Setting off an academic boycott is something like going nuclear. Once you set it off, it’s hard to know where the damage to academia stops. For every action there is a reaction.

That is why so many University Presidents so quickly have rejected the American Studies Association anti-Israel academic boycott. If left in place, academic BDS can and will set off a daisy chain of retaliation and demands for counter-BDS.

The people behind the ASA anti-Israel academic boycott went nuclear, with great joy and high-fiving.

Now there is a reaction and the boycotters are whining that the fierce pushback violates their academic freedom, and they are begging their friends for help.

This same group also has threatened to sue fellow professors and administrators who criticize them (in their words “intimidate”), and erroneously characterized vigorous disagreement as harassment.

These folks, who easily make false and inflammatory statements against Israel and seek to damage Israeli educational institutions and faculty, seem to feel they are immune from strenuous criticism.

They haven’t received half of what they have dished out to Israeli academia.  So far, no one has done unto the ASA boycotters what the ASA boycotters did unto Israeli academics.

How would these anti-Israel academic boycotters feel if they were subject to boycott, divestment and sanction?

We know how they would react, considering how they cannot even stand criticism.

We also have an example from Australia where Prof. Jake Lynch, who very publicly would not help an Israeli researcher with a grant application as part of BDS now is complaining when his own grant application possibly (speculatively) was denied by someone who opposed BDS.

Jake Lynch is a well-known BDSer:

Lynch also is being sued by an Israeli civil rights group for his BDS conduct:

Lynch now is complaining that he is the victim of counter-BDS retaliation.

Via, The Australian, Academic hints at link between BDS campaign and rejected research grant (emphasis added):

ACADEMIC Jake Lynch has instigated a union investigation into whether his support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel influenced the Australian Research Council to reject a grant.

The Australian can reveal that earlier this year senior AusAID officers secretly considered blocking a $580,000 grant destined for Professor Lynch’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney.

Documents obtained under Freedom of Information show then AusAID assistant director-general Rebecca Bryant said she feared approving the grant might “compound” media attention surrounding BDS, even though the proposed research program had nothing to do with the international boycott campaign seeking improved rights for Palestinians….

Professor Lynch has been in a public battle with the Coalition since May, when then opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop said a Coalition government would ensure “no grants of taxpayers’ funds are provided to individuals or organisations which actively support the BDS campaign”.

Professor Lynch’s support for BDS became headline news last year when he boycotted Israeli academic Dan Avnon, refusing to help the Hebrew University academic with his application for a Sir Zelman Cowen fellowship.

This year Professor Lynch submitted an application to the federally funded ARC for $290,000 to study the work of journalists in South Africa, Nepal, Australia and Britain.

The ARC recently rejected his application. “It could be, of course, that it was simply adjudged not quite good enough by the assessors,” Professor Lynch told The Australian. “But the Bishop statement, and the earlier evidence that AusAID … improperly took my support for BDS into account, leaves me with suspicions that this has happened with the ARC too….

Labor MP Michael Danby, a fierce opponent of BDS, said he found it ironic Professor Lynch was whinging [sic] about not getting a research grant when he had refused to help Professor Avnon get one. Rather than being the result of a “political conspiracy”, Mr Danby said, the ARC would have made its decision based on academic rigour. “Jake Lynch is not a very highly regarded academic, he’s just basically an ex-BBC journalist,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the ARC said grant applications were confidential, but ministers had not told the council to reject grant applications from BDS supporters.

What if the denial of the BDS-supporting faculty member’s grant application was retaliation? What if the BDSer had done unto him that which he did unto the Israeli researcher?

University Presidents coming out against the academic boycott of Israel are wise to respond quickly.

But Universities need to do more than just denounce the academic boycott. They need to contain the academic nuclear explosion set off by the ASA by applying university open access and non-discrimination rules to on-campus events.

That is why we will continue to raise the issue of how UT-Austin could host and sponsor the NAISA annual meeting when that group signed onto the BDS academic boycott and will conduct that conference in a discriminatory manner.

And we will raise that issue on every campus where the academic boycott groups hold conferences.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan had it right almost 40 years ago when a similar “Zionism is Racism” resolution passed the U.N. General Assembly:

The United States rises to declare before the General Assembly of the United Nations, and before the world, that it does not acknowledge, it will not abide by, it will never acquiesce in this infamous act.

For the latest updates, see:


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.