Nobody asked but University of Chicago leaders have also now denounced “academic boycotts” http://t.co/Fej6yh0pcUThe BDS movement went too far this time. Its position on academic boycotts is indefensible.
— Ali Abunimah (@AliAbunimah) December 23, 2013
The supporters of academic BDS have exposed themselves as the threat to civil society they are. It’s easy to laugh when they do flash mobs outside coffee shops and in grocery stores and call for the boycott of hummus. It’s not so easy to laugh when they shout down speakers.
It creates spontaneous outrage when they use academic organizations as political tools and easily cast aside the academic freedom of everyone in their desire to damage Israel.
BDS charged up the wrong hill.
When some of the harshest critics of Israeli policies say an academic boycott of Israel is too much, the academic BDS movement has no ground to stand on.
This is not, as Electronic Intifada claims, a counterattack by the Israel Lobby. It’s a counterattack by American civil society, and soon political society, against the attack on our core freedoms.
Don’t let this pass with just denunciations.
This is the hill to fight BDS on.
Prof. William Jacobson has been among those taking the lead in this assault against our academic freedom. Please follow Legal Insurrection to keep up to date on this issue.
StandWithUs has also come out with practical steps you can take to fight back.
1. WRITE TO THE PRESIDENT OF UNIVERSITIES/COLLEGES WITH WHICH YOU ARE AFFILIATED AS A STUDENT, PARENT OF STUDENTS, ALUM, FACULTY, OR DONOR. URGE THE PRESIDENT TO:
- Withdraw the school from the ASA if it is an institutional member of the organization.
- Publicly denounce the ASA and the academic boycott. In 2007, over 300 presidents of American universities signed a statement deploring academic boycotts as "utterly antithetical to the fundamental values of the academy," and declared, "Boycott Israeli universities? Boycott ours too!" University leaders should have the same united response today.
- Not allow university funds to be used for ASA-related activities. The ASA has demonstrated that it is a politicized organization, no longer one of scholars devoted to research and education. As former Harvard University president Lawrence Summers, said "My hope would be that responsible university leaders will become very reluctant to see their university funds used to finance faculty membership and faculty travel to an association that is showing itself not to be a scholarly association but really more of a political tool."
- Publicly deplore the ASA`s travesty of scholarship, research and analysis, and reassure the community that the school will uphold scholarly standards. The resolution is based on distortions, erasure of context, and false or disputed claims, and uses circular reasoning or irrational leaps of logic. It is not based on sober, reasonable analysis or rational analysis of evidence. It is an assault on the most elementary scholarly standards.
- Publicly denounce the ASA`s assault on Israel. BDS is an extremist movement that defames the Jewish state and denies the Jewish people`s rights to self-determination, statehood, and security. This resolution is destructive: it does nothing to further peaceful coexistence and a resolution of the conflict. Furthermore, as former Harvard University president Lawrence Summers noted, singling out Israel for opprobrium is anti-Semitic in effect if not in intent.
- Actively seek more institutional partnerships with Israeli universities: an anti-academic boycott of Israel. Israel`s extraordinary achievements in scholarship and research in multiple fields have benefited the world. American schools should dramatically increase their partnerships with Israeli academia to further such contributions.
- Publicly denounce the ASA resolution. This bigoted resolution is an assault on academic freedom, educational standards, and Israel. Public officials should join together to denounce it.
- Urge schools that are ASA institutional members to sever their association. (The list of 83 schools that are institutional members is below.)
- Ensure that public funds are not used to support ASA activities. Many schools receive federal and/or state funding. Government officials should not permit public funds designated for education to be used for political activities, and certainly not for political extremism and bigotry.
- Encourage and facilitate partnerships between Israeli academia and American schools.