The Atlantic

Study-Abroad Programs Enter the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Two University of Michigan instructors refused to write recommendations for students headed to Tel Aviv.
Source: Ammar Awad / Reuters

Twice this semester, University of Michigan instructors have made headlines for their opposition to Israel. In September, John Cheney-Lippold, an associate professor in the university’s American-culture department, took back his offer to write a student a letter of recommendation after learning she planned to study in Tel Aviv. On Tuesday, a nearly identical story emerged. The Washington Post reported that Lucy Peterson, a graduate student in political theory, had told an undergraduate she’d be “delighted” to write him a recommendation letter to study abroad. Then she learned he wanted to study in Tel Aviv, and she rescinded her offer.

Both instructors cited a boycott of Israel as their reason. And both promised that they’d be happy to write these students recommendations to study in other countries. They probably thought

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