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NY Times condemns anti-academic boycott legislation, but not academic boycott

NY Times condemns anti-academic boycott legislation, but not academic boycott

NY Times has not a bad word to say about a boycott condemned by almost all of academia.

An editorial in the NY Times condemns anti-academic boycott legislation, but not the anti-Israel academic boycotts themselves.  That legislation was passed by the NY State Senate and is pending in the Assembly (although the status in the Assembly is unclear — see  update below).  Similar legislation has been introduced in Maryland.

The academic boycott of Israel passed by the American Studies Association and two smaller groups has been condemned as a severe infringement of academic freedom and anti-educational by over 200 University Presidents, major academic groups such as the American Association of University Professors and the Association of American Universities, by 134 members of the House of Representatives, and by a wide range of commentators.

In response, the NY State legislature is working on legislation to protect academic freedom by denying state funding to groups that engage in academic boycotts.   The legislation does not punish thought, it protects academic freedom.  It may not be a perfect tool, and the wording needs to be extremely careful since it involves the state, but there is no right to state funding for any group.

Yet the Editors of the Times reserve their ire solely for the legislation while soft-peddling the academic boycott:

The New York Legislature is moving to pass a bill that would bar state financing for academic groups that have taken official action to boycott higher-education institutions in Israel. The initiative, which last week passed the State Senate, is now pending before the Assembly. It should be voted down by lawmakers, or, if they prove feckless, Gov. Andrew Cuomo should veto it.

The bill was introduced after the American Studies Association, an organization of scholars, in December adopted a resolution supporting a call by Palestinians to boycott Israeli academic institutions. The group said it would refuse formal collaborations with Israeli academic institutions or with scholars who represent those institutions or the Israeli government until “Israel ceases to violate human rights and international law.” The boycott does not apply to individual Israeli scholars engaged in ordinary exchanges.

The resolution has caused waves because it reflects a growing support for the Palestinian boycott, divestment and sanctions movement as Palestinian and Israelis approach a critical point in American-mediated peace efforts. The United States is expected to soon reveal a framework for a peace deal that has been under negotiation for months.

The Times Editors pick up on a lie about the boycott, that it doesn’t affect individual scholars.  As I have demonstrated, the actual Resolution adopts the full sweep of the international boycott, which includes individuals.

Moreover, notice how the Times frames the opposition to the boycott merely in terms of the effect on the peace process, when in fact the hundreds of university statements against the boycott decry the threat to education and academic freedom.

There is not a word of condemnation for the academic boycott by the Editors of the Times.

That tells you everything you need to know about the anti-Israel bias at The Times, something we document here frequently.

Update:  The anti-Israel Mondoweiss website reports that the NY Assembly bill “will be reworked, so it could come back in a different form.”  That makes sense, and ultimately may be a good thing, because worse than no bill is an unconstitutional bill.  The legislature can craft a bill that both achieves the objective while also being constitutional, it just needs to take care and not rush through sloppy language.  Whether it should do that, and allow the villains to play victim, is another question entirely.


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I’ll be honest (please go easy when slamming me) I have concerns over these types of legislations.
I don’t in any way,shape,or form support the bds/anti-israel stuff (I would tend to always support pro-israel stuff personally) but I have concerns over legislation used to stifle people rights to act as stupidly as they want.
whats next, using the irs to target the anti-israel people? that sound familiar?
I realize when dealing with academic items and its funding its not cut and dried but I would tend to err on side of caution here.

    Valerie in reply to dmacleo. | February 4, 2014 at 10:57 am

    I’m not real fond of knee-jerk legislation, myself. It does have a tendency to be poorly written, and may turn out to be perverse in its result. I would want to know the text.

    However, it also seems to me that if the states can’t so much as buy textbooks for state-required classes for parochial schools, they surely cannot pay for the activities of a modern-day Ku Klux Klan.

    We all know that bigots and fools have a right of free speech. They do not have the right to have the States pay for their oppressive activities.

    Estragon in reply to dmacleo. | February 4, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    I would much prefer such groups not be the beneficiaries of taxpayer largesse in the first place, but academia is largely subsidized by tax dollars. If they are going to take our money, we should be able to specify, at least, how it may NOT be spent.

    gasper in reply to dmacleo. | February 4, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    Our government has, and continues to inundate our society with laws intended to modify behavior. Sometimes they’re right and sometimes they’re wrong. Personally, I don’t want this kind of free speech practiced on my nickel. I think it’s appropriate to withhold tax dollars from institutions that support this hate speech. Of course, there are others who don’t have a problem with their taxes used for this purpose. I believe there are more of the former than the latter. And most of the latter are NYT readers who are becoming a dwindling audience.

    Nothing wrong with giving them a taste of their own medicine.

re: “I’ll be honest (please go easy when slamming me) I have concerns over these types of legislations.”

Yes, I likewise have concerns over these types of legislation. Personally, for myself, I believe that a horsewhip, tar and feathers would be much more productive in causing people to reconsider their aberrant amoral views. This type of behavior modification would probably be considered torture by the liberal progressive utopians though, that moral rot called PC is their philosophy of choice.

We tend to spend a lot of time trying to keep the camel’s nose from under the tent. In my experience, most of the time there is no slippery slope behind knee-jerk legislation and, when there is, it’s usually pretty obvious.

I’ve been giving it some thought, and it seems to me that specialized legislation with narrow focus is unlikely to metastasize in a distopian world of 1984. “Populist” legislation is enacted quite often, and where it is not sufficiently self-limiting, it tends to be corrected or forgotten.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t think we should be ever-vigilant for the type of legislation that is likely to be a foot in the door for something more sinister. I just think we should each exercise discretion in where we invest our concern. I don’t think this legislation in NY is likely to lead to anything, and is largely symbolic. YMMV

    Icepilot in reply to Immolate. | February 4, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    Regarding camel’s noses & tents – Conservatives need to start thinking in terms of grabbing that camel by the nose, pulling it into the tent & beating the crap out of it.

    Use (carefully) all moral, legal and available tools to bludgeon these traitorous propaganda outlets and the organizations they support. Go Seahawks on ’em.

“The resolution has caused waves because it reflects a growing support for the Palestinian boycott, divestment and sanctions movement…”

Now, see, THAT is just a flat-footed lie. The “waves” of revulsion are NOT caused by “growing support” for this thuggish, reactionary movement, but by people looking at it objectively, seeing it for what it is, and execrating the “thinking” behind it as an assault on intellectual freedom.

I too am concerned about the legislature weighing in on something that we mere citizens are perfectly capable of doing on our own. Then again, having the legislature draw a line in the sand can be useful, as it is here: “you, the public universities, will NOT participate in this reprehensible boycott on pain of your state funding”. I think that’s specific and limited enough that it won’t set the stage for over-reach in the future.

With regard to the Times, can anyone point to an NYT editorial that ever once unabashedly supports the right of Israel to exist? With them it’s always the “yes but…” writing that begrudges Israel some subordinate right to stay alive so long as the Palestinians receive first billing.

So what the Times wrote is just par for the course, unless I’m missing something.

Not A Member of Any Organized Political | February 4, 2014 at 11:05 am

Irrelevant and obsolete – how lucky can the old dead New York Times get?

NY Times? Seriously? *Yawn* Does anyone care? Does anyone except koolaid drinking libtards actually believe what the NY Times says? Why do we even continue to give that bird cage liner the honor of quoting it or linking to it?

Insufficiently Sensitive | February 4, 2014 at 11:16 am

…while soft-peddling the academic boycott…

Peddling, as in selling. Yes, the NYT approves of the boycott, and is softly bulldozing public opinion in support of it.

If not for Mexican monopolist billionaire Carlso Slim, the NYT would have been sold off for its real estate and equipment years ago. But not even the continuing influx of Slim’s ill-gotten funds can save NYT in the long term.

At least it is fitting that it is a scion of the owning families who is putting the final nails in the coffin. Depending on the source, somewhere between 200-400 adult members of the Sulzberger-Ochs families rely on the NYT dividends as their primary or sole source of income.

I should only live to see them turned out of their mansions and cushy apartments to the tune of Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone”