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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Israeli ambassador to U.S. and former Palestinian prime minister visit Vanderbilt

Ambassador Michael Herzog’s visit to other locations in Nashville sparked protests by Nashville Jews for Justice, whose members include Vanderbilt students.
Vanderbilt+pedestrian+bridge+across+21st+Ave.%2C+as+photographed+on+Sept.+26%2C+2023.+%28Hustler+Multimedia%2FKasey+Kautz%29
Kasey Kautz
Vanderbilt pedestrian bridge across 21st Ave., as photographed on Sept. 26, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Kasey Kautz)

Salam Fayyad, former prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, and Michael Herzog, Israeli ambassador to the U.S., visited Vanderbilt last week to speak on their experiences in government and the ongoing conflict in the Middle East. Herzog also visited other locations in Nashville, which sparked protests by Nashville Jews for Justice outside a nearby synagogue.

Fayyad served as prime minister of Palestine from 2007 to 2013, during which he focused on infrastructure and institution-building to work toward Palestinian statehood. He currently serves as a distinguished fellow in the Brookings Institution’s Foreign Policy program and a visiting senior scholar at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs.

Herzog, a retired Israel Defense Forces brigadier general, has served as Israeli ambassador to the U.S. since 2021. He previously held roles as chief of staff and senior military aide to Israel’s minister of defense, as well as International Fellow of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. 

Conversations on campus

Fayyad and Herzog were invited guests of Associate Professor of Political Science Brett Benson’s class “Introduction to International Politics.” Fayyad also spoke with the Vanderbilt Project on Unity and American Democracy student advisory board and Open Dialogue ambassadors on March 27, while Herzog further met with members of Vanderbilt Chabad and Hillel on March 28. 

Sophomore Max Perry, an Open Dialogue ambassador who attended both sessions, identified the lunch with Fayyad as “one of the most meaningful conversations” he has had. He said Fayyad discussed, among other topics, his administration’s priorities of building hospitals, schools and other infrastructure in the West Bank.

“[Fayyad] answered tough questions, but he also provided a narrative that not a lot of people get to hear. That’s one of the values that Vanderbilt creates — to go to college, to explore your views, but also to be given perspectives you might agree with or you might disagree with,” Perry said.

Reflecting on the Chabad event, Perry shared that Herzog described the events and aftermath of Oct. 7, 2023, as a “national crisis” and spoke on the ongoing global “war of narratives.” Perry further identified common ground between Fayyad and Herzog’s narratives.

“Both Fayyad and Herzog at least one time spoke about how they want peace and how they want for people to be safe,” Perry said.

Engagement across Nashville

During his visit to Tennessee, Herzog also met with Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and, on March 29, visited Congregation Micah, a reform synagogue in Brentwood, Tennessee. 

“Honored to meet with Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., Michael Herzog, to share Tennessee’s unwavering support for the Nation of Israel amid unspeakable persecution,” Lee said in an April 2 Instagram post.

Herzog’s visit to Congregation Micah was protested by Nashville Jews for Justice, whose members include Vanderbilt students. In a press release shared with The Hustler, the group expressed “dismay” over Herzog being invited to speak on behalf of their community.

“The conflation of Zionism and Judaism fuels antisemitism and violence against all Jews. We do not agree with the Zionist rhetoric that Israel is acting out of self-defense, and we stand firmly with the Palestinian people and their right to freedom,” the release reads.

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About the Contributors
Brina Ratangee
Brina Ratangee, Editorial Director
Brina Ratangee ('24) is a student in the College of Arts and Science majoring in medicine, health & society and neuroscience. She previously served as News Editor. When not writing for The Hustler, she enjoys trivia nights, solving NYT crosswords and biking around Nashville. You can reach her at [email protected].
Kasey Kautz
Kasey Kautz, Deputy Photography Editor
Kasey Kautz (‘27) is from Weiser, Idaho, and is planning to double major in psychology and medicine, health and society in the College of Arts and Science. When not taking photographs for The Hustler, Kasey enjoys music, volleyball and spending time with friends. He can be reached at [email protected].
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The Vanderbilt Hustler welcomes and encourages readers to engage with content and express opinions through the comment sections on our website and social media platforms. The Hustler reserves the right to remove comments that contain vulgarity, hate speech, personal attacks or that appear to be spam, commercial promotion or impersonation. The comment sections are moderated by our Editor-in-Chief, Rachael Perrotta, and our Social Media Director, Chloe Postlewaite. You can reach them at [email protected] and [email protected].
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Suds
1 month ago

“Nashville Jews for Justice” pseudo Jews who shill for Hamas