240 Israeli and Jewish academics, many of whom specialize in anti-Semitism, Jewish history and history of the Holocaust, last week sent an open letter to the German government urging it to reject its recent “BDS is anti-Semitism” law.
They wrote: “We reject this motion, which is based on the false allegation that BDS as such equals anti-Semitism. We call on the German government not to endorse this motion and to fight anti-Semitism, while respecting and protecting freedom of speech and of association, which are undeniably under attack.”
They continued: “…We view anti-Semitism and all forms of racism and bigotry as a threat that must be fought, and we encourage the German government and parliament to do so. However, the adopted motion does not assist this fight. On the contrary, it undermines it.”
“In addition,” the letter said, “we call on the German government to maintain its direct and indirect funding of Israeli and Palestinian non-governmental organizations that peacefully challenge the Israeli occupation.”
In May, some 60 Israeli and Jewish academics signed a nearly identical letter calling on the German government not to pass the same law, and urged the German government “not to exclude NGOs that endorse BDS from German funding.”
Signatories included 24 academics from Hebrew University, 24 from Tel-Aviv University, 11 from Ben-Gurion University, nine from Haifa University, five from the Weizmann Institute of Science, five from the Open University of Israel, and several from Bar-Ilan University, the Technion, Sapir College, and Ruppin Academic Center.
Matan Peleg, CEO of Im Tirtzu which revealed the letter, noted that “there is no parallel in the world to this phenomenon of hypocrisy and ungratefulness, in which these professors earn their living at the expense of the Israeli taxpayer yet at the same time work to boycott and slander them.”
That’s possibly a stretch, since across the West, academics bite the hands that feed them, many in connection with virulent anti-Israel sentiments. It’s the price of living in a democracy and yet another proof of the fact that working for a university and being capable of independent thinking are often mutually exclusive.