We have a denial from the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv in response to claims that the State Department was boycotting Ariel University by not invitng any of its students to President Obama’s planned speech in Jerusalem.
An official at the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv told JTA, however, that only students from academic institutions with partnerships or joint programs with the embassy were invited to the speech. The official would not comment on whether other institutions fell in the same category.
Of course, the explanation begs the question: Why doesn’t the embassy have a partnership or joint program with Ariel University? Is there a policy against such relationships with Israeli institutions in the West Bank? We’re working on getting an answer. But before you jump to any conclusions, remember that Israel only granted the school its university status a few months ago.