the Humanities and Interest Group for Faculty in the Northeast hosted a joint webinar featuring presentations from four AEN members: Michael Saenger (Southwestern University): “The Shylock Trap and the Academic Jew;” Ellen W. Kaplan (Smith College): “Old Wine in New Bottles: Contesting Jewish Identity on the 21st Century American Stage;” Justin Cammy (Smith College): “Daniel Deronda and the Origins of Zionist Literature;” and Vered Weiss (Sonoma State University): “Made for Rejection: Racial Otherness and Narrative Empathy in The Wondrous Deeds of the Maharal of Prague by Yudl Rosenberg and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus.”
AEN hosted a webinar featuring a panel of four AEN members across rank and discipline discussing their experiences teaching about antisemitism on campus. Rachel Harris (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign), Meir Muller (University of South Carolina), James Nemiroff (Kalamazoo College), and Avi Patt (University of Connecticut) shared their course content and pedagogical philosophies regarding teaching about antisemitism as well as challenges, student responses, impacts on campus climate, and best practices for developing and implementing courses about antisemitism in different fields of study.
AEN hosted a webinar featuring Dr. Ethan Katz (UC Berkeley) and Rabbi Adam Naftalin-Kelman (UC Berkeley Hillel) who shared how they are using “Antisemitism in Our Midst: Past and Present” – an 11-minute film charting the history of antisemitism from its origins until today – as part of UC Berkeley’s Antisemitism Education Initiative to change the conversation about antisemitism on their campus and beyond.
AEN hosted a webinar featuring Ron Robin, President of the University of Haifa, and Daniel Chamovitz, President of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. During this event, which was moderated by Mark G. Yudof, Chair of AEN’s Advisory Board and former President of the University of California system. Presidents Robin and Chamovitz discussed how Israeli academic institutions promote diversity, multiculturalism, and co-existence, the policies they institute to help ensure that students from diverse backgrounds feel included, the opportunities for learning, growth, and co-existence that come from having a diverse student body, faculty, and staff, and how the student experience at the University of Haifa and Ben-Gurion University challenges the allegations and accusations often made by the global anti-Israel movement.
AEN hosted a webinar with six AEN faculty members providing a retrospective on the May 2021 Israel-Hamas hostilities, including the impact on regional peace efforts, legal aspects of the conflict, media fails, Jerusalem dimensions and the “cognitive war,” the impact on campus vis-a-vis anti-Israel activism, and the troubling violence that erupted between Arabs and Jews in Israel. Speakers included Donna Robinson Divine (Smith College), Chuck Freilich (Columbia University), Oren Gross (University of Minnesota), Richard Landes (Boston University), Andrew Pessin (Connecticut College), and Elie Rekhess (Northwestern University).
AEN hosted a webinar with Dr. Bruno Chaouat, a professor of French and Jewish Studies at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Chaouat examined the rise of antisemitism in contemporary France and how the country is responding to it. He also discussed the differences and similarities between antisemitism in France and the U.S. This webinar was organized and moderated by Professor Oren Gross (University of Minnesota Law School), chair of AEN’s Section for Faculty in Law, and Professor Dan Gordon (University of Massachusetts, Amherst), chair of AEN’s Interest Group for Faculty in the Northeast.
AEN hosted a webinar with Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, a lecturer at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and co-founder of the AMCHA Initiative, a nonprofit that combats campus antisemitism. Rossman-Benjamin discussed how Jews and Israel are presented in the field of Ethnic Studies both in California and the broader United States. The webinar was organized and moderated by Professor Joel Hass (UC Davis), chair of AEN’s Interest Group for Faculty in California.
AEN hosted a webinar with Kenneth L. Marcus, the Founder and Chairman of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, and a former Assistant U.S. Secretary of Education for Civil Rights. Marcus discussed ways of recognizing and addressing antisemitism in higher education, as well as his own work in the field.
AEN hosted a webinar with Dr. Einat Wilf, the prominent Israeli author and thought leader. Wilf discussed Israel’s growing legitimacy in the Middle East, particularly in the wake of the recent Abraham Accords, and contrasted these developments with the anti-Zionist currents founds in certain corners of the West.
AEN hosted a webinar with Professor Dale Carpenter, the Judge William Hawley Atwell Chair of Constitutional Law at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law. Carpenter spoke on the topic, “Free Speech and Equality on Campus: Some Principles and Recommendations.”
AEN hosted a webinar with Cary Nelson, Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, who discussed his newly released research paper, “Not In Kansas Anymore: Academic Freedom in Palestinian Universities.” This paper, the first in AEN’s newly launched Research Paper Series, details how academic freedom is suppressed on Palestinian campuses through violent factionalism, religious extremism, and incitement.
AEN hosted a webinar featuring Dr. Joseph I. Castro, current President of California State University, Fresno, and incoming Chancellor of the CSU System. During this event and the Q and A which followed, President Castro discussed how COVID-19 has impacted college and university campuses – academically, financially, and socially; the potential opportunities for innovation and inclusivity which may result from COVID-era shifts; and his views on diversity, inclusion, and the role of ethnic studies on college and university campuses.
AEN hosted a webinar featuring Cherryl Smith, Professor Emerita of English at California State University- Sacramento. Prof. Smith discussed her new book Framing Israel: A Personal Tour of Media and Campus Rhetoric. AEN member Amy Elman, Professor of Political Science at Kalamazoo College, moderated the discussion.
AEN hosted a webinar featuring Avi Avital, a neuroscientist at the Technion in Haifa. Avital discussed the successes – and failures – in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic on the part of the Israeli government and medical institutions, as well as various sectors of Israeli society. AEN member Gary Grossman, Professor of Animal Ecology at the University of Georgia, moderated the discussion.
AEN’s third webinar featured Matti Friedman, the prominent Israeli journalist and author. Friedman discussed how Israel’s Mizrahi population (Jews from Arab countries and their descendants) has shaped and shifted Israeli politics, culture, and society, and how to integrate these narratives into on-campus discussions.
This webinar featured a panel of experts who shared multiple perspectives on the utility and impact of the recent Executive Order: Joe Cohn, legislative and policy director for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE); Alyza D. Lewin, president and general counsel at the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law; and Benjamin Ryberg, chief operating officer and director of research at The Lawfare Project. The webinar recording includes the opening and closing remarks of the panelists as breakout sessions were off the record and not recorded.
AEN’s inaugural webinar featured Gil Troy, professor of history at McGill University and author of The Zionist Ideas: Visions for the Jewish Homeland – Then, Now, Tomorrow. Troy described how the ideas and concepts discussed in his book could serve as catalysts for rigorous, proactive discussions about Zionism and Israel which counter the one-sided narrative often heard on many campuses. Troy also authored the Why I am a Zionist pamphlet as a part of AEN’s Pamphlet Series.