5,000 sign petition backing Oren as Brandeis speaker


(JTA) — A petition supporting Brandeis University’s invitation to Israel’s U.S. ambassador to be the commencement speaker has garnered nearly 5,000 signatures.

The petition is responding to criticism by some students of the choice of Michael Oren and others to rescind the invitation. Graduation is scheduled for May 23.

Brandeis senior Adam Ross circulated the petition, which has been signed by current students, alumni, parents and members of the Jewish community, the Jerusalem Post reported Wednesday. 

A student petition criticizing the choice has been signed by about 150 current students, according to the report

Brandeis announced Oren as its commencement speaker and recipient of an honorary degree in April. The choice evoked a spectrum of responses in campus publications and online forums ranging from enthusiastic support to wary apprehension to outrage.

Oren was at the center of a debate over free speech after hecklers were arrested for repeatedly disrupting his address at the University of California, Irvine in February.

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