Touro chief, GOP rep, talk Israel and Obamacare


Anti-Israel bias in world media and the American response to it was explored at a well-attended forum on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, featuring Touro College President Dr. Alan Kadish and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-North Carolina).

Meadows, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, remarked that his wife, Debbie, found visiting Israel to be “a life-changing experience.”

“The freedom and the camaraderie there” affected her profoundly, he said. The couple invited other members of Congress to join them on subsequent visits.

In her introduction, Dr. Marian Stoltz-Loike, dean of Lander College for Women, said that in line with Touro’s commitment to enriching the Jewish heritage, “studying in Israel is part of our DNA” and “our support is fervent and unwavering.”

Meadows warned that anti-Jewish thought in Europe had “infiltrated the highest levels of government and education” and has not been this prevalent since World War II. “It is becoming part of the fabric,” he said.

Meadows agreed with an audience member who said more action was needed to enlist the U.N. and UNESCO’s cooperation on Israel’s behalf, saying that the U.N. had passed 354 resolutions against Israel and none against Palestinians.

Kadish asked if there should be concern over perceived anti-Semitic sympathies among the incoming members of the Trump administration. “There’s going to be zero tolerance for any kind of rhetoric that is expressed either outwardly or quietly in practice,” Meadows responded.

Meadows was asked how the careers of Touro’s medical and health sciences students could be affected by policy changes. He said he was optimistic that Congress would repeal the Affordable Care Act, which he said was responsible for the “mass exodus” of physicians from their individual practices into combined physician groups “just to survive.” 

Kadish said interest among students pursuing health careers was still robust and that he believed most were choosing the profession not for the money, but to follow their calling and to help people. Last year, there were 11,000 applications for just 205 openings at New York Medical College, a division of the Touro College and University System.

Later, Dr. Kadish asked students what they thought about the “polarization” of the nation’s political parties. A student said she was concerned that a “big divide” now existed between popular conservative Republicans. “How are they going to put things back together?” she asked.

Meadows replied that Republicans are unified in their belief in a strong national defense as well as “a strong Israel in the Middle East.” In domestic policy, the question is, he said, “how can Republicans be a generous party helping people with a safety net, and not be wasteful?”

This story reflects a correction in the number of applicants and openings at Touro's New York Medical College.