web analytics
March 7, 2015 / 16 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Stop the Dishonest Academic Boycott

ASA scholars

It started as barely a blip on the radar.

At its annual conference last April, the Association for Asian American Studies, or AAAS, unanimously approved a resolution calling for an academic boycott of Israeli universities to protest the country’s treatment of Palestinians.

While the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement had been active for some time on campuses across the country, it was the first time an American academic organization had signed on.

But since the AAAS is a tiny group of barely 800 members, and fewer than 100 were still around on the final day of the conference when the vote was taken, the step was viewed more as a curiosity than the beginning of a trend.

Now the blip is beginning to look more like a wave. This month, the much larger American Studies Association, or ASA – it has nearly 5,000 members –passed a similar resolution by a 2-to-1 margin in an online vote in which about a quarter of the members participated.

The language, previously approved unanimously by the organization’s national council, claims there is “no effective or substantive academic freedom for Palestinian students and scholars under conditions of Israeli occupation” blames the United States for “enabling” the occupation; and endorses “a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.”

While the ASA has long had a reputation for leftist and anti-Western bias, resolutions to the same effect are expected to be proposed at the upcoming meetings of the large mainstream academic bodies in the humanities, such as the Modern Language Association and the American Historical Association. Both will hold their annual meetings in January.

The professoriate is the most highly educated sector of our society, its members taking justifiable pride in their ability to think clearly and not be swayed by faulty logic. Surely those who come to the subject with no preconceived anti-Israel feeling will see through the two-tiered hypocrisy of the boycotters.

First, it is rather odd that the ASA has never before called for severing academic relations with any other country, not even such authoritarian regimes as China, Iran, Sudan or Syria, where no academic freedom exists. Whatever failings can be laid at Israel’s door, it is a democracy with free elections, a free press and, yes, academic freedom.

Indeed, it was Israel that established the first Palestinian universities on the West Bank. Far from seeking to oppress the Palestinian population under its control, Israel is engaged in intensive negotiations with the Palestinian Authority to achieve a peace agreement whereby Israeli and Palestinian states can live side by side in peace.

Acknowledging that Israel is hardly among the worst human-rights offenders, the ASA president insists nonetheless that “one has to start somewhere.” But why start by boycotting a free society rather than a repressive one – unless you come to the issue already predisposed against Israel?

Second, for consistency’s sake, a boycott aimed at Israeli academia should insist on forgoing the use of anything produced by Israeli brainpower –much of it at the very universities targeted for boycotting. That would include computer laptops, cell phones, crops produced by drip irrigation, geothermal power, and a host of biomedical devices and pharmaceuticals.

At the very least, such a boycott should logically include an end to the enjoyment of the most visible fruits of Israeli intellectual life – the path-breaking accomplishments of its 12 Nobel Prize winners, by far the highest per-capita number of Nobel laureates for any country in the world.

The fact that none of the would-be boycotters has even suggested taking such a step raises the strong possibility that the entire academic BDS campaign is shot through with another form of hypocrisy, one that decries Israel as an international pariah while at the same time making use of the life-enhancing and life-saving breakthroughs that the objectionable country has achieved.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Stop the Dishonest Academic Boycott”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a joint meeting of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., the United States, calling for rejection of a bad nuclear deal with Iran, on March 03, 2015.
Post-Bibi Bipartisanship May Result in Congressional Ability to Review Iran Deal
Latest Indepth Stories
Ron Prosor

Values at the very heart of the UN are threatened by extremist ideologies targeting our way of life

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Anti-Semitism today focuses on Israel and the quest to delegitimize it.

Ballots for elections "made in Samaria."

Any Jew who ties his fate to Israel should be able to vote in Israel’s elections-even before aliyah

A young Moshe Meir Weiss introduces his mother, Mrs. Agnes Weiss Goldman, to Rav Moshe in 1979.

There were no airs about him. Rav Moshe was affectionately known as the Gaon of Normalcy.

Israel’s full sovereignty over a united Jerusalem is the only path for true peace in the region.

Just like Moses and Aaron, Mordechai decides to ruin the party…

The president has made clear – I can’t state this more firmly – the policy is Iran will not get a nuclear weapon.

Obama has an apparent inability to understand Islam in particular and Mid-East culture in general

Pesach is a Torah-based holiday whose fundamental observances are rooted in Torah law; Purim is a rabbinic holiday whose laws and customs are grounded in the rabbinic tradition.

In honor of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s successful speech before Congress.

Mr. Spock conveys a message with painfully stark relevance to our world today, especially in the context of PM Netanyahu’s speech to Congress.

Obama created the “partisan politics” by asking Dem. party members to avoid Bibi and his address

Enough is enough. The Jewish community has a big tent, but the NIF should have no place in it.

I vote for the right and get left-wing policy. Every. Frigging. Time.

More Articles from Lawrence Grossman

It seems likely that major communal institutions, such as the United Jewish Communities and local Federations, will be confronted with the question of whether there is a role for them in advancing communal values via Jewish webcasting.

ASA scholars

Now the blip is beginning to look more like a wave.

Thirty-eight Sejm members representing Tusk’s ruling Civic Platform party joined with the opposition in voting to outlaw ritual slaughter.

Will the Jewish vote, normally overwhelmingly Democratic, be up for grabs in 2012? That question became a subject of intense debate when a Republican was elected recently to the House of Representatives from New York’s 9th Congressional District for the first time in 90 years.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/stop-the-dishonest-academic-boycott/2013/12/26/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: