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Saudi-Princeton Talks

News Shorts

By Joanne L. Kenen

Princeton's negotiations with the Saudi Arabian government for funding of the university's life sciences program have evoked charges of anti-Semitism from a group of undergraduates.

Thomas A. Cohen, a spokesman for The Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Life at Princeton, condemned the negotiations Tuesday because "Saudi Arabia blacklists American businesses which deal with Israel and discriminates against Jews and women."

The committee's five members sent letters to the parents of all Jewish undergraduates last month to publicize their viewpoint.

The committee regards the Princeton-Saudi negotiations as a serious threat to the rights of Jewish students, Cohen said. He said they point to an increase in anti-Semitism on campus.

Princeton is planning a $28-million development program for biochemistry and other life sciences. The university is soliciting funds for the program from various sources, including the Saudi Arabian government, a Princeton official said yesterday.

William H. Weathersby, vice president for public affairs at Princeton, said Tuesday that the university has not concluded an agreement with Saudi Arabia as yet.

Jacques Fresco, chairman of the Biochemistry Department and a participant in the negotiations, said yesterday that charges of anti-Semitism are "totally ridiculous." Fresco also said he is Jewish.

Rabbi Edward Feldo of the Princeton Hillel Foundation said yesterday that he has met with students, faculty members and administrators and is "confident that this university will not compromise Princeton's non-discriminatory policies."

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