Students across U.S. invite Oren to speak


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Dozens of presidents of university student bodies invited Israel’s U.S. ambassador to speak in the wake of his controversial appearances on two campuses.

"We, the undersigned, clearly recognize the shared values that bind the United States and Israel," says the letter to Michael Oren released Thursday and signed by 51 presidents of student bodies in 30 states and the District of Columbia by midday last Friday.  "We also understand the importance of a strong U.S.-Israel relationship.  Finally, we would be delighted – and honored – to welcome you to our campuses any time."

The letter, initiated by Brandon Carroll at Virginia Tech and Wyatt Smith at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, notes disruptions Oren faced recently speaking at the University of California, Irvine and protests ahead of his commencement address this weekend at Brandeis University.

"Such behavior is absurd and offensive," it says. "Please be assured that these individuals do not remotely represent American college students or mainstream campus leaders."

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