Saturday, August 25, 2007

Columbia University Uses Israeli-Connected Law Firm To Lobby

One reason Columbia University President Lee Bollinger may have been so eager to issue a statement in June 2007 opposing the Palestinian solidarity academic boycott of Israeli institutions that most anti-war activists in the U.S. and other countries support, is that the law firm that lobbies for Columbia has an “Israel Practice” division. According to the Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel website (www.kramer-levin.com/israel) , for instance, the practice of a firm partner named Richard Gilden “encompasses representation of a number of publicly traded companies based in Israel, as well as representation of major investment banks that have led public offerings of companies based in Israel.” And another Kramer Levin partner, Ernest Wechsler “works extensively with foreign corporations, including a number of companies based in Israel, whose shares are traded in the United States.”

According to the Kramer Levin website, the law firm that lobbies for Columbia serves “a client base that includes some of Israel’s largest and most established companies” and offers “unmatched services and commitment to assist our Israel-based clients in achieving their worldwide objectives.” But Columbia’s legal and lobbying representatives don’t mention that Palestinian territory in the West Bank and elsewhere is still being illegally occupied by the Israeli Establishment’s war machine in 2007. Or that, according to the Jerusalem-based Alternative Information Center website (www.alternativenews.org) :

“Israel’s academic institutions discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel by restricting their enrollment; persecuting them for political involvement; gagging their freedom of expression and actively working to keep international students away from their towns and villages.”

Next: Time To Tax Columbia University & Other NYC “Non-Profit” Institutions?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've been waiting to see what you would write about the opposition to granting tenure to Nadia Abu El Haj.

Bob Feldman 68 said...

Thanks for sharing the news about the apparent undemocratic attempt by supporters of Israeli militarism in the Middle East to pressure the Columbia Administration to deny tenure to Nadia Abu El Haj because of the scholar's political beliefs. Sounds similar to what happened to Professor Finkelstein at the university where he taught. I'll try to look into which right-wing off-campus pressure groups are behind the undemocratic attempt to violate the academic freedom of Nadia Abu El Haj. In the meantime, there was a posting on the www.muzzlewatch.com on 8/16/07 which gives some information about the current "Columbia University-Nadia Abu El Haj/Academic Freedom Denial Controversy."