"It is with deep regret that the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) learned of the American University of Beirut’s (AUB) decision to honor Sir James Wolfensohn at this year’s commencement. It was with even greater disappointment that we read AUB President Peter Dorman’s letter to faculty, students, staff and alumni dated 11 June 2011 . In that letter, Dorman levels accusations at his own university community as he explains the university position regarding the cancellation of Wolfensohn’s appearance at commencement and, therefore, Wolfensohn’s inability to receive the honorary degree.
As a campaign, we normally defer to our local partners to handle internal debates as we always feel they are in the best position to do so. However, in this case, PACBI believes that the strong ties and wide common denominator between Palestinians and Lebanese in the struggle against Israel’s occupation and decades-old violations of international law and our respective people’s rights invite such an intervention from us. Our AUB colleagues and supporters, as well as Palestinian AUB Alumni have also asked us to get involved, as this case clearly has the potential to undermine our persistent and increasingly growing work for Palestinian rights. Thus, when the AUB president, representing the institution, came out in his June 11 letter attacking his own community and the Lebanese community at large, we felt it important to weigh on this issue in support of our Lebanese and Palestinian colleagues and partners in Lebanon fighting for justice on all our behalf. Moreover, the obvious misrepresentation of Wolfensohn’s role in Palestine and his explicit connections with Israeli institutions required a response on our part."