By: The Commentator Editorial Board  | 

No Chanukah Hechsher For Dole (Vol. 60, Issue 3)

The University Administration’s decision to award Senate Minority Leader Robert Dole (R-KS) a Doctor of Humane Letters at the upcoming 70th Annual Chanukah Dinner and Convocation on December 4 is deeply troubling, considering his record on issues of vital concern to University supporters and the general Jewish community. 

Surely, the University should seek out a big name to attract contributors to continue YU’s vital work, but that search carries with it the responsibility to select individuals worthy of the honor. Bob Dole does not meet that standard.

Simply put, in three decades of public life, Dole has repeatedly sought to thwart the pro-Israel agenda. Four years ago he proposed a 5% cut in aid to Israel, arguing that it was time to “re-examine” the need for that aid (New York Times, January 16, 1990). Bob Dole led the fight against a Congressional Resolution recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. And six months before the start of the Gulf War, Dole traveled to Iraq and praised Sadaam Hussein. Now, as he gears up for a presidential bid, Dole has changed his tune. But it is not the job of our University to aid Senator Dole’s election season conversion.

YU honors should be reserved for those who have distinguished themselves as friends of our community—not those who have repeatedly taken aim at our causes. To honor Senator Dole not only gives a hechsher to his record, but severely weakens the credibility of the very institution the contributors at the dinner have come to support.