Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Modern language Association: Wake Up and smell the Coffee

The Modern Language Association appears to be next on the BDS Israel bandwagon. Lets hope they wake up and smell the coffee before joining the American Studies Associations foray into academic hari-kari.

As of today, 100 universities and colleges have joined together to condemn the proposed academic boycott of Israel. We owe special thanks and gratitude to Prof. William Jacobson of Cornell (and the blog Legal Insurrection) for declaring this "the hill to fight on", and taking command. Thanks are due as well to Avi Mayer,  for keeping score.

Gotta love this dismantling of the ASA resolution by  the president of Catholic University John Garvey.


The American Studies Association’s recent call for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions is lamentable. The Association has appointed itself as a kind of inept volunteer fire department, aiming to put out the Israeli-Palestinian conflagration by throwing gasoline on the fire. That’s not exactly right. It has decided to pour gas not on the source of the fire but on bystanders, some of whom are trying to extinguish the flames. No good can come of punishing academic institutions for the shortcomings, real and perceived, of their nations’ leaders and policies.

Rather than restricting academic freedom to advance political causes, academic organizations like the ASA should be working to foster dialogue with their foreign interlocutors, perhaps especially those they disagree with. The academy – universities, faculties, and satellite institutions – is a place where research, open discussion, and creative thought can lead to reforms and new approaches to longstanding problems. I hope the ASA’s call for a boycott produces just the opposite of its intended result – a proliferation of U.S. linkages with Israeli universities and other universities in the Middle East.

1 comment:

Gary Fouse said...

Scholars for Peace in the Middle East has a great statement on the ASA.