This week’s Jewish Advocate features two stories on controversy at Brandeis.

Brandeis students spar over Oren

The battle lines are forming as Brandeis students organize for and against the university’s decision to invite Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren as commencement speaker.

Hannah Vickers, a graduating senior, said she is upset by the choice.

“To me, graduation is the last chance for my grade to come together and be united, our last chance to all agree on one thing and put our differences aside,” Vickers said. “Oren, regardless of what you think of his politics, is a divisive figure.”

Senior Adam Ross has started a petition of students and alumni in support of Oren’s speech.

Ross said he understood objections to Oren “as someone who can polarize the campus and turn commencement into a political event.”

But he added that did not justify the heated rhetoric in student blogs and newspapers.

“There was a lot of incitement against Israel, accusing Oren of war crimes and genocide, and a lot of anti-Israel and anti-Zionist sentiments were being expressed through these venues,” said Ross.

Brandeis in Hot Water with Tea Party Movement

After protests, Brandeis pulled a poster advertising a forum on right-wing radicalism. Brandeis University found itself under attack from rightleaning media, angered by advertising that included a swastika for an academic conference that included a paper on the Tea Party movement.

Wednesday’s conference, “New Right-Wing Radicalism: a Transatlantic Perspective,” was sponsored by the university’s Center for German and European Studies. It featured papers primarily about the European Right wing and neo- Nazism in the United States. Only one discussed the Tea Party movement, “From Tea Parties to Armed Militias.”

The paper itself didn’t draw fire, but the logo used to publicize the overall conference – a swastika inside the international symbol of negation – caused some to suggest Brandeis was equating the Tea Party with neo-Nazism.

Radio talk host Michael Graham lit into the conference Friday on his mid-day show on 96.9 Boston. Fox News hosts Glen Beck and Megyn Kelly also picked up on the controversy.

To read more about these two stories, subscribe at