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Israel Boycott Movement Comes to U.S.

January 26, 2009

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The movement to boycott Israeli academic institutions has largely been centered in Britain (where in 2007 the University and College Union dropped the call). In response to the conflict in Gaza, calls for academic boycotts have crossed the Atlantic, surfacing first in Ontario, and now in the United States.

The U.S. Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel, launched last week, enumerates five goals. These include: “Refraining from participation in any form of academic and cultural cooperation, collaboration or joint projects with Israeli institutions that do not vocally oppose Israeli state policies against Palestine,” “promoting divestment and disinvestment from Israel by international academic institutions,” and “supporting Palestinian academic and cultural institutions directly without requiring them to partner with Israeli counterparts as an explicit or implicit condition for such support.”

The group's press release continues, "We believe that non-violent external pressure on Israel, in the form of an academic, cultural and economic boycott of Israel, can help bring an end to the ongoing massacres of civilians and an end [to] the occupation of Gaza and Palestine" -- with "Palestine" referring to the West Bank land occupied by Israel since the 1967 war, explained David Lloyd, a professor of English at the University of Southern California who’s involved with the campaign. “We are actually literally following the call of the Palestinian civil society groups that call for a boycott, and what they ask for is a return to 1967 borders."

As of Saturday afternoon, two days after the campaign's press release went out, Lloyd reported that the campaign had received more than 70 endorsements by individuals, and two by organizations.

“Many universities in the United States have direct involvement with Israeli institutions, ranging from study abroad programs to collaborative research. And we believe that should be suspended until such time that Israel respects international and humanitarian law,” said Lloyd.

In the United States, opposition to academic boycotts is strong. A 2007 statement signed by nearly 300 university presidents sums up why: “In seeking to quarantine Israeli universities and scholars, this vote threatens every university committed to fostering scholarly and cultural exchanges that lead to enlightenment, empathy, and a much-needed international marketplace of ideas.”

The statement was issued in response to the boycott movement then afoot in Britain, and was written by Columbia University's president, Lee Bollinger. "At my institution, our president, Lee Bollinger, has said publicly that if you boycott Israeli academics you boycott us at Columbia," said Andrew R. Marks, president and founder of International Academic Friends of Israel and chair of Columbia's physiology department. "He's taken a stand against academic boycotts which I'm proud of, and I think that would be the norm among the better universities in the United States. That doesn't mean it couldn't affect our students and others who are impressionable and looking for a cause to pick up, that sort of thing, so it certainly concerns me."

Beyond the argument in favor of exchange and dialogue, “You go to the question of whether or not this [an academic boycott] could possibly ever help the Palestinian people. And that’s quite doubtful, since the academics in Israel, as in many countries, tend to be pretty left-wing and actually are some of the most forceful voices in favor of peace and fair treatment of Palestinians,” Marks continued. “So I tend to think this whole movement, which originated in the U.K., was very much an anti-Israel movement and not really honestly designed to help the Palestinians. And I think it’s very unfortunate it’s spreading to the United States, but not surprising.”

Marks said the boycott call seems to be an extension of the divestiture movement, which focuses on university investments and endowments – “so it’s not entirely new but it’s taking it a step further.”

Lloyd in fact said, of the campaign's plans, “Our effort is not so much to initiate as to connect with already existing, scattered divestment movements around the country.” Asked about the argument that academic boycotts fly in the face of academic freedom, Lloyd responded, “Israeli institutions are complicit in immense infringement on Palestinian academic freedom, so it’s really hard, it seems to me, for Israeli institutions to claim the rights of academic freedom that they are so systematically denying to their Palestinian counterparts.”

The campaign’s press release cites “Israel’s ongoing scholasticide” – a reference to its attacks on educational facilities during the war in Gaza, but also to what the writers describe as systematic, 40-year-long restrictions on Palestinian access to schools and universities in the West Bank and Gaza.

“We feel that we should not collaborate with Israel as long as it is refusing academic freedom to Palestinians. It is really a profoundly moral issue," Lloyd said.

"Presidents of universities have spoken out against the boycott of Israeli academics in the past. They are not speaking out against the systematic and gradual destruction of Palestinian institutions by Israel."

The American Association of University Professors in 2006 issued a statement opposing academic boycotts, “in view of the Association’s long-standing commitment to the free exchange of ideas.” The AAUP particularly opposes boycotts such as the one being proposed here, in which institutions would be boycotted unless they "vocally oppose" Israeli policies. “We especially oppose selective academic boycotts that entail an ideological litmus test,” the AAUP statement says. “We understand that such selective boycotts may be intended to preserve academic exchange with those more open to the views of boycott proponents, but we cannot endorse the use of political or religious views as a test of eligibility for participation in the academic community.”

Cary Nelson, president of the AAUP and a professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, added that, practically speaking, “I think it’s inappropriate to expect institutions to take positions on a nation state’s policy…. How would an institution in the United States take a stand on national policy? Would the Faculty Senate vote, would the administration impose a policy, would the entire campus vote, would the students have an equal vote?”

In Britain, student protesters in support of Gaza have held sit-ins at 16 universities, as the Guardian has reported. At the London School of Economics and Political Science, the director refused to issue a university statement condemning Israel’s attacks on Gaza, but supported a fund-raising drive for scholarships for Palestinian students.

Nelson said the scholarship approach seemed to him a creative and “specifically academic” idea. “A scholarship program for Palestinian students is a very straight-forward contribution that American academics can make and I think it’s a wonderful suggestion.”

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Comments on Israel Boycott Movement Comes to U.S.

  • Israel Boycott
  • Posted by Mark from Polytech on January 26, 2009 at 11:50am UTC
  • The conflict in Gaza was brought on by Hamas firing rockets into Israel. A boycott of Israel is a lame response that attempts to punish the victims of terror.

  • Israel
  • Posted by CM , Director, Northwest Campus at Greenville Technical College on January 26, 2009 at 1:55pm UTC
  • What most people, and groups like the one mentioned in this article, refuse to understand is that this is a two-sided affair. These groups are at war with one another. Israel, like any other country has the right to defend itself from these senseless terror attacks along their border. It is sad that civilians were killed in the most recent attacks by Israel, but who was the target of the hundreds of rocket attacks launched from the Gaza? It certainly wasn't the IDF.

    I was in Israel a year ago and found out something most people do not know - many Palestinians live at peace with Israel and are actually Israeli citizens. These people carry on business, and live at peace within their county, inside the cities of Israel as full citizens. But one never hears of this reported in the mainstream media. We only see and hear the horrors of war.

  • Reverse Patronizing
  • Posted by Gus03 , PhD on January 26, 2009 at 2:30pm UTC
  • Once again, the movement to hold Israel to a higher standard than everyone else. In this intellectual era of making sure not to erase the agency of non-dominant peoples, where is the move to hold Hamas responsible for its agency? As Obama said, you will be judged by what you can build up, not what you tear down. And by the way, Israel actually accepts accountability, even for its tearing-downs, unlike any other organization of peoples in the whole surrounding area.

  • "Israel Boycott Movement. . . "
  • Posted by Richard Ohmann on January 26, 2009 at 3:15pm UTC
  • Are U.S. academics in a position to lecture Israelis on this question, given that our taxes have for years supported Israel's project of ethnic cleansing? I would sign a petition asking our European colleagues to extend their boycott to U.S. academic institutions.

    Richard Ohmann

  • Where is their list?
  • Posted by Thinking Prof on January 26, 2009 at 3:25pm UTC
  • Where is the list of their signatories? I'd like to boycott them instead.

  • 'Boycott' of Israeli institutions?
  • Posted by Wes on January 26, 2009 at 3:45pm UTC
  • 'We believe that non-violent external pressure on Israel, in the form of an academic, cultural and economic boycott of Israel, can help bring an end to the ongoing massacres of civilians and an end [to] the occupation of Gaza and Palestine...'

    Israel doesn't occupy Gaza--they left in'05, whereupon Hamas took over and began terrorizing both the residents there and firing rockets at CIVILIANS in Israel, killing substantial numbers of innocents on both sides. All this was done with the active assistance of Iran, supplying weaponry and funds.

    The IDF came in, targeted the Hamas leadership(pretty effectively!), and then left. Along the way, they encountered schools and mosques wired with explosives, sheltering rocket launch sites and weapons caches. The engineering brigades had their hands full dealing with the mined buildings, attempting to minimize civilian casualties.

    The loss of life was tragic, but completely avoidable, had Hamas acted with restraint.
    They chose not to do so, and tragedy followed.

    The call for the boycott, like so many leftist diatribes, is wrong on the facts to to begin with, and inevitably points the finger in the wrong direction. (When all else fails, blame the Jews!)

    And, what is the point here?
    Don't these academics have real jobs, with real tasks involved, like teaching students?

    If they are feeling bored and unfulfilled, I'm certain that many of us in the real world could happily provide them a long list of useful ways to employ their time and talents.

    But, don't mind us--we just pay taxes, write tuition checks, and decide whether we should respond to the latest appeal for money from our cash-strapped alma mater.

  • Israel Boycott--why?
  • Posted by Innocent By-Stander on January 26, 2009 at 4:25pm UTC
  • It seems like this group wants to support Hamas, who has been designated a "terorrist organization" by both the EU and the US government. Nor has Hamas brought much good to Gaza in the 18 months they have been in power. Why support or even encourage them? Israel is actively working with the Palestinian Authority on the West Bank. The two seem to be at peace right now. Don't we want to support that?

  • Israel's Gaza War
  • Posted by Mike on January 26, 2009 at 4:30pm UTC
  • Since Gaza is an occuppied terriotory of Israel, Israel has a legal and moral responsibility to treat the residents of Gaza according to international conventions. But it does not. The recent deliberate and preplanned attack on Gaza's schools, universitites, hospitals, mosques, homes, and civilian centers constitute war crimes. Under the pretext of fighting Hamas, Israel used the transition time between Bush and Obama to launch this savage attack on innocent civilians and their civilian institutions.

    Israel's is more than apartheid regime. Having turned the entire Gaza into a concentration camp and bombing its unarmed civilians at will, with impunity, in violation of the UN Security Council resolutions and other international conventions, Israel has demonstrated that it is rogue regime.

    As intellectual leaders, academics have not only the freedom, but also the responsibility to protest Israel's actions, using all legitimate means.

    Mike

  • shoe on the other foot?
  • Posted by Alan on January 26, 2009 at 4:40pm UTC
  • What if European institutions had boycotted American universities and academics over the last 8 years because they didn't like American actions in Iraq and Afghanistan? Would that have encouraged American withdrawal? American academics could, instead, encourage 3-way projects between Israel, the USA, and Palestinian or Arab researchers to further peace.

  • Posted by Assistant Professor on January 26, 2009 at 6:30pm UTC
  • "Israel’s is more than apartheid regime. Having turned the entire Gaza into a concentration camp and bombing its unarmed civilians at will, with impunity, in violation of the UN Security Council resolutions and other international conventions, Israel has demonstrated that it is rogue regime."

    Using charged (and inapplicable) language to describe the conflict is intellectually lazy, and shows little care for facts of even appropriate analogy.

    South Africa was an apartheid state, in which the majority of the population of the nation was disenfranchised and discriminated against. There is no part of the population of the state of Israel that is disenfranchised. Palestinians can vote as well, and have voted for both HAMAS and Fatah.

    A concentration camp stirs up images of gas chambers and genocide - wholly inappropriate for Gaza. The HAMAS government of the Gaza strip has made as part of its charter the utter destruction of the Jewish people, and has been implicated in crimes against Palestinans as well as obvious provocations against Israel. HAMAS is a designated terrorist organization in the US and Europe, and was freely elected by the people of Gaza. The analogy of a concentration camp would only be true if the commander of Auschwitz was freely elected by the prisoners.

    Genocide is also another lie, as the Palestinian population has increased by an order of magnitude since 1947.

    Gaza's civilians are routinely used as human shields; and this fact is not held secret by HAMAS. So-called 'collaborators', or those who object to their houses being used as ammo dumps, or their mosques desecrated by being used as weapons platforms are murdered by the HAMAS government without trial.

    The Palestinian propensity of displaying the dead as some kind of morbid trophy is despicable. In no other conflict has one side paraded dead bodies as some necrophiliac theater. HAMAS claims to 'love death'; and their behavior fetishizes it.

    Do the sins of HAMAS absolve Israel? No. However, it is important to remember that when dealing with this conflict that emotive analogies serve no purpose. Calling Israel a Nazi or apartheid regime is not only factually inaccurate, but does the cause of the Palestinians no good. The conflict can be solved by objectivity and honest criticism of all sides, not by waving dead babies, recycling Nazi propaganda, and conflating Krystallnacht with national defense against an aggressor.

  • Boycott of Isareli institutions
  • Posted by Samuel Golden , Mr. at The University of Chicago (retired lawyer) on January 26, 2009 at 6:35pm UTC
  • The proposnents of a boycott are totally misguided and opposed to academic freedom. As has been pointed out, academic institutions here and abroad do not take political positions- and it would be in violation of academic freedom for them to do so. Not one word in the boycotters' position takes account of the continual bombing of Israeli towns and villlages coming from Hamas in Gaza. Should academics boycott Iranian institutions because of Iran's pursuit of the technology for the atomic bomb? North Korean institutions?
    It is possible for academics to speak out as they wish on international political matters. But boycotts of academic institutions are verboten.
    Samue Golden

  • Posted by quiet bystander on January 26, 2009 at 6:40pm UTC
  • Who has called for a boycott of China although the population in Tibet has suffered under the Chinese takeover? What has happened to the little revolution--sorry, I am a quiet bystander and have forgotten the little revolutionary country--against Mr. Putin in Russia? No one suggests a boycott against Russian intellectuals, or anything Russian that I know of. Why are the Israelis alone the targets of these anger? Are you all closet or open anti-Semites?

  • Israel/Gaza facts?
  • Posted by Peter Gotlieb on January 26, 2009 at 6:50pm UTC
  • Mike: As you will note from the other comments posted, your facts are error, beginning with your suggestion that Israel occupies Gaza. Please do some research worthy of an educator.

    Peter

  • Boycitts and Jews
  • Posted by MAT on January 26, 2009 at 7:20pm UTC
  • Are there no universities is Zimbabwe? Is there none in North Korea? In Iran or Libya?

    But then those universities lack something that Israeli universities have large numbers--Jews. Somehow boycotting universities with Jews seems so much easier.

  • Are you kidding me?
  • Posted by VanGogh'sEar , Student Affairs Officer at University of California on January 26, 2009 at 8:55pm UTC
  • Boycott Israeli academics and academic institutions? This must be step one of their 'master plan' soon to be followed by shipments of RPG's to Hamas.

    On a serious note, I do feel for the Palestinian people caught up in this nasty conflict and while not defending all of the methods and policies of Israel, I feel that they are backed into a corner. The Arab world does not want to stop the problems nor truly support the Palestinians. The Arab world loves having the Israeli-Palestinian conflict so they can paint Israel as an oppressive and evil regime and mask their true desires to kill and destroy Jews.

    Look at the U.S. policies and actions over the last eight years. Maybe we should boycott all U.S. Institutions, I'm sure that will solve everything.

  • A matter of personal conviction only
  • Posted by Michael Pyshnov on January 26, 2009 at 9:40pm UTC
  • It is very, very naive to think that the boycott "...can help bring an end to the ongoing massacres of civilians...", definitely, more than naive. I also cannot understand why there is a need for an organised boycott. If someone believes, as many do, that Israel is a fascist state, why this person would not simply say this and decline a contact with Israel? Why such person needs an organisation for this? Is that because it is much safer to say instead: "Sorry, colleague, but this is our policy"? On the other side, how can a vote by the majority of members of American Association [for something] can dictate such personal matters of conscience to others? If you have a conviction and your courage, follow them. I mean: it's the time to stop hiding your moral convictions.

  • Outrage justified, boycott not
  • Posted by Catonian on January 26, 2009 at 11:41pm UTC
  • While outrage at Israel's actions are justified, a boycott on Israeli academics is a wrong headed move, largely for the same reasons Israel's actions are wrong. A blanket boycott on Israeli academics would hit bloodthirsty Likudians and the many more sensible and peace-seeking Israeli academics with the same brunt, just as the IDF artillery shells hit women and children as well as Hamas members. It also undercuts academic freedom, which should be the central value of academe.

    However, IDF apologists upthread look pretty silly in light of a few basic points:
    1. Many have said that "Israel doesn't occupy Gaza since 05." However Israel still restricts the autonomy of Gaza in ways that nobody commenting here would find acceptable ("administering" the borders, "collecting" the duties, using the airspace, etc.) and continued to kidnap and hold ("arrest and detain") hundreds of Palestinians.
    2. "There is no part of the population of the state of Israel that is disenfranchised." This is hilarious as even the limited autonomy I describe above was denied the Palestinian people for decades at IDF gunpoint.

    But the real point is the slaughter of 1300 people, by many independent accounts resulting in more dead women and children than Hamas members using tactics that anyone could have guessed would have produced those results. No one is suggesting Israel cannot respond to the immoral rocket attacks of Hamas, they have, killing 245 Gazans last year alone (compared to 19 Israelis killed by Gazan rocket fire in the past several years). The despicable playing of the "anti-semitism" card (many critics of Israel's actions are Jewish) and the double standard card is to be condemned, can you imagine the outcry if England were to slaughter 1,300 people in response to an IRA mortar attack?

  • Posted by Roxanne on January 26, 2009 at 11:41pm UTC
  • I do so hope that the United States is not subject to the same scrutiny as Israel, we would would be boycotted by most everyone, including ourselves.

  • Posted by Naive on January 27, 2009 at 10:15am UTC
  • Don't forget to boycott the Arab faculty in Israeli universities as well! May be naive professor who "actually literally following the call of the Palestinian civil society groups that call for a boycott" doesn't know that so called poor "Palestinians" work at the Universities? Boycott them! Good luck!

  • Keep the lines open
  • Posted by Hoosier Prof on January 27, 2009 at 8:40pm UTC
  • There is much that I'd like to hold Israel accountable for. It has waged a systematic agenda to destroy Palestinian infrastructure for two generations, including commandeering Palestinian water supplies, arable land, and towns within and without the Gaza. Its most recent actions and justification of the Gaza bombings as an act of self-defense strikes me as disingenuous in the extreme given the high civilian body count, but that's just my opinion. But a boycott is still not the answer. I would rather have a direct, rational and frank conversation with my academic colleagues in Israel than shut them off -- just as others have the right to hold Americans accountable for our actions too. Unfortunately, the emotions seem to run so high -- just look at the tone of these posts -- that the rational conversation I hope for seems a little idealistic. And for the record, I am not Jewish but am married into an extended Jewish family that includes Jews and even some Zionists.

  • Posted by Dr. Anonymous on January 28, 2009 at 10:25am UTC
  • I favor the boycott. The United States boycotted the Republic of South Africa during their racist, oppressive days, and the boycott helped force reform in that country. That would be the identical reason for boycotting Israel. Israel has broken and continually breaks international law with its settlements in Palestine. Yes, the formal occupation of Gaza has ended. However, by controlling the check points, the Israelis have ensured the failure of the agricultural industry in Gaza. This brutal apartheid-like occupation and subjection of a people has to end.

  • Palestinian Universities -- I laugh
  • Posted by Frederick Smithson on January 29, 2009 at 10:00am UTC
  • The idea of Israel impinging on the academic freedom of Palestinian schools is a joke. There has never been any academic freedom at those schools. Their main purpose has always been indoctrination, not education.

    This whole idea of boycotting Israeli academia is nothing more than an attempt to isolate the Jews, a la Nazi Germany.

    Though I am not Jewish, I am terribly concerned by this attempted boycott because I see it as politicizing OUR universities and taking them away from learning and turning them into fascistic institutions geared towards achieving the narrow minded and bigoted hatreds of a few.

  • Boycott
  • Posted by Equiano on January 29, 2009 at 10:00am UTC
  • Boycott. Those who suggest a boycott is somehow unjust unless US institutions are subject to the same sanction seem to forget that citizens of the US are bound to dissent strenuously against their own government's crimes. You don't boycott an American university in some pathetic and erroneous attempt to be "balanced"-- you get out on the street. The negative response to this article only reinforces the impression that American academics have grown decadent and politically enfeebled. How many tenure-class professors-- bulletproofed against any real repercussion-- have stepped up to the challenge of a US military-economic apparatus determined-- whether in the ersatz redneck idiom of Bush or the more urbane neoliberal guise of Clinton-- to dominate the planet? Boycott. And push for the prosecution of the last administration.

  • Boycott of Israel
  • Posted by Jeffrey Feuer on January 29, 2009 at 5:25pm UTC
  • No other country in the world would tolerate rockets from an adjoining or non-adjoining territory to terrorize its citizens. The world is full of anti-semites, and thats all this is. If Mexico did this to the US how long would we tolerate it?

    Also, only the world loses out by boycotting Israel, as their technology and progress toward fighting and preventing disease is unparalleled by any other country in the world.

    It's time the Arabs stop formenting hate and work on building a progressive and democratic society instead of blaming Israel for all their problems. Iran, Syria, and other Arab countries are responsible for supplying Hamas and Hezbollah with the means to continue war with Israel. Israel only wants peace and to be left alone. If the Arabs put down their arms and worked on solving their own problems, there would be no war, no civilian casualities, and no refugees.

    This is just anti-semitism at the core.

  • Posted by Nadine G. Mendelsohn-Ziskindi at University of South Alabama on January 29, 2009 at 6:55pm UTC
  • If we boycott Israeli Academic Institutions then carry that boycott further to no use of cell phones and computers, much of which were developed in Israel or by Jews. Also, do not take the
    Sabin Oral Polio vacine, penicillin or other anitbiotics, use invasive surgery to diagnose intestinal problems instead of the mini cam developed in Israel, do not use atomic energy for peaceful means, the idea enabled by Nobel Prize Recipient, Albert Einstein, who was nominated as the first President of the new State of Israel. If you wish to boycott, then take it to its logical end and do not use the scientific, medical and humanitarian efforts contributed by Jews and Israelis. See how wonderful your life would be then.

  • Academic Boycott
  • Posted by tom on January 30, 2009 at 2:05am UTC
  • Apparently there are some in the academic community who have not done their homework in regards to the history of the Middle East.They need to do a research paper on the following:1)the rejection of the 1937 Peel Commission offering an Arab state,2)the 1948 UN Partition plan,3)the Camp David II Summit,4)and most recently the Olmert-Livni offer of 93% of Judea and Samaria. If you do your assignment objectively you will learn that this is not about land. Never has been, never will be.

  • Boycott Israel NOW!
  • Posted by KA , Dr. at Harvard University on January 30, 2009 at 12:20pm UTC
  • To all those who say that this Holocaust in Gaza was a response to rockets:
    1. According to Israeli sources, 13 Israelis were killed due to the rockets from 2001 to 2009, while at the same period Israel KILLED 1792 Palestinians (not including the last operation).. So the response was already done... and it was done as brutal and criminal as just Israel know to do.
    2. Gaza has been "CLOSED" by Israel for the last 9 years... what would you expect them to do? throw roses on you?
    As an American, the Israeli ignorance of the suffering of other side reminds me in the Nazi and the Apartheid regimes... that we MUST boycott for the welfare of the whole world.

  • Posted by Alan Edelstein on January 30, 2009 at 6:00pm UTC
  • Dear Professor Lloyd:
    >
    > I just read in the January 26th on-line edition of Inside Higher Ed
    > that you, 70 individuals, and two organizations have instituted a U.S.
    > Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel.
    >
    > I am writing to request the names and contact information of the 70
    > individuals and the two organizations who have joined you in
    > supporting a boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions who
    > "do not vocally oppose Israeli state policies against Palestine." I
    > am also requesting that you provide all information you have about
    > each person and organization's affiliations, grant providers,
    > publishers, journal affiliations, and any related information. I also
    > request that you forward such information about any persons or
    > organizations who endorse your boycott call in the future.
    >
    > I need this information to start an international boycott of these
    > people and organizations. I hope to encourage a cessation of research
    > conducted with them, grants to them, publication of their articles,
    > speaking engagements, etc. I believe a boycott is appropriate and
    > that you should be quite willing to provide this information for the
    > following reasons:
    >
    > 1. The action you and your collaborators have taken is anti-Semitic
    > and immoral. Israel is a democratic state that respects minorities
    > and has a free press and an independent judiciary. While not perfect,
    > it does its best to protect human rights while defending its citizens.
    > Despite this, you and your collaborators support a boycott of the only
    > Jewish-majority country in the world, which embodies the Jewish
    > National Liberation Movement. You have taken no such action against
    > any other national liberation movement but the Jewish one. Moreover,
    > you have not chosen to use the boycott tactic against oppressive,
    > racist, sexist, dictatorial regimes such as Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Iran,
    > North Korea, and the like. I can think of no other reason why you and
    > your associates would employ the boycott, which was one of the first
    > tools used by Nazi Germany against the Jews, when it comes to the only
    > Jewish-majority country on earth other than because you, like the Nazi
    > boycotters, are Jew-haters. Moreover, even if Israel deserved to be
    > boycotted, which it does not, you have chosen to use the weapon
    > against all Israeli academics and cultural leaders that do not vocally
    > share your beliefs. This attempt at opinion control reeks of fascism.
    > Moreover, you are holding Jews collectively guilty and imposing
    > collective punishment, just as the Nazis did. This is immoral.
    >
    > 2. You and your collaborators who support a boycott of academic
    > colleagues are violating every tenant of academia, which puts an
    > emphasis on open and free exchange of ideas and information. You are
    > violating the 2006 statement of the American Association of University
    > Professors opposing academic boycotts. Consistent with the
    > transparency that characterizes academia, you and your supporters
    > should have no problem with providing your names and affiliations, so
    > that those who find your actions offensive can institute a boycott of
    > you.
    >
    > 3. You and your colleagues who took this outrageous step should be
    > quite willing to be held accountable for your action. You should be
    > willing to be judged by the public and to live with any consequences.
    > Obviously, if you and your colleagues believe the boycott is a useful
    > tool to be used against those who are citizens of a country with which
    > you disagree, you should have no problem with people who find your
    > actions disagreeable using it against them.
    >
    > I look forward to receiving this information from you very soon. I am
    > anxious to get started on my boycott of you and your supporters. I
    > know that there are many others who share my desire to use your
    > endorsed tactic to express their opposition to a boycott of Israeli
    > academics and culture. I hope to get this information out to them as
    > soon as possible.
    >
    > In the meantime, in the spirit of your efforts, I urge you and your
    > supporters to get started boycotting products that have been developed
    > by Israeli scientists and academics. Cell phones and computer chips
    > were largely developed in Israel, so I suggest you throw those out and
    > never purchase any additional ones. The latest medicines for
    > Parkinson's and MS were developed in Israel by researchers there, so
    > please that you and your loved ones forego those drugs. The "camera
    > pill" and other non-intrusive medical devices used for finding cancers
    > and other problems in the intestines and stomach were developed by
    > Israelis, so please be sure that you and your loved ones pass on using
    > those. The latest technology for preventing terrorism against
    > airplanes was developed in Israel, so please fly only on airplanes
    > without such protection.
    >
    > Lastly, if you have tenure, I would request that you waive the
    > protections it provides you. This will allow people who disagree with
    > you the opportunity to attempt to pressure USC to dismiss you because
    > of your actions and beliefs. Given that you endorse isolating and
    > boycotting Jews who disagree with you and the only Jewish majority
    > country that exists, you should have no problem with those of us who
    > would like to have USC dismiss you for your offensive, racist,
    > anti-Semitic, Nazi-like beliefs and actions.
    >
    > Thank you very much.
    >
    >
    >
    > Sincerely,
    >
    >
    >
    > Alan Edelstein
    >
    > Sacramento, California
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >

  • Posted by monique on January 31, 2009 at 11:55am UTC
  • It is disgraceful that academics use their positions to propagandize their political views as opposed to presenting all the facts in this conflict. What is the purpose of boycotting Israeli academics? Perhaps it is the fear that they might expose the ignorance of these racists.

  • as usual the U.S. is Israeli occupied
  • Posted by Deborah on January 31, 2009 at 11:55am UTC
  • Can anyone read anymore, or is it no longer required of academics to be literate. The statement is a boycott of Israeli institutions, not individuals. And no one on the boycott list is calling Israel a "Nazi regime." And the idea that if you don't support Israel's occupation of Gaza, the West Bank and E. Jerusalem, you then support Hamas, that's pure demagogery. You can support an end to Israel's occupation without supporting Hamas. All Palestinian political factions and the international community, even the friggin' Bush administration, called for an end to Israel's occupation. What is more, the hypocrisy of Israel's unconditional supporters in the U.S. would be less galling if they countered by supporting academic freedom for Palestinians. Apparently, however, the theory of academic freedom that they assume, does not include the rights of Palestinians to not have their universities blown up, their students arrested, faculty prevented from getting to class, etc.

  • Smearing a call for a boycott
  • Posted by Deborah on January 31, 2009 at 11:55am UTC
  • To call a call for an academic boycott "support for Hamas" is pure demagogery. Whether you agree or not with the call to stoop to this level demonstrates illiteracy. There are faculty who have written arguments for an academic boycott who are Jewish and not supporters of Hamas. To fantasize that the world can all be shoved into two categories "for Israel" or "for Hamas" is to replicate Israeli government propaganda, but it doesn't represent everyone in the world. What is more, to call for a boycott is not the same thing as calling Israel a "Nazi regime."

    For the record, I am Jewish, and I find the kind of smearing of people who think an academic boycott is necessary censorious and overbearing. Believe it or not, some of us do not think identifying as Jewish means you must identify with the state that Israel has become. Some of us have a stake in Israel's defense along its 1967 borders but not with its tanks sitting on Gaza's borders or putting the Gaza Strip under seige. Nor do we support Israel's colonization of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. And that doesn't make us "anti-Semitic" or deluded or anything else. We have the right to be Jewish and not be harrassed and harangued at every turn for not towing a political line that is radically racist and hostile toward Palestinians.

  • Academics don't count
  • Posted by Herve Seligmann , Dr at University of Oslo on January 31, 2009 at 4:30pm UTC
  • What is more terroristic?

    1. end 2008, 10 armed men massacre 200 people in 2-3 days in Bombay's streets;
    or
    2. beginning 2009, a whole army retaliating at a terror group kill 1300 people in 3 weeks.

    I would suggest the boycotters to think at these numbers. They actually mean that this army, much better armed, organized and trained than these 10 terrorists in Mumbai, did extreme efforts to minimize casualties.

    Why specifically hate Israel? Because unlike other countries founded at the same time, Israel is not a total failure. What made the difference between the various national experiments? The cultural background of the populations. This, the boycott-minded people confound with a racial background. They interpret Israel's success as proving racist theories, which is immoral, therefore Israel's success is immoral. Most of all, Israel's cultural-scientific life is immoral, because it is the culmination of a society, and at that level, Israel is relatively exemplar. And therefore, they will first boycott Israel's intellectual life, which is the most threatening to their worldview (and Israel's main resource).

  • Posted by I. Samson on January 31, 2009 at 4:30pm UTC
  • The American academic world is healthy enough to repel the British exports of anti-Semitism hypocritically camouflaged as anti-Israelism

  • Posted by Phil Newton on January 31, 2009 at 6:20pm UTC
  • I am an Arab-American and a strong supporter of the rights and aspirations of Palestinian Arabs.

    I do not find boycotts such as this helpful to Arab aspirations. Such boycotts strengthen groups like Hamas, a far greater threat to average Palestinians than any other regional player. They also strengthen Rightist elements in Israel.

    Ill-advised.

  • Posted by Dennis Ruhl on January 31, 2009 at 10:20pm UTC
  • Hamas has chosen violence to solve its problems and I find it difficult to find sympathy for its methods. The unfortunate outcome with choosing violence is that it is met with violence. Arafat had the courage to eventually choose peace but even he couldn't pull it off. The Palestinians want only the victory that has eluded them for over 60 years. They have screwed up 3 generations of their people's prosperity by engaging in a perpetual war they will never win. Is one side right and one side wrong. Who cares? Just get on with life.

  • Posted by Susan Shwartz on February 5, 2009 at 5:00pm UTC
  • So, Israel is attacked, defends itself ably, and the usual academic trendroids want to boycott Israel.

    What will happen to Gaza when it is no longer chic?

    For pity's sake, the economy is falling apart, schools are suffering, your students aren't getting jobs, there's misery all over the world, and you're having an ideological ego-trip?

    We need Churchill again. Besides, it would be a pleasure to hear someone using English as an art form, not a marketing ploy.

    Yes, I know: I fail to take into account the Fact (possibility, I'll grant) that these people have Morals and Principles.

    What they're having, in my admittedly bloody-minded opinion, is entirely too much fun.

    Forget awe. Try satire.