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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Curtis Marez’

Congressional Letter: Academic Boycott of Israel is ‘Thinly Veiled Bigotry’

Friday, January 10th, 2014

PLEASE NOTE TWO UPDATES AT THE END OF THIS ARTICLE

Dozens of members of the U.S. House of Representatives are busily circulating a request to their colleagues, asking them to sign on to a letter to the leadership of the American Studies Association. That letter condemns the ASA for singling out Israel as the focus of its wrath and for instituting an academic boycott of the Jewish State.

The bi-partisan letter, written and signed by two Democrats and two Republicans, is addressed to Prof. Curtis Marez, current president of the ASA. Marez is a member of the ethnic studies department at the University of California, San Diego.

Marez was famously caught by surprise when a reporter asked him why the ASA was singling out Israel, when there are so many other countries involved in far more serious allegations of human rights abuses. Perhaps the questioner was picturing some countries where the very lives of academics are endangered simply for their thoughts or writings. Oh, places like China, North Korea, Russia, Iran and Saudi Arabia spring quickly to mind.

But Marez simply answered: “We have to start somewhere.” Right.

The congressional representatives taking the lead on this initiative are House members Peter Roskam (IL-6)(R), Ted Deutch (FL-21)(D), Doug Collins (GA-9)(R) and Bradley S. Schneider (IL-10)(D). Members of Congress from nearly 20 states have already signed on.

The letter itself is strong and unquivocal. It starts out by informing the ASA that the congressional members – as of the time this article was written, representatives from 17 states had already affixed their names – “write in strong opposition” to the ASA’s decision “to blacklist Israeli academic institutions for Israeli government policies with which the ASA disagrees represents a blatant disregard for academic freedom.”

The congressional letter not only condemns the ASA’s boycott of Israel on the grounds of academic freedom, it also denounces it for singling out a single country – Israel, the only Jewish state – for punishment by the ASA when there are so many states engaging in brutal repression of its citizens, including its students and academics, yet about which the ASA remains silent.

Even more concerning is the singular targeting of Israel for boycott. Like all democracies, Israel is not perfect. But to single out Israel, while leaving relationships with universities in autocratic and repressive countries intact, suggests thinly-veiled bigotry and bias against the Jewish State. This morally dishonest double standard has already been rejected by well over 100 university presidents, with several member universities even withdrawing from the organization in protest.

William A. Jacobson, a professor at Cornell Law School, wrote about the congressional letter at Legal Insurrection.  Jacobson said that the members of congress intended to send the letter once they obtained approximately 50 signatures, evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans.

In an email to The Jewish Press, Jacobson explained that those taking the lead on the ASA letter intend to gain as many signatures as possible. He also noted that people were signing on very quickly, “they gained six more names in the space of one-half hour as I was communicating with them.”

“It is not surprising that Congress has taken note given the discriminatory and factually baseless nature of the boycott,” Jacobson wrote. “We will see if Congress takes any action beyond a denunciation.”

Within hours of the letter being circulated, 32 additional members of congress asked to have their names included on the letter.

As of the time this article was published, the signatories included:

Michele Bachmann MN-6 (R), Corrine Brown FL-5 (D), Doug Collins GA-9 (R), Ted Deutch FL-21 (D), Jeff Duncan S-C3

 (R), Eliot Engel NY-16
 (D), Trent Franks AZ-8

 (R), Richard Hudson  NC-8 (R), David Joyce  OH-14 (R), Mike Kelly  PA-3 (R), Peter King NY-2 (R), Doug Lamborn  CO-5 (R), Leonard Lance NJ-7
 (R), Sander Levin MI-9 (D), Tom Marino PA-10

 (R), Betty McCollum MN-4 (D), Grace Meng NY-6

 (D), Patrick Murphy FL-18 (D), Gary Peters MI-14
 (D), Mike Quigley IL-5

 (D), Peter Roskam
 IL-6 (R ), Matt Salmon AZ-5 (R), Adam Schiff  CA-28
 (D), Brad Schneider
 IL-10 (D), Brad Sherman CA 30 (D), Steve Stivers  OH-15

 (R), Eric Swalwell CA-15
 (D), Patrick Tiberi  OH-12

 (R), Dina Titus NV-1 (D), Juan Vargas CA-51
 (D), Tim Walberg  MI-7
 (R), Jackie WalorskiR IN-2 (R), Debbie Wasserman Schultz FL-23, (D) Henry Waxman CA-33 (D), Randy Weber Tx-14 (R), Kevin Yoder  KS-3 (R)

ASA Leader Justifies Israel Boycott Saying ‘One Has to Start Somewhere’

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Reading Jeffrey Goldberg’s excellent column in the Tuesday NY Post (Gang that can’t scapegoat straight), I was reminded of a classic Richard Pryor joke about a man who killed his entire family, and when police asked him why he did it answers: “‘Cuz they was home.”

Curtis Marez, a University of California at San Diego associate professor of ethnic studies and president of the American Studies Association that voted to endorse an academic boycott of Israel, is a dolt, writes Goldberg. Not because his organization is promoting a stupid policy that will only end up biting them on their lower backs, but because he’s too dumb to deny his own rabid hatred of Jews.

When a reporter asked him why Israel, alone among the countries of the world, was chosen for excoriation and isolation — the ASA has heretofore boycotted no other country — Marez “did not dispute that many nations, including many of Israel’s neighbors, are generally judged to have human-rights records that are worse than Israel’s, or comparable.” Marez then compounded his error by telling the reporter, in his organization’s defense, that “one has to start somewhere.”

“Let’s stay with this statement for a moment,” writes Goldberg. “It is true that, if you believe that boycotting academic institutions is a way to change the behavior of repressive governments (though I don’t know many people who think this way), then ‘one has to start somewhere.’ It seems, though, that one might want to start with China, where a prominent economist, Professor Xia Yeliang, was recently dismissed from Peking University; one state-run paper charged him with arguing for ‘freedom and democracy.’”

They could have also picked on Afghanistan‎, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia‎, Austria and Azerbaijan, each one of which has a thick folder of its recorded human rights violations – and that’s juts the A’s!

In Israel’s group, the I’s, they could have chosen Iran, Iraq, Indonesia, and the Ivory Coast, for a plethora of violations, from torture to public hangings.

Goldberg continues: “Is it a coincidence that these academics are singling out the world’s only Jewish-majority country for boycott? Only to those who know nothing of the history of anti-Semitic scapegoating. This isn’t to say that Marez and his colleagues are personally anti-Semitic. Larry Summers, a past Harvard president, said he considers boycotts of Israel ‘anti- Semitic in their effect if not necessarily in their intent.’”

Finally, Goldberg points out that “The American Studies Association is an unimportant group; larger academic organizations have come out, as Summers did, against the idea of academic boycotts.”

Also, according to Goldberg, the Palestinian Authority chairman, Mahmoud Abbas, who supports the boycott of settlement-made goods, has come out against broad anti-Israel boycotts.

“The ASA is more Palestinian, in other words, than the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization,” Goldberg concludes.

Turns out there are some antisemitic idiocies that unite left and right inside the Jewish body politic.

That’s a good thing…

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/asa-leader-justifies-israel-boycott-saying-one-has-to-start-somewhere/2013/12/18/

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