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Anti-Israel academic boycotters complain criticism violates their academic freedom to boycott

Anti-Israel academic boycotters complain criticism violates their academic freedom to boycott

As pressure mounts, academic boycotters play victim.

http://youtu.be/Fj4hDohtph4

Seriously.

The anti-Israel academic boycott launched by the American Studies Association and two smaller groups has been denounced by several dozen universities and colleges, among others, as a grievous attack on the academic freedom of everyone. The rebukes have been stunning in their severity.

Here are just three examples from dozens of University statements rejecting the academic boycott of Israel :

  • Former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, now President of Purdue University: “This is as clear a violation of academic freedom as one can imagine.  We (Purdue) do not appear to have any institutional relationship with the American Studies Association, but are checking to see whether any of our departments do.”
  • Ron Liebowitz, President of Middlebury College: “the vote is a sad reflection of an extreme and hateful ideology of some members of the academy ….  I urge others in the academic community to condemn the ASA boycott and reaffirm their support for academic freedom.”
  • James F. Jones, Jr., President of Trinity College (CT) writing to the President of ASA: “Trinity once years back was an institutional member… Were we still an institutional member, we would not be any longer after the misguided and unprincipled announcement of the boycott of the only democracy in the Middle East…. As President of the ASA, you have tarnished a once distinguished association”

The accumulation of similar statements from University Presidents and others — including people who are critical of Israeli policies — surely must sting the academic boycotters, who are under the misconception that the American world is run by the “Israel Lobby.”

To the contrary, there is near universal condemnation from a wide range of American civil society — that condemnation is heartfelt, willingly given, and reflects the best traditions of American academic life.

The refusal of American civil society to acquiesce in the anti-Israel boycotters’ attack on academic freedom is not itself an attack on academic freedom.

The boycotters also complained of Facebook harassment, but the evidence they point to is nothing more than people vigorously disagreeing with them, something that probably doesn’t take place in their classrooms.

The pressure is mounting in myriad ways, with at least four cancellations of Institutional Memberships, and numerous other Universities which say they never should have been listed as members in the first place.

Even politicians are getting involved, including a NY Assemblyman who requested a NY State Attorney General investigation because the boycott appears to be based on national origin, which violates the NY Human Rights Law.  The law applies equally to all, including anti-Israeli boycotters.

Now those behind the boycott are complaining that their academic freedom to engage in an academic boycott is being violated by those who disagree with them!

The U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI), the umbrella organization behind all these efforts, is trying to rally support for ASA by encouraging individual and institutional memberships, among other things, Support the ASA: What you can do.

USACBI claims that the academic freedom of the academic boycotters is under attack (bold in original):

Announce your support of the ASA and the right of the association to act according to the will of the membership. Academic freedom guarantees not only the individual right of faculty members to express their views, but also the autonomy of professional associations….

Defend the academic freedom of the ASA and its membership. The campaign against the ASA as an organization and the attacks against the national leadership and harassment of individual members, some of whom are graduate students or junior faculty, is an assault on academic freedom in the US and violates the basic principle that the American education system should not be held hostage to foreign interests.

Am I allowed to say “Chutzpah”?

Update: Something interesting that shows how the USACBI and the ASA Caucus on Academic and Community Activism (the group at ASA that offered the boycott resolution) are intertwined. The anti-Israel website Mondoweiss ran a version of what appeared on the USACBI (similar appeal, not quite as detailed) but identified it as coming from the Activism Caucus:

The following is a statement from the ASA Caucus on Academic and Community Activism. It is not from the American Studies Association.

ASA has been completely taken over by anti-Israel radicals who don’t seem to care what damage they do to ASA and academic freedom as long as they advance the global BDS movement against Israel.

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Comments

Poor victims.

My eyes brim with the bitter tears of 1,000 BDS-supporting academics trapped in an ivory tower with no sustenance, save for the cases of Sabra Hummus and Aroma Café coffee.

    CarsInDepth.com in reply to LukeHandCool. | December 25, 2013 at 3:08 am

    I invite the BDS crowd to personally boycott anything and everything that exists today because of Jews, Zionists or Israel. No polio vaccines or many other medical treatments, no cellphones and related stuff, no food grown with modern irrigation or hydroponics. Are they serious or not?

Antisemites. When are they going to be listed by the SPLC as a hate group?

    Christoph in reply to janitor. | December 24, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    One can oppose Israeli policies in very strong terms without being an antisemite. Indeed, many Jews do. Excellent video. Well worth the hour if you want to understand the principled opposition to the status quo. Or you can pretend the other side is evil and (politically) conservative Israeli Jews are good, and that’s it.

      janitor in reply to Christoph. | December 25, 2013 at 12:04 am

      Argumentum ab auctoritate? An American Jewish woman who vacationed (?) in Turkey et al. (why?) now is against the “occupation” of “Palestine” and the “apartheit”, so much so that she has put up youtube propganda videos.

      Your alternative to antisemite is ignorant. Where are all the MSM “dog whistle” “Uncle Tom”-type pronouncements?

      Juba Doobai! in reply to Christoph. | December 25, 2013 at 2:19 am

      Which Israeli policies do you oppose, Christoph? Which do you approve? I want to know before I label you a pro-Islamic terrorism anti-Semite.

      “should not be held hostage to foreign interests”.

      That’s a familiar phrase. I see that in Anti-Semitism there is no Left or Right; but it’s been that way for millennia.

      I wonder what they have to say about all of the malign influence on American Academic institutions brought about by Saudi oil money? Or is academic freedom simply to be sold to the highest bidder? (Probably.)

      sultanp in reply to Christoph. | December 25, 2013 at 8:27 am

      No big surprise here, Christoph. Two Jews, three opinions has *always* been the case. Israelis rarely agree on anything, so of course there is disagreement on policy. It is, however, disheartening to hear of Israelis who approve of policies that will lead to the destruction of the nation.

      What you point out about the principled opposition (or in the UK, the “Loyal Opposition”) is worth repeating. The polarization that you talk about: “you can pretend the other side is evil and (politically) conservative Israeli Jews are good, and that’s it” is a huge problem not only for Israel but for the US as well.

      MSNBC et al. do nothing except cast any dissenting opinion as evil, hateful, bigoted, etc. Agree with them or you are a paid patsy of the Koch Brothers.

      Tyrconnell in reply to Christoph. | December 25, 2013 at 12:25 pm

      Not all that long ago, a leftist Israeli academic set out to prove that the IDF were terrible people and that the “occupation” was the reason. She decided to study the number of rapes of “Palestinian” women by the IDF. After several years she couldn’t find even a SINGLE credible accusation, let alone a verified rape by the IDF, her conclusion? The IDF doesn’t rape Arab women because they don’t consider them human. So another verdict first, trail later doesn’t impress me, sorry.

    Not A Member of Any Organized Political in reply to janitor. | December 25, 2013 at 1:08 am

    ASA is the new KKK and it’s time to sue them out of existence like their bother hate-group, the KKK.

    snark snark

While I support pressure being brought to bear on Israel to encourage reform (while at the same time supporting academic freedom and disagreeing with this ASA tactic), USACBI has put forward a ridiculous argument in the two blockquoted paragraphs above. Chutzpah indeed.

These filthy leftist fascists think it fine to shout down invited speakers and to boycott others without regard to their “academic freedom,” but criticizing them is an “attack” on theirs?

Someone should slap both their faces.

This once more illustrates the futility of trying to have a rational discussion with leftists. The only opposing argument they will tolerate is silent acquiescence.

    This article and your post remind me sadly of those people who shouted down the Police Chief from NYC who was invited on campus to discuss his controversial policies.

Where is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his pressure cooker when you need him?

Chutzpah? It’s more than chutzpah, William.

When the USACBI attacks its targets as tools of “foreign interests,” the cat’s out of the bag. These people are anti-Semitic totalitarians.

I blogged on this, ‘The ASA’s Boycott of Israel is Anti-Semitism Pure and Simple’.

Keep up the good work!

Not A Member of Any Organized Political | December 25, 2013 at 1:00 am

They mean “their being free to BULLY.”

Boycott all you want on your own – losers – but your bullying days are over.

Not A Member of Any Organized Political | December 25, 2013 at 1:02 am

besides….there is NO Academic Freedom to boycott…but there is Academic Freedom to be expelled from the colleges.

“USACBI claims that the academic freedom of the academic boycotters is under attack:”
“…Defend the academic freedom of the ASA and its membership. The campaign against the ASA as an organization and the attacks against the national leadership and harassment of individual members, some of whom are graduate students or junior faculty, is an assault on academic freedom in the US and violates the basic principle that the American education system should not be held hostage to foreign interests.

Who shot the first volley, the first missives and missiles?

The anti-Semites, the BDS and the USACBI, of course!

“…the American education system should not be held hostage to foreign interests.”
Do they mean those interests of the BDS?

Those who live by the boycott die by the boycott.

So, they feel that they should be able to do and say what they want to. Everyone else should shut up!!
Lotta that going round lately.

The ASA’s purpose is “the interdisciplinary study of American culture and history.

Participation in a boycott against Israel clearly falls far outside its institutional mission.

Childish crybabies. They can dish it out but can’t absorb a blow. Time to ram it down their anti-Semitic throats.

Read between the lines. They don’t actually feel like victims, though they are annoyed at the apparent failure of their effort. BUT pretending to be victims is always an effective fund raising tactic.

We live in an age of propaganda.

Acetylsalicylic acid for all; let Aspirin be free!

Cheers

What a strange argument to claim someone’s academic freedom is being restricted by criticism. If criticism is now some kind of restriction of freedom, then Bush and Obama can sue the country.

If “academic freedom” is the argument being advanced as a defense, the American Studies Association is even more poverty struck than we thought.

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