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Columbia Professor Karen Froud Only Boycotts The Wrong Types of Israelis (Jews)

Gary Leisman, Full Professor & Research Fellow at ‎the University of Haifa, writes the following:

It is not just tyrannical Russia, “wokism” and “cancel culture” that is creating the decline and fall of western civilization. It is also the tyranny of loss of freedom to think and conclusions drawn on the basis of media soundbites, political agendas, and a general lack of intellectual integrity. I share with you an email sent by a faculty person at Teacher’s College of Columbia University to numerous colleagues of mine who are potential contributors to a project in Neuroeducation. I also include my response to her. I would suggest that each of my friends understand the gravity of this event. As you know, I am Professor & Research Fellow at the University of Haifa and Professor of Restorative Neurology at Universidad de Ciencias Médicas in Cuba.


Hi, I am the guest editor of a special issue of the Journal Brain Sciences and we are producing a special issue of the journal entitled, “The Brain Goes to School, details for which can be found at the following link:…/brai…/special_issues/brain_school

We are recruiting both reviews and results of experimental studies that relate to human learning, its difficulties, remediation strategies, models, cognitive science, cognitive neuropsychology all essentially attempting to translate 150 years of cognitive neuroscience into classroom applications…….

Karen Froud, PhD (Columbia University Teacher’s College):

“Dear colleagues – I urge you to consider this request in light of the Boycotts, Divestments and Sanctions Movement for freedom and justice in Palestine. Like many / most academic institutions in Israel, Haifa University is an apartheid institution.

I recognize that many of you work within this institution and hope you are also doing your part for academic freedom.

Warm wishes for a peaceful and just world – which after all is where educational neuroscience as a field points us.

Karen Froud, Ph.D.

Program Director, Neuroscience & Education

Columbia University Teachers College”

Gary’s response to this Karen Froud is worth reproducing:

1. Firstly, it is quite audacious of you to claim that you support academic freedom by requesting others to shut down academic freedom. Before I begin, may I call your attention to the UN Declaration of Human Rights (1949) Article 19, which you obviously have not read, that states, “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression: this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” (So much for your understanding of Human Rights and Academic Freedom).

2. What you want is not a boycott but rather political pressure on second parties to pressure third parties to affect policy-change by that third party (i.e. the government the State of Israel). That is not even a secondary boycott but rather just simply bullying. So much for academic discourse on your part on an issue that has nothing to do with the project in Neuroeducation. What makes your opinions valid and those of others not? Some website? Do you base your actions on an order on a website? Your actions are inconsistent with the notion of Academic Freedom, but rather with an opinionated individual raming his/her political agenda down the throats of academics on a mailing list. This behavior does not seem to me to be supportive of Academic Freedom, but rather more consistent with the behavior of German schools and Universities of 1930’s. Would you like to ban books too – I think certain school districts in the United States already have (e.g. Maus). This is surely not how we proceed in the world of science and ideas. Now to the facts.

3. Israel is not an “Apartheid” state as you claim. Well over 40 percent of the students at the University of Haifa are of Arab descent. The Arab population of Israel is 21 percent. The enrollment of Arab minorities in higher education is approximately 17 percent – pretty close to the proportion in the population. Had you had the intellectual integrity to fact-check, you might have found that out yourself from OECD data. The same data shows that the number of students who work toward undergraduate and master’s degrees is rising. Does that sound like Apartheid to you? You should probably read a about what happened to non-“white” South Africans under Apartheid before you employ that term.

4. The recently appointed justice to the Supreme Court, Tel Aviv District Court Judge Khaled Kabub, is a Muslim. Bedouins, Israel’s indigenous Arab population, serve in the Army and many have given their lives in that regard. Israel’s population is a tapestry of Arab Muslims, Maronites, Coptics, Arameans, Assyrians, Druse, Caucasians (not the one’s on your university’s diversity forms), Circassians, Samaritans, Vietnamese, not to mention refugees from Eritrea, South Sudan, as well as refugees (non-Jewish) from Bosnia and Kosovo, besides the Jewish population, 60 percent of whom derive from Arab lands and Egypt as well as from non-Arab Muslim countries. Did you not know that?

4. The present government consists of a coalition that includes Dr. Mansour Abbas, leader of the Ra’am party and who de facto serves as a “kingmaker” and could easily bring the government down in a no-confidence vote.

5. Rana Raslan is an Israeli Muslim Arab woman who in 2021 became Miss Israel – that, Karen, does not happen in an Apartheid state.

6. Arab Israeli’s Hossam Haick has successfully developed technologies for sniffing out disease; Kossay Omary and Rabeeh Khoury developed miniature computers; Jamil R. Mazzawi founded Optima Design Automation, a startup developing software for self-driving cars and Mahmoud Huleihel made a breakthrough in the field of male infertility. Oh I could wax on, but investigate yourself.

7. Israel is a multi-ethnic society with its citizens sharing equal rights and hopefully equal opportunity.

8. Sixty percent of the Jewish population were heave-hoed from Arab lands. What do you have to say about that?9. In 1948 the UN partitioned the area into a Palestinian and Jewish State, the West Bank was occupied by Jordan. I guess you had no problem with that. A year prior, 25 August 1947, the UN did the same when it created West and East Pakistan (later Bangaladesh), Muslim countries, and separated them from India. The largest population move in human history occurred as result. The partition displaced between 10 and 20 million people along religious lines, creating overwhelming refugee crises in the newly constituted dominions. The result of that is still ongoing and violent and it is the Punjab. Got nothing to say?

9. Maybe I should boycott your institution for suppressing the voices and academic freedom of people who oppose your views. Maybe I should boycott US universities because your government has lied since its inception about the ideals of equality to wit, 3/5 human being, Alien and Sedition Act, Jew quotas in universities (including yours), lynchings of ethnic undesirables oh, and slavery. Maybe the USA should start thinking about giving back the Kingdom of Hawaii. Maybe you should boycott the University of Hawaii and all other American universities to pressure the US government to give it back.

10. More importantly right now, you have the audacity to attempt to shut down the free exchange of scientific ideas assuming that I am a full-time member of the faculty of the University of Haifa in Israel. Had you even bothered to look at my affiliation you might have noted that I hold a dual appointment at the University of the Medical Science of Havana in Cuba (appointment letter attached). Please read it and you will note that although Cuba and Israel do not have diplomatic relations, I was appointed by the Cuban Ministry of Health and by the Rectorate of Universidad de Ciencias Médicas de la Habana, of the Communist Republic of Cuba AS AN ISRAELI ACADEMIC (see link). Seems that the Cubans who understand embargo and have tough life largely owing to political forces in the USA, of which you seem to have no interest, especially understand the importance of Academic Freedom and the notion of the need to, “receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

11. With the world in the present state that it is in and possibly heading to WW III and nuclear threats coming from Russia, please relate to the concept of proportional thinking.

12. I don’t know if I can change your thinking as it seems that you have fomented opinions already. However, you need to apologize, at the very least, to the individuals on this list, for not dealing with me directly so that you could voice your concerns and I could listen and discuss ideas with you and you with me. That is what we do in academia. I expect nothing less.

I’d like to add a few more things. Like Karen Froud’s CV revealing she has collaborated with an Israeli institution before:

But more than that – she collaborated with an Israeli – just the “right kind”:

“Karen is very open to allowing all of us to pursue the questions we’re interested in,” says Khamis-Dakwar, who earned her Ph.D. in Speech–Language Pathology at TC in 2007 and is now Assistant Professor of Communication Science and Disorders at Adelphi University. Khamis-Dakwar, who is a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship, is collaborating with Froud to study Arabic diglossia, or linguistic duality.

Leaving aside the grossness of how her collaborative partner is not referred to as an Arab-Israeli, but rather “Palestinian with Israeli citizenship”, this seems to suggest that Froud has no problem collaborating with Israelis as long as they are not Jewish. There is a word for this, and you needn’t be a Professor of Neuroscience to work it out.

If you argue she may have changed her views on BDS since 2007, Froud was collaborating with Khamis-Dakwar as late as 2020, as her CV shows:

This is after she has has publicly come out in support of BDS.

I’d also like to add another thing. many students think Froud stinks as a professor.

“My experience was one that will haunt me forever She either did not like me for whatever reason or is just truly a nasty person with no desire to inspire future neuroscientists. She basically humiliated me in a room of my peers by belittling me and make jokes about my intellect when giving a presentation. It took a lot of Carl Sagan to bounce back.”

“Best course to mess up your overall grade! Poor quality instruction, least updated course material and worst grading criteria. Take her courses on your own risk. No, I do not recommend. I Strongly regret paying for this awful experience, I wish I found this page earlier!”

“Avoid if possible. She gives harsh critiques, which should be beneficial and I’m normally all for, but they’re not. Be sure to perfect APA format/referencing, down to the em dash, she’s a stickler for it. Not sure if she had a personal vendetta against me, but it sure felt like it. I genuinely don’t feel that I gained anything from this course”

“I regret taking this course at TC. This course can really mess up your GPA if you care about that. Teaching style : lacked empathy. Lectures were pre-recorded on you-tube unlisted category. Very little patience shown by Professor and team when reached out for help. I would highly recommend people consider other better courses and TC. Thanks.”

“All you get by registering for the EEG class is a link to her private youtube channel. She won’t teach anything in person. How will her intelligence be of any help if her way of communication is outright brutal? She appeared insensitive and unfair to me. I had a horrible experience! I DO NOT recommend taking EEG class with her.”

“Dr. Froud doesn’t ever bother to teach the class. Her doctoral students teach the class and it was a really bad experience for all of us.”

“Brilliant and knows her stuff well, but very defensive if pressed and can be nasty with feedback. The course lacked cohesion and direction – partially because the course did not have regular meetings – which falls well short of justifying the price of $1500/credit. Tough criticism is ok if the professor puts in the effort, this professor did not.”

She’s a bully. Go figure.

(Hat tip: Andrew Pessin)

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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