Several of most prominent promoters of the American Studies Association academic boycott of Israel attended a bizarre “redwashing” panel discussion in Beirut, at which they tried to delegitimize the Jewish people’s indigenous history in Israel and connection to other indigenous peoples. I’ll have much more on that insidious conference in another post, but for now you can read the posts by Jeffrey Goldberg and Prof. Jonathan Marks.

These academic boycotters gave an interview to The Daily Star of Lebanon that is very revealing. They played upon classic anti-Semitic tropes of Jewish money controlling the press in trying to minimize the overwhelming rejection of the academic boycott throughout most of academia.

ASA scholars stand firm by Israel boycott (emphasis added):

Since then, the organization has been forced to defend itself from a barrage of highly vocal critics who have accused the ASA of everything from anti-Semitism to threatening academic freedom.

At the conference this week, however, many ASA members reiterated their strong support for the motion.

“The boycott is also about the vision of a right to education for people; it’s about a right to democratic participation of all people and it’s about the right to land,” said Alex Lubin, a professor at AUB [American University in Beirut, on leave from University of New Mexico] and ASA member.

Despite efforts to publish op-ed pieces explaining the ASA’s position, Lubin said the organization had “effectively been blocked out of [the] U.S. press.”

The reason, he said, was “donor dollars that come to them [the publications] from the Israel lobby.”
Lubin also said many Americans took issue with the comparison between the treatment of Palestinians and Native Americans.

“Americans don’t like to talk about their country as a settlement. To name Israel as a settlement is to talk about America as a settlement,” Lubin said.

[Virginia Tech Prof. and Salon.com columnist] Steven Saleita, also an ASA member, was undeterred by the criticism the organization has faced from the presidents of some universities who have condemned the boycott.

“University presidents follow money and they follow power. It’s actually a good gauge,” he told The Daily Star. “If you’re getting the blessing of university presidents then you’re probably not doing anything productive.”

While some institutions have withdrawn their support from ASA in light of the boycott, several new universities have registered for membership in recent weeks.

“We believe the ASA resolution has broken the taboo of standing against Israeli policies in the United States, joining international public opinion in condemning Israeli policies, and supporting Palestinian rights,” wrote several members of the American University of Cairo’s faculty in an open letter of support for the boycott….

“The BDS Movement is rapidly growing across the globe, and Zionists understand it as a threat to the status quo of Israel’s settler colonialism, occupation and apartheid,” said [Wesleyan University Professor] J. Kehaulani Kauanui, a member of the ASA National Council. “The ASA resolution is an important ethical stand, one that contributes to the refusal to normalize Israel.”

It’s not surprising that these academics are taking that line, it is the line promoted by the Electronic Intifada and other anti-Israel websites.

Blaming the “Israel Lobby” is longstanding codeword for American Jews.

Listen to what they say in attacking the wide range of American society that rejects the academic boycott, regardless of position on the Middle East dispute.

It tells you everything you need to know about the true motivations of the core group of anti-Israel academic boycotters.

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