Turing Award winner Judea Pearl denounced New York University and threw aside his status as distinguished alumnus after the school honored Students for Justice in Palestine for its "extraordinary and positive impact on the University community."
Pearl graduated from NYU in 1965 and was given a Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2013. He is a professor of computer science at the University of California, Los Angeles. He also runs an organization named after his son Daniel Pearl, a journalist who was killed by terrorists in Pakistan in 2002.
Pearl spoke out against NYU's decision in a letter to college president Andrew Hamilton, the Algemeiner reports.
"In the past five years, SJP has resorted to intimidation tactics that have made me, my colleagues and my students unwelcome and unsafe on our own campus," Pearl wrote. "The decision to confer an award on SJP, renders other NYU awards empty of content, and suspect of reckless selection process."
Pearl went on to say that his past concerns voiced to university officials "have been met with platitudes about ‘free speech' despite the fact that the US State Department now includes, in its definition of discrimination, intimidation based on race, religion and ethnicity."
"I know the difference between free speech and campus norms," he wrote. "Entrusted with the mandate of maintaining a climate of learning and mutual respect, your office should distance itself from the SJP selection and explained to the campus why such distancing is necessary. In the absence of a corrective action by your office the academic standing of this university is begging for other voices to call out the Orwellian character of (SJP's) award."
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said that NYU's decision to honor SJP is "a slap in the face to the Jewish community, including Jewish graduates and significant donors."
"It is devoid of any ethical basis, rewarding professional propagandists who legitimize terrorism and demonize the Jewish State of Israel," he said, adding that other NYU affiliates should follow Pearl's example, according to the Algemeiner.