Does boycotting Israeli academics advance academic freedom?

The boycott of Israeli academics

On December 15th, the American Studies Association (ASA), an academic organization dedicated to the “interdisciplinary study of American culture and history,” endorsed a resolution calling for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.

The boycott resolution was in response to Israel’s denial of academic freedom to Palestinian scholars, and others critical, of the Israeli government.

The ASA maintains that individual Israeli scholars will still be able to attend conferences hosted by the ASA, as well as collaborate and publish with its members. However, the ASA will no longer share resources with Israeli institutions of higher education, and it is unclear as to when a scholar can be deemed to be acting “on behalf of the Israeli government,” leaving the door open for individuals to be singled out as part of the boycott depending on the nature of their work.

More from the ASA’s website:

[The ASA boycott is] limited to a refusal on the part of the ASA in its official capacities to enter into formal collaborations with Israeli academic institutions, or with scholars who are expressly serving as representatives or ambassadors of those institutions (such as deans, rectors, presidents and others), or on behalf of the Israeli government, until Israel ceases to violate human rights and international law.

We are expressly not endorsing a boycott of Israeli scholars engaged in individual-level contacts and ordinary forms of academic exchange, including presentations at conferences, public lectures at campuses, and collaboration on research and publication. U.S. scholars are not discouraged under the terms of the boycott from traveling to Israel for academic purposes, provided they are not engaged in a formal partnership with or sponsorship by Israeli academic institutions.

The boycott is part of the larger BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement, launched by Palestinian civil society in 2005, that has called for universities, corporations and notable figures to put pressure on the Israeli government to grant Palestinians rights currently denied to them, and to correct past injustices including the expansion of settlements.

Dome of the Rock, in the Old City of Jerusalem (via Shutterstock).

Dome of the Rock, in the Old City of Jerusalem (via Shutterstock).

The counter-boycott of the ASA

The ASA’s actions have unleashed a flurry of criticism in American academia, centered around the readily-apparent idea that restricting access to academic information is no way to promote academic freedom. On the contrary, Michael Roth, president of Wesleyan University, argued in a Los Angeles Times op-ed, the ASA’s actions constitute, “an attack on academic freedom, declaring institutions off-limits because of their national affiliations.”

Over 200 colleges and universities – including MIT, Stanford, Columbia, Johns Hopkins, Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Princeton, Penn, Carnegie-Mellon, Georgia Tech and the University of Virginia, along with academic organizations such as the American Association of University Professors – have condemned the ASA’s boycott, while none have endorsed it. Additionally, six colleges have gone as far as to cut ties with the ASA altogether: Brandeis, Indiana, Penn State Harrisburg, Bard, the University of Texas-Dallas and Kenyon.

Kenyon, my college, is a particularly interesting case. We are the smallest of the six schools cutting ties with the ASA, and we also maintain a significant number (relative to our size) of students of Palestinian descent. However, this did not stop our newly-inaugurated president, Sean Decatur, taking a high-profile stance against academic boycotts when he endorsed our American Studies department’s decision to rescind its ASA membership.

Taken together, this led to a rather unique discussion on campus over the relative merits of our actions. What follows is my attempt to unpack what transpired.

Unpacking the debate

It is nearly impossible to separate the merits of the ASA’s boycott of Israel from the overarching debate over whether or not Israel has a right to exist, and, if it does, the steps it must take to ensure that it continues to exist on its own terms. As Damon Linker recently pointed out in The Week:

Israel is different, with Judaism granted special status due to the Zionism intertwined with its founding and embedded in its legal system. That doesn’t make it evil. But it does make it less classically liberal than the United States and most other liberal-democratic nations — and that can be grounds for legitimate criticism (as opposed to criticism motivated by anti-Semitism, of which there is plenty).

The ASA’s motivations for the boycott are based in these legitimate criticisms. By their calculus, Israel, in order to preserve its status as a Jewish state, has relegated Palestinians to second-class citizenship. As a result, their government has engaged in practices that are seen by many in the United States as anathema to a well-functioning liberal democracy, practices that concerned Americans have a moral responsibility to repudiate based on their beliefs in free expression and equal representation.

This has included the denial of Palestinian scholars, and others critical of Israeli, the academic freedom to cross Israel’s borders (perhaps most notably, in 2010 Israel refused to let Noam Chomsky enter the West Bank to speak at Birzeit, a Palestinian university). This means that academic institutions like the ASA are relevant participants in the overarching debate.

As one Palestinian Kenyon student explained:

Regardless of where one stands on the issue of an academic boycott of Israel, we need to acknowledge the reason behind the ASA’s decision in endorsing the boycott movement: the Israeli occupation and its practices in denying academic freedom to Palestinian scholars and students.

However, when these criticisms are raised, many Americans – including my own friends, family and professors – come to Israel’s defense, pointing out that it is still, by far, the freest country in the region.  They ask, “why the double standard?” If the ASA is serious about academic freedom, and isn’t simply engaging in geopolitical activism, then shouldn’t it also boycott Iran, Syria, Egypt and any other country that restricts the free exchange of ideas?

Not quite, boycott supporters would argue. It’s a little more complicated than that.

Israel is a different kind of democracy, due to its status as a Jewish state, but it’s also different given the level of support it enjoys in both the American government and the American populace relative to its neighbors. Proponents of the ASA’s boycott argue that Israel should be held to a higher standard because we have higher expectations of them, and they have an incentive to listen to us. No one assumes that Iran is a classically liberal democracy, and America doesn’t provide any support – explicit or implicit – for the actions taken by Iran’s government. If Israel wants America’s support, they argue, they have to earn it by acting more like us and less like their neighbors when it comes to dealing with ethnically marginalized groups.

Is boycotting Israeli academics contrary to promoting academic freedom?

If one can successfully separate the ethical appeal made by the ASA from their boycott’s pragmatic implications, their actions are harder to justify. The people most directly affected by the ASA’s boycott, Israeli academics, are some of the chief critics of the Israeli government’s actions.

While it’s already difficult to justify boycotting an entire country’s academic community in the name of academic freedom, it’s even harder to claim that such actions make sense if the people you’re most directly affecting are also the people most likely to agree with you. You’re not just targeting the wrong people, you’re targeting your friends and allies on the inside.

As the chair of Kenyon’s American Studies Department, Peter Rutkoff, explained:

I think they, the ASA leadership, have confused political criticism of a state policy with pressuring, even hurting, academic colleagues who may or may not have anything to do with that policy, indeed who may even share the same critique.

Other students pointed out that Kenyon’s decision to cut ties with the ASA, over the ASA’s decision to boycott Israel, was also hypocritical. They essentially turned the college’s argument on its head. As one student argued:

Kenyon, by rescinding its membership in the American Studies Association (ASA), has done the very thing it opposes: it boycotts an academic organization. Although I disagree with ASA’s decision to boycott all Israeli institutions of higher education, I believe that Kenyon should engage with organizations that choose to protest against something for an informed reason. Conversations critical of Israel, or of any other country for that matter, should not be stifled.

However, Kenyon’s boycott differs from the ASA’s boycott in one crucial way: Its probability of success. Successful boycotts are ultimately exercises in collective action, meaning, boycotts are effective only if everyone joins in. The ASA, acting by itself, has zero ability to affect the Israeli government or its actions. Additionally, the ASA has likely lost more academic contributions from the six American institutions that have cut ties with them than they have from their boycott of Israel in the first place. They deal in American studies, after all. The counter-boycott – the boycott of the boycott, if you will – has a much greater chance of getting the ASA to reverse its position because more actors are involved, meaning that the counter-boycott can exert far more pressure on the ASA than the ASA can on Israel.

An academic organization, and really any pragmatic actor, has to be able to think and chew at the same time. It is entirely possible to be critical of the Israeli government’s actions while still engaging with the country’s universities. It’s also entirely possible to be critical of an organization’s actions without making a statement as to the principles behind their actions. As another Kenyon student remarked:

I don’t think that an academic institution or organization should take a controversial geo-political stance if it impedes the academic freedom of said institution or organization. I also don’t believe that Kenyon is taking a pro-Israel position by leaving the ASA.

That’s not to say the ASA’s stance hasn’t been effective in raising awareness about a number of aspects of this debate.  It has.  For example, about the tradeoffs Israel has made in order to maintain its status as the world’s only Jewish state.  But also the tradeoffs America makes in being Israel’s strongest geopolitical supporter. And finally, Israel may be the freest country in the Middle East, but that doesn’t make it “free” in the way most Americans have come to understand the term.

So what do you think — did Kenyon make the right call?


Jon Green is a senior Political Science major and Public Policy concentrator at Kenyon College. He is also the co-editor in chief of the Kenyon Observer, the school's student-run political journal. Jon worked as a field organizer for Tom Perriello in 2010 and recently returned to AMERICAblog from the Obama campaign, where he was a Deputy Regional Field Director based in Hampton, Virginia. He writes on a variety of topics but pays particularly close attention to elections, political psychology and the use of social media. Jon on Google+, and his .

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  • Hatfield

    Any country can be criticized; that’s a given. The issue here is that separate standards are trotted out which apply only to Israel. OR, as the lying fuckwad idiots at the ASA said, you gotta start somewhere. Riiight. So, why not the Sudan, or China. As for your As a Jew argument, it means nothing. Whether your wife’s a Jew or whatever, who care? Is that supposed to add to the weight? My only point, which is not about AIPAC or whatever group, is that very obviously and based only on Jew-hatred, Israel is singled out and held to a special standard.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Please, you denied that it happened and now you’re saying it wasn’t the equivalent of Zhukov entering Berlin in 1945.

  • Bill_Perdue

    The last word will be spoken by Palestinians.

  • Olterigo

    Anyway, since we seemingly have moved into the “you’re dreaming – no, you don’t read enough of my fringe-of-the-left experts” territory, feel free to have the last word. This Zionist has work to do.

  • Olterigo

    I’m glad if that’s the case. But the islamists seem to be winning so far. Well, except for Egypt.

    Because it’s California, and it got unloaded, even if after 24 hours. US has long shorelines, there are many ports. If one of them won’t unload cargo, I’m sure another one will. Especially, on the East coast. Not to mention, ports in Canada and Mexico. American trade unions have a lot of their own problems right now, I’m not so sure that outside of CA, they’ll be joining anything in the foreseeable future.

  • Bill_Perdue

    I’m not dreaming, I’m reporting. I can read. And I don’t care about the opinions of zionist racists and colonialists, however mild or rabid they might be.

    I care more about the opinions of these experts http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/goliath_how_israel_became_the_third_rail_of_journalism_20131114

    and the good folks at http://electronicintifada.net/

  • Olterigo

    All I can say to that is – keep dreaming. “Colonialism” may be dying, but most in Europe (outside of the leftist flank of the academia and some Muslims in Europe) do not think of Israel as a colonialist state (within the Green line). And Israelis and even diaspora Jews, while we may have disagreements about the West Bank/settlements, don’t think of Israel itself as being a colony. (Though, it’s interesting to see that here you’re playing along right into the West Bank settlers’ trope of even Tel Aviv being a settlement, so what’s the point of giving up the West Bank, they ask.)

  • Bill_Perdue

    When you learn to read you’ll find out that the islamists and the working class wings are at each others throats. Really, RIF.

    Speaking of you lack or reading, how did you miss this Dockworkers Around World Refuse to Unload Israeli Ships June 20, ILWU Local 10 dockworkers in Oakland, Calif., refused to unload an Israeli Zim Lines ship for 24 hours. Their protest was supported by more than 800 rallying local activists, the San Francisco Labor Council and the Alameda County Labor Council …

    RIF. I can’t say it too often.

    Photo from Labornotes http://labornotes.org/blogs/2010/06/bay-area-dockworkers-answer-palestinian-call-solidarity

  • Bill_Perdue

    All the deaths of Palestinians and colonists are the sole and direct responsibility of zionist colonialists and their invasion and attempted occupation of Palestine.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Mostly European colonists but that’s not important, what is important is that they are colonial invaders.

    The zionist bunkerstadt won’t last because colonialism is dying. As the rabid racism of the colonists increases Arabs and others trapped in ghettoes fighting to keep their homes will join the struggle in spite of their justified fear of the oppressive thugs of the IDF and roaming bands of racists like those who murder Palestinians and attacked African refugees in Jaffa.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/may/24/tel-aviv-protest-violence-immigration

    Photo “Race Riot as Tel Aviv’s Poor Hunt Down ‘Cancerous’ African Migrants … http://www.ibtimes.co.uk

  • Olterigo

    Palestinians are never to blame for anything. If they suddenly blow up in the middle of Tel Aviv – it must be spontaneous combustion. I guess the evil Zionists have made Tel Aviv too hot for a Palestinian to handle, so that spontaneous combustion is imminent. Got it.

  • Olterigo

    “the mostly European colonialists”
    As of 2009, Mizrahi/Sephardi Jews constituted 2,721,000 people, Beta Israel (from Ethiopia) – 130,000, Ashkenazi Jews – 2,767,000.

    “That colony won’t last”

    Israel will last, because even 2/3 of Arab citizens of Israel (I’m talking within the Green line) don’t want to become citizens of the future Palestinian state. I’m talking not about moving the population, but moving the border. I wonder if Israel is so awful to them, why don’t they want to become part of the future Palestine, if it wouldn’t even require moving one apartment block?

  • Bill_Perdue

    All the deaths in Iraq are the sole and direct responsibility of the Clinton, Bush and Obama regimes and their invasion and attempted occupation.

    All the deaths of Palestinians are the sole and responsibility of zionist colonialists and their invasion and attempted occupation of Palestine.

    Period. Full Stop.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Zionism is a form of racism that says the mostly European colonialists can invade Palestine, kill Palestinians wantonly and steal their land.

    That colony won’t last, just as the European French colony in Algeria or the Italian colony in Libya didn’t last.

  • Olterigo

    “will come from the Palestinians themselves aided the awakening giant labeled as the Arab Spring”
    Really? The Arab Spring? Is that the one that brought to power Islamic regimes and now the fundamentalist oppression in many places in ME? I’m sure, the Palestinians in the West Bank look forward to becoming Gaza 2.
    American trade unions will not refuse to unload ships from Israel. They’re not in the same position as those in UK, Sweden or SA. And, once again, if they do it, this will hurt American Jewish Orthodox population much more (due to their consumption of many Israeli kosher products) than anyone else. Eventually, ricocheting back at the trade unions themselves, considering they need all the allies they can get among the electorate and the American law against boycotts.

  • Olterigo

    No, deaths and dislocation are never the fault of Arabs/Muslims. They never engage in ethnic cleansing or murder. It must be “solely” Zionists and Americans killing all of those Syrians, etc. Evil us. Boo hoo.

  • Olterigo

    Oh, you mean none of these fit your ideal multi-ethnic, democratic, socialist paradise pipe dreams? I wonder how then you imagine a multi-ethnic, democratic, socialist paradise single state in place of Israel/territories.

  • Bill_Perdue

    The move by the ASA, part of the rising wave of disgust with zionist racism and mass murder in academic circles will do their part and so will the actions by American, English, Swedish and South African trade unions when they refuse to unload ships from the bunkerstadt.

    The real solution that will end ethnic cleansing and land theft by IDF thugs will come from the Palestinians themselves aided the awakening giant labeled as the Arab Spring.

  • Bill_Perdue

    The virulent Islamophobia of supporters of the rogue terrorist state established by mostly European zionist colonialists in Palestine has always been the basis for their response to discussions about zionist ethnic cleansing, murders, and a form of apartheid far worse that practised in South Africa.

    Why were tens of thousands of Palestinians in Jordan? it’s because they were fleeing the ethnic cleansing of zionists. zionists are entirely and solely at fault for the deaths in Lebanon, Jordan and elsewhere. They were refugees from the depredations of IDF thugs.

    The million plus deaths in Iraq are solely and entirely the fault of the United States and that includes those who died in sectarian violence.It also includes hundreds of gay men and boys murdered by US trained and armed sunni and shiite thugs during the American occupation and since then,

    Clinton murders of half a million babies and children by embargoing medical, food and sanitary supplies.

    http://www.thenation.com/doc/20011203/cortright

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/763824.stm

    http://www.unicef.org/newsline/99pr29.htm

    http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0807-01.htm

    http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140673600022893/abstract

    http://www.unicef.org/evaldatabase/index_29697.html

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbIX1CP9qr4&playnext=1&list=PL4C21522D3C07C8FB

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lf83udJfbMs

  • Bill_Perdue

    Are you serious? Your statement that Syria is democratic or socialist is a fantasy. Get back to us when your have something factual.

  • Olterigo

    Boycotting Israeli academics is silly at best and counterproductive at the worst. Why? Because with ASA being pretty much a humanities group, they’re not really going to hurt Israel. Israel’s academia is known for natural sciences, there’s lots of collaboration with other academics in the US, Europe and Asia. And it is in fact the humanities academics who are much more likely to believe the same things that ASA boycott supporters believe. I wonder what lesson others will take from this? That pro-Palestinians treat even their friends and allies in Israel as if they were settlers?

  • Olterigo

    “zionists have killed who knows how many tens of thousands or Arabs and other muslims.”

    The Wikipedia knows: “74,000 military deaths18,000 civilian deaths (1945–1995)[5]” These are deaths on both sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict, though a majority are Arab. Still, a good part of these soldiers and civilians are Israelis. Second Intifada: “4,791 killed by Israeli security forces;” 2008-2009 Gaza War: “1,166–1,417;” March 2012 Gaza-Israel clashes: “21;” November 2012 op. Pillar of Defense in Gaza: “174–177.” Per “Casualties of the 2006 Lebanon War” page on Wiki: “438-888+ dead.” So, since 1995, Arabs (incl. Palestinians) killed by Israel don’t even reach 10,000.

    Syrian Civil War (only three years now) dead: “Estimates of deaths in the Syrian Civil War, per opposition activist groups, vary between 97,105 and 130,435.”

    Black September 1970 (Jordanian government attacking Palestinians for 10 days): “Estimates of the number of the people killed in the ten days of Black September range from three thousand to more than five thousand, although exact numbers are unknown. The Palestinian death toll in 11 days of fighting was estimated by Jordan at 3,400, while Palestinian sources often cite the number 5,000, mainly civilians, killed. Arafat at some point claimed that 10,000 had been killed.”

    Iran-Iraq death toll, per the same Wiki: “100,000+ civilians killed on both sides (not including 182,000 civilians killed in the Al-Anfal Campaign) Total: 1,250,000 killed”

    So, seems to me like Muslims and Muslim Arabs, specifically, do a much better job of killing other Muslims/Muslim Arabs much better than does Israel.

  • Olterigo

    “a secular multi-ethnic, democratic and socialist Palestine”

    Is that like the secular multi-ethnic, democratic and socialist Syria next door? Or the secular multi-ethnic, democratic (though maybe not so socialist) Lebanon next door? Or the not-too-secular (motto: allakhu akbar, sharia as part of legal system) multi-ethnic, democratic Iraq? Not to mention the multiple theocratic monarchies around the Gulf? Keep dreaming though.

  • Olterigo

    Where did you get that “The majority of folk involved in the BDS movement are Jewish.”?

  • MyrddinWilt

    I don’t think the academic boycott is likely to have any effect at this point. But the fact that it is happening at all is very significant. Israel depends absolutely on US support for its survival militarily, economically and politically.

    Supporters will claim otherwise of course. But they are basing their assumptions on the middle east of the 1960s and 70s, not the middle east of today. US and European society have changed as well.

    And the Israeli politicians do nothing to help their cause. They are not the earlier generation that earned the support of US politicians. Lieberman and Netanyahu openly act as if they consider Obama and the Congress their bitch (as Neil Gaiman might put it).

    The situation is highly unstable and there is a limit to what the US public will accept. And that limit is likely to be reached without any warning. AIPAC’s current attempt to sabotage the nuclear peace deal with Iran is a very foolish move.

  • Ron Robertson

    One could easily believe you’re right with the leadership they’ve had for so long. I do think their leadership is full of fucked-up racists and hate-mongers. What’s even more fucked up is that the US continues to send them unlimited money and support, despite the actions of Israel being against our own interests in the region. AIPAC and their like throw around the term “anti-semitism” like rice at a wedding, to the point it’s lost all meaning. There is genuine anti-semitism, but like the boy who cried wolf, the charge has lost its impact. I don’t know why our politicians give them unlimited support for every fucked up thing they do, but I know I’m not the only one who is sick of it.

  • Bill_Perdue

    I used to think that not all zionists are racists.Now, not so much.

    I notice that you, like most supporters of zionist mass murder and apartheid, finding yourself unable to disprove the contentions of anti-zionists, dissolve into fits of personal attacks.

    The largest anti-Arab and muslim groups are the fascist parties in Europe like the Front National in France, the Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs in Austria and the German Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands. They spew their anti-Arab/muslim hatred all over the internet.

  • MyrddinWilt

    My wife is Jewish.

    And my point here is that the fanatical ‘Israel can do no wrong, all criticism is anti-semitic’ crowd have done a sterling job of alienating support in the younger generation of Jews. Which is hardly claiming that there is a monolithic opinion.

    The reason I said AIPAC rather than Israel is that they are the people who are usually screaming ‘anti-semitism’ at the least criticism of Israel. Most of the Jewish bloggers I mentioned still describe themselves as supporters of Israel even when they then go on to hammer everything going on there. And then they get called ‘self haters’.

    In my wife’s family the 85+ generation are largely supporters of the settlers and ethnic cleansing (and members of AIPAC), the 65+ generation are Zionists but hate the ‘nutjob settlers’, the 45+ generation wonder about the family in Israel and the under 45 generation consider the place an embarrassment at best, like the racist grandfather who is family but you can’t take out in public.

  • Bill_Perdue

    The only people who agree your assessment of the motives of anti-racists, ie, anti-zionists, are racist thugs like Sharon. Critics of the vile racism, apartheid, colonialism and ethnic cleansing of the zionist regime are not anti-Semitic. They’re anti-racist. Zionism is a form of racism.

    “The archbishop, who was a leading opponent of apartheid in South Africa, said Israel would “never get true security and safety through oppressing another people”. Archbishop Tutu said his criticism of the Israeli Government did not mean he was anti-Semitic. “I am not even anti-white, despite the madness of that group… “ Desnind Tutu http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/1957644.stm

    Tutu is a major advocate of LGBT equality especially in Africa where the imported hatreds of christers and islamists make such views dangerous in a number of neo colonial states.

    zionists have killed who know how many tens of thousands. Only the Americans are worse. You’ll just have to learn to read.

  • Joel Berger

    Congratulations, your post would be right at home in much of the Jew hating Arab press. Try to wipe the spittle off of your screen.

  • Joel Berger

    AIPAC is Likud. There are other Jewish organizations that have more reasonable ideas. Try to understand that us hooknosed Yids are not monolithic.

  • Joel Berger

    I would love to believe that your argument is valid, but your use of the term “Zionist,” dripping with Jew hatred, along with your last contention, leaves me cold. You truly believe that Israel is more dangerous and murderous than Syria, Saudi Arabia, or Iran? Very sad.

  • HeartlandLiberal

    The Dutch pension fund, PGGM, with over $210 billion in assets, announced on Wednesday that it has divested from five Israeli banks, effective January 1, 2014.

    The reason given, in a statement posted on its website, is “…their involvement in financing Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. This was a concern, as the settlements in the Palestinian territories are considered illegal under international humanitarian law.” Full Statement

    The fund had been in discussions with the banks for several years, in an attempt at constructive engagement, to no avail. According to PGGM’s statement, “the dialogue showed however that, given the day-to-day reality and domestic legal framework they operate in, the banks have limited to no possibilities to end their involvement in the financing of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. ”

    The “domestic legal framework” probably refers to a rather fascistic 2011 Israeli anti-boycott law which subjects anyone in Israel calling for boycott or “deliberately avoiding economic, cultural or academic ties with another person or another factor only because of his ties with the State of Israel, one of its institutions or an area under its control, in such a way that may cause economic, cultural or academic damage” can be subject to a lawsuit by anyone who considers himself or herself to have been damaged by such an action.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/01/11/1268494/-Dutch-pension-giant-divests-from-Israeli-banks-involved-in-settlement-construction

  • Bill_Perdue

    Why not just have a boycott and remind people that it’s being done to end the racism, land theft and extreme apartheid practiced by zionist colonialists.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Academics boycott ethnic cleanser and the who practice apartheid, especially a form of apartheid far far worse than that practices by the SA Nationalists.

    I don’t under stand why you’d say that. They seem to be just an ordinary scholarly group. Did you see anything on their web site to indicate any affiliation with the Tea Party? ASA is not listed by People For the American Way, Right Wing Watch, or SPLC (I checked.). Have you seen any reports that they’re rightwing, other than from zionist sources, who are paid to bash any group critical of the colonial ethnic cleansing, land theft and apartheid practiced in the zionist bunkerstadt?

  • Bill_Perdue

    It’s not an academic question. It’s an anti-colonial, anti-racist, anti-homophobic and anti-imperialist question.

    Opposition to zionist hate mongering and mass murder is the sole reason for the boycott and does not relieve us of the need to oppose royalist, antidemocratic and islamist governments like those of the mad ayatollahs of Iran or the kings of saudi Arabia. We can multi task.

    Do you have any single shred of evidence that the global BDS movement is in any way connected to the right. In this country the most rabid supporters of zionist mass murder and land theft are the christite and judaist right, and comes from right wing homophbic thugs like Pat Robertson and Sheldon Adelson.

    http://www.rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/Adelson_Sheldon

    http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/pat-robertson-how-pray-gay-family-member

  • Bill_Perdue

  • Bill_Perdue

    The central questions raised by continued existence of the zionist colony in Palestine revolve around it’s use as a forward base for American empire builders in the region and it degeneration into a homophobic and racist bastion that uses ethnic cleansing and apartheid to oppress Palestinians and steal their land.

    It’s been a racist fortress since day one, when hundred of Palestinian men, women and children where murdered at places like Deir Yassin (1) and other towns and villages. The ethnic cleansing that occurred at Deir Yassin is indistinguishable from the mass murders at Oradour-sur-Glane in 1944 (2) and Lidice in Czechoslovakia a year earlier. The whole history of the zionist colony revolves around successive waves of brutal mass murders followed by even more land theft and the creation of ever more colonial settlements. The mass murders at Shatila and Sabra and the dozens of mass murders in Gaza, which include the zionist use of white phosphorus, a vicious anti-civilian WMD epitomize the history and ongoing existence of the zionist bunkerstadt. (3)

    The solution to the zionist colony will come from the Palestinians themselves and our job is to support them as best we can.

    (1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deir_Yassin_massacre

    (2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oradour-sur-Glane

    (3) http://www.democracynow.org/2014/1/13/noam_chomsky_sabra_shatila_massacre_that

    Below, white phosphorus artillery and missiles being used against civilians in Gaza and the results

  • Bill_Perdue

    Nor will they ever act ethically. Their state was found as a mostly European colony and has been a rouge terrorist state since they began. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deir_Yassin_massacre

  • Bill_Perdue

    “Economic sanctions don’t work very well but cultural sanctions can have a dramatic effect in certain circumstances.” Economic sanctions brought down the South African apartheid government and are beginning to have an effect on the zionist bunkerstadt. The forms of ethnic cleansing and apartheid practiced by the zionist colonial state are far, far worse than those practiced thy the apartheid SA state. The boycott movement is not just among academics here and in most of Europe. It involves growing support by trade unions around the world, especially dockworkers.

    “The right to academic freedom is important but it is only one freedom and it is not more important than the right of people to have equal dignity and equal rights.” The question doesn’t center on academic freedom, but on the effort to end ethnic cleansing and land theft by mostly European colonial zionists in Palestine.

    The erosion of support for Israel in the US is inevitable but will take a couple more decades to play out. The question of support for zionism in the US is secondary. The real challenge to the zionist bunkerstadt and it’s American government paymaster will come from Palestinians themselves and the growing power of the Arab Spring, in essence a multi national working class movement that’s growing in spite of US efforts to stop it.

    The solution to the question ending the ethnic cleansing by zionists will come when the zionist colony in Palestine is defeated by Palestinians and the creation of a secular multi-ethnic, democratic and socialist Palestine. Hamas and other islamists are as reactionary as those who support the zionist colony.

  • MyrddinWilt

    Hs it occurred to you that there are many many progressive Jewish bloggers but pretty much all of them are extremely negative on AIPAC these days? The tactic of screaming ‘anti-semitism’ or ‘self-hater’ is very polarizing and has turned most of the younger generation away.

    I can’t see how Israel survives without support of US Jews in the 18-50 bracket. Most are not vocal opponents of Israel but they are tired of the undisguised racism and self-delusion of their parent’s generation.

  • Hatfield

    Why no, it didn’t. Thanks for the insight.

  • Monophylos Fortikos

    I mean, one could go and on with a list of the most awful places in the world, places, unlike Israel, the ASA members wouldn’t live more than a few days before being kidnapped or killed, but none of them gets a boycott.

    Ah, yes, the venerable old, “I know you are but what am I,” defence.

  • Ferdiad

    those in power always benefit from confusing the issue, no matter what the issue is. Here, Israel is in power. There will always be smart people that can debate the finer points of these issues and cause confusion and controversy. While that happens and the cycle continues, nothing changes for the Palestinians and the peace process. the boycotts cause people to ask questions and debate, which is more than they were doing prior to the boycott. thus, it has worked on some level and is therefore dangerous to the establishment.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “The idea of a Jews-only state was always an abomination. The claim that
    a Jewish state could be anything other than an apartheid state is
    self-delusion.” Bingo!

  • jm2

    as we are dealing with bullying on the personal level, the elementary school level, the high school level, the college level, the university level, cyber-bullying, etc why would it not be time to start to address bullying at the nation level? i include ALL nations in this not just Israel – the U.S., Russia, Iran, China, N. Korea…..

  • neddyboy

    Did it ever occur to you that the world might expect more from Israel? Did it ever occur to you that screaming “antisemitism” at every criticism of Israel might hurt your cause?

  • PeteWa

    it seems to be the consensus that Israel’s “denial of academic freedom to Palestinian scholars, and others critical, of the Israeli government” is an unfitting medicine to be given back to the administer of the original dose.

  • Hatfield

    The boycott and larger BDS is pure anti-Semitism. There is no need to examine anything about Israel at all since it and it alone is singled out. Is there a boycott of the PA or Gaza or Syria or….or….China regarding Tibet or the Uighurs, or Sudan, I mean, one could go and on with a list of the most awful places in the world, places, unlike Israel, the ASA members wouldn’t live more than a few days before being kidnapped or killed, but none of them gets a boycott. Except Israel, under constant attack by the Palestinians and at times attacked by its neighbors and even non-neighbors like Iraq yet the ASA’s moral clarity sees Israel as uniquely evil. It’s pure anti-Semitism. Frankly, I am glad those assholes signed their names to the ASA motion as people can easily see what pieces of shit they are.

  • UncleBucky

    We don’t really want a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. It’s not the goal to hurt Israeli science alone, for that is hurting OUR OWN science. So that’s not productive. YET, we need to get their attention.

    A provisional boycott? A “signing statement” that accepts and publishes the research scientifically but reminds the reader/reviewer that the institution is not behaving responsibly?

    I dunno. I don’t like the Israeli political stance. It is a sin what they are doing unilaterally to the Palestinian People, to their own citizens for forcing them to go through this, and all other stakeholders for having to do good work in light of terrible things happening since 1947 and even before…

  • Ron Robertson

    I just wonder what the answer is. I think there is lots of legitimate criticism of Israel and their actions. I do not think the US should support them so extensively, either. If they need so much US support, then they are a sort of failed state anyway. I dislike their leadership’s racist attitudes and actions. I’m no supporter of Islam (or any religion, actually), and think there are people on the other side who do not wish for a genuine solution. But if you want to talk ethics, the one with the most power, Israel, needs to act the most ethically, and they do not.

  • MyrddinWilt

    The majority of folk involved in the BDS movement are Jewish. They are the people most likely to care about the Middle East, not least because the crimes being committed by the government there are being committed in their name.

    One factual problem with the story is that MIT did not in fact come out against the boycott. Neither the students nor the faculty were ever asked. What happened was that the President of MIT made a statement purporting to be on behalf of the University but without having actually asked anyone it can only be his personal opinion.

    Economic sanctions don’t work very well but cultural sanctions can have a dramatic effect in certain circumstances. The cultural boycott of South Africa really offended the Africans who clung to the belief that the West really supported them as fellow whiteys and that only a handful of communists objected to apartheid. When they discovered that it was Thatcher, Reagan and their fellow bigots who were out of step, they started to ask questions about their situation.

    The right to academic freedom is important but it is only one freedom and it is not more important than the right of people to have equal dignity and equal rights. There cannot be equal freedoms in an unequal society. And a society that declares itself as the society for one group cannot treat everyone equally.

    There is no legitimacy for a state that grants my children the right to live there despite having no ancestor in the past 200 years who lived there at any time in their lives yet denying the right of people born their to return after being driven out by terrorists. Ethnic cleansing is not a valid basis for a state. The idea of a Jews-only state was always an abomination. The claim that a Jewish state could be anything other than an apartheid state is self-delusion.

    The erosion of support for Israel in the US is inevitable but will take a couple more decades to play out. Obama’s successor is probably going to be the last US president to make a serious effort to make peace on the two state plan. Once it is obvious to a majority of US Jews that Israel isn’t serious about any two state plan and merely goes through the motions, there won’t be any need to play the shell game again.

    The other factor that is playing out is the escalating demands of the religious minority. Peace will only break out when the middle secular section of Israeli society and the middle secular section of Palestinian society decide to make common cause against the religious bigots in both communities.

    The only way that there can be peace is for the people who live there to decide that they want to live there in peace together. The Hamas folk need to give up the idea of an Islamist state. Israelis have to dismantle all the petty discriminations and every day insults that are visited on non-Jews.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    With this the ASA has turned themselves into a sideshow in search of a circus. I see no legitimate academic argument to be made here. It really seems to be all about them filling their coffers with right-wing hate money. Especially if they’re not including many other countries in the world where oppression is commonplace; as soon as Saudi Arabia is included in that boycott, it might make some sense.

  • BrandySpears
  • Tyler Albertario

    As somebody who is Jewish, I say this: Boycott Israel NOW!

  • Indigo

    What strange and misbegotten beast is that ASA group, if not a branch of the Tea Party who claim to be able to read? Academics do not boycott academics.Period! [ MLA Emeritus since 1996]

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