When Columbia University’s President Welcomed the Nazi Ambassador to Campus

Nicholas Murray Butler served as president of Columbia University from 1902 to 1945. During that time, as Matthew Wills writes, he also acquired national fame as a scholar and political figure; among other things, he ran for vice-president on the Republican ticket in 1912, and in 1931 he won a Nobel Prize—shared with Jane Addams—for helping to negotiate the Kellogg-Briand Pact, in which France, the U.S., and Germany renounced war. But as Wills points out, Butler’s attitude toward Nazism has left a shadow over his legacy.

In May 1933, the Nazis burned tens of thousands books at universities across Germany. Works by Einstein, Freud, Heine, Mann, Remarque, London, and Zola, among many others, were consigned to the fires. One of the authors whose books were burned was Franz Boas, the famed Columbia University anthropologist, who had long waged a campaign against racist pseudo-science and “Nordic nonsense.”

[Butler] did not rise to the occasion of speaking out in support of Boas, or academic freedom in Germany. When the Nazis expelled Jewish faculty members and students from universities, Butler stayed silent, continued sending Columbia students to Germany, and welcomed Nazi-approved students in exchange.

Meanwhile, students on campus who protested Nazi barbarism were met with a heavy hand. Faculty members who recognized the necessity of public protest against Nazis were punished as well—Butler ended the careers of two of them. Columbia’s student newspaper noted that the school’s reputation suffered because of “the remarkable silence of its president” about the “Hitler government.”

Read more at JStor Daily

More about: Academia, Columbia University, Nazi Germany, Pacifism

Despite the Toll of War at Home and Rising Hostility Abroad, Investors Are Still Choosing Israel

When I first saw news that Google wasn’t going through with its acquisition of the tech startup Wiz, I was afraid hesitancy over its Israeli founders and close ties with the Jewish state might have something to do with it. I couldn’t have been more wrong: the deal is off not because of Google’s hesitancy, but because Wiz feared the FTC would slow down the process with uncertain results. The company is instead planning an initial public offering. In the wake of the CrowdStrike debacle, companies like Wiz have every reason to be optimistic, as Sophie Shulman explains:

For the Israeli cyber sector, CrowdStrike’s troubles are an opportunity. CrowdStrike is a major competitor to Palo Alto Networks, and both companies aim to provide comprehensive cyber defense platforms. The specific issue that caused the global Windows computer shutdown is related to their endpoint protection product, an area where they compete with Palo Alto’s Cortex products developed in Israel and the SentinelOne platform.

Friday’s drop in CrowdStrike shares reflects investor frustration and the expectation that potential customers will now turn to competitors, strengthening the position of Israeli companies. This situation may renew interest in smaller startups and local procurement in Israel, given how many institutions were affected by the CrowdStrike debacle.

Indeed, it seems that votes of confidence in Israeli technology are coming from many directions, despite the drop in the Tel Aviv stock exchange following the attack from Yemen, and despite the fact that some 46,000 Israeli businesses have closed their doors since October 7. Tel Aviv-based Cyabra, which creates software that identifies fake news, plans a $70 million IPO on Nasdaq. The American firm Applied Systems announced that it will be buying a different Israeli tech startup and opening a research-and-development center in Israel. And yet another cybersecurity startup, founded by veterans of the IDF’s elite 8200 unit, came on the scene with $33 million in funding. And those are the stories from this week alone.

But it’s not only the high-tech sector that’s attracting foreign investment. The UK-based firm Energean plans to put approximately $1.2 billion into developing a so-far untapped natural-gas field in Israel’s coastal waters. Money speaks much louder than words, and it seems Western businesses don’t expect Israel to become a global pariah, or to collapse in the face of its enemies, anytime soon.

Read more at Calcalist

More about: cybersecurity, Israeli economy, Israeli gas, Israeli technology, Start-up nation