letters | commencements turn into a war of words

Wrong to call Abraham Foxman’s foes intimidating, bullying

In her article on recent commencement speakers (“Graduates hear Walsh’s trials, triumphs,” Metro, May 18), Meghan E. Irons writes about the controversy surrounding the selection of Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, as commencement speaker and recipient of an honorary degree at Suffolk University Law School. Foxman referred to those who opposed his selection as engaging in intimidation and bullying, and said that they tried to block him from speaking. These accusations are without foundation.

Student actions expressing displeasure were respectful and included an effort to host a community forum to raise awareness on the issues. Invitations to Foxman and others at the ADL to participate in this forum were declined or never answered. Moreover, opposition was centered around objections to an honorary degree rather than an effort to block speech.

Foxman’s charges of intimidation and censorship are ironic given the ADL’s own efforts to silence some critics of the Israeli government’s violations of international law by calling certain critiques anti-Semitic.

Ragini Shah


The writer is an associate clinical professor at Suffolk University Law School. Her views here are her own.