[Featured image above from Facebook page of anti-Israel academic boycotter.]

The anti-Israel academic boycott by the American Studies Association has given rise to a massive pushback from a broad range of American civil society, including from over 180 university presidents (as of this writing), leading university and faculty organizations, other academics, and columnists far and wide.

Politicians also are getting involved, with a congressional letter denouncing the boycott circulating and proposed legislation in New York.

On top of that, based upon sound principles of the law of charities and the facts, I have challenged ASA’s tax-exempt status. The Israeli Law Center has served notice that it believes the boycott is unlawful discrimination.

The isolation of ASA and the academic boycotters is nearly complete outside their anti-Israel bubble.

Early on I noted that ASA and the academic boycotters were setting themselves up as victims of this pushback.

That was evidenced almost from the moment the boycott passed, when the boycotters threatened legal action against critics in academia on the ground of unspecified threats and attacks.  There also was a statement issued complaining of harassment and asking for help from other academics.

Yet the only evidence the boycotters pointed to specifically were comments on the ASA’s Facebook page. But I downloaded those comments and posted them in a pdf. The comments were highly critical, but I did not see threats of violence or other unlawful action.

The claim of victimhood was evidenced in an Emergency Resolution filed this weekend at the Modern Language Association Annual Meeting, asking the MLA to denounce “attacks” on ASA.

MLA Emergency Resolution

The Resolution was introduced at the MLA Meeting on behalf of MLA’s “Radical Caucus” (yes, there is such a thing) by Grover Furr, a Professor at Montclair State University who denies that Stalin committed even one crime or killed millions. Seriously, see this Video and Ron Radosh’s account.

Prof. Jonathan Marks notes:

Furr is a defender of Stalin (perhaps one of the last remaining on the left), a retailer of disgusting allegations of Zionist complicity in the Holocaust, and a critic of non-violent protest (BDS is apparently too soft for him). Don’t take my word for it. He says it all on his own website here and here.

The Emergency Resolution needed 75% of the delegates even for it to be discussed, and it fell far short.  Nonetheless, the pro-BDS Chair of the MLA delegate meeting promised that the Emergency Resolution would be conveyed to the Executive Committee for consideration, as Joel Griffith reported here:

In a severe blow to BDS advocates, only 41% of the delegate assembly voted to send the Radical Caucus resolution to the floor for debate. This fell far shy of the 75% requirement to consider an “emergency resolution.

Despite delegate refusal to even debate the resolution, the chair of the session assured the Professor Furr that his resolution would still be referred to the MLA’s Executive Committee for consideration.

The chair who chose to circumvent the delegate assembly is Margaret Ferguson, professor from UC Davis. She is a public supporter of BDS and the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.

Don’t expect this campaign to portray the boycotters as victims to stop.

The Featured Image above is from the Facebook Page of Prof. Cynthia Franklin, one of the most outspoken and vigorous ASA supporters of the academic boycott.

There is a truly ironic aspect of an academic boycotters insisting that the academic boycotters are the ones defending academic freedom.

But irony was not the intent.  The intent was and is to delegitimize criticism of the academic boycott.

If the ASA boycotters are receiving unlawful “threats,” they should file criminal complaints or commence legal action under anti-stalking or similar laws. Or they could call out those making the threats by name.

But unlawful threats do not appear to be what is at issue.

Rather, it appears the boycotters cannot withstand the withering criticism from American civil and political society.

The academic boycotters have lived for too long in a bubble in which their views predominated because students were too intimidated to speak up, other professors didn’t want to take on single-issue fanatics, and administrators were intimidated.

But we are not intimidated. As I stated before, this is the hill we will fight on. Lawfully. Intellectually honestly.  And without allowing the academic boycotters to play victim.

The days of the hateful BDS ideology going unchallenged on campuses and in academic organizations are over.

That’s not a threat. It’s a promise.

Update 1-13-2014: Embedded below are the materials handed out by Prof. Furr in support of the Emergency Resolution. Note that the materials as to the “attack” on ASA do not include any evidence of unlawful threats. Most of the materials are from the anti-Israel Mondoweiss website:

Emergency Resolution Materials at Modern Languages Assn 2014 Meeting


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