Hunter College announced its decision to reschedule the screening of the contentious documentary “Israelism” after a widespread outcry over its initial cancellation. The screening, originally set for November 14th as part of a film series arranged by a professor in the college’s film and media department, stirred controversy due to its critical take on Israel. Planned discussions with the film’s director and a protagonist, portraying a young American Jew’s experiences in Israel and the West Bank, were halted following safety concerns.

Interim president Ann Kirschner cited the “current climate” in the cancellation announcement, aiming to balance free speech and academic freedom while addressing potential antisemitic and divisive rhetoric. However, this move triggered uproar among Hunter’s academic community and garnered criticism from organizations advocating for free expression.

Following substantial backlash and demands from the Hunter Senate for a rescheduled screening within a month, the college confirmed on Wednesday that the screening would take place on December 5th. The event would also feature discussions involving one of the directors, Erin Axelman, and Rabbi Andy Bachman.

The film “Israelism” has received acclaim and accolades since its February release, securing awards and screenings at various community venues and universities, albeit amid controversies. While praised for its critical perspectives, it has also faced allegations of antisemitism, resulting in online campaigns urging institutions to cancel screenings.

Several screenings proceeded without disruption, but the University of Pennsylvania declined a Jewish student group’s screening request due to safety concerns. However, the film was eventually shown without permission under the auspices of the school’s Middle East Center.

At Hunter College, the upcoming screening will be exclusively for students, a departure from the series’ usual accessibility to the public. Professor Tami Gold, the event’s organizer, expressed reservations about the college’s requirement to add a rabbi to the program. Despite this, she praised the administration’s response to faculty and student concerns, emphasizing the importance of fostering dialogue and open discussions on campus.

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