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Free the Bowdoin Boycotters! (from their own intellectual prison)

Free the Bowdoin Boycotters! (from their own intellectual prison)

My column at National Review: “Brainwashed at Bowdoin”

Readers are aware that Bowdoin College in Maine recently held a student body referendum for a full academic and cultural boycott of Israel.

It failed miserably.

I have a post at National Review looking back on the referendum, and how the SJP boycotters are doubling-down on their absolutist view of the conflict, Brainwashed at Bowdoin: Anti-Israel Boycotters Miss a Teachable Moment:

Here is an excerpt, but head over to National Review for the whole thing. And share it widely on Facebook and Twitter, or email to friends, using the links at National Review. This is a story that needs to be told:

Certainly I was happy with the result. But I would have been even happier had it led SJP leaders to reflect on why their absolutist arguments found so little traction with fellow progressive students. The defeat of the Bowdoin boycott resolution was not just a “pro-Israel” victory but also a rejection of anti-Israel absolutism. The willingness to sacrifice the academic freedom of the entire community to score political points against Israel was a bridge too far even for the progressive Bowdoin campus.

That lesson has not been learned….

The boycotters have constructed an intellectual prison from which it will be hard to escape.

For example, here is SJP’s Facebook reaction to the vote, along with two comments that I thought were pretty good:

This all may make the boycotters feel good, but in reality they are doing long-term damage to peace, to Palestinians, and to their own intellectual integrity.


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Ragspierre | May 8, 2015 at 6:04 pm

Maybe not the DAY, but certainly VERY soon after the “Palestinians” stop acting as a psychotic, murderous tribe, they will find in Israel a delighted neighbor, partner, and even friend.

But I gotta wonder how exorcised these poor, benighted yoooths are over plight of the people of Cuber, North Vietnam, and Iran (to name a few)?

Sammy Finkelman | May 8, 2015 at 6:28 pm

There are just maybe two takeaways to start with:

1) Mirror imaging is wrong.

2) The wrong side is being called evil.

The two sides are not equal. They’re not equal and the blame is being pput on the wronmg side. It’s that simple.

Nah, peace will never come the Middle East.

The fly in this ointment is that Iran always clambers for the destruction of Israel. Plus, the Gaza Arabs and the West Bank Arabs refuse to state that Israel can exist, yet they also want Israel to funnel money to that Arab semi-state, gangster like, rump of a state.

So, while Israel accepts the existence of its Arab neighbors, they do not reciprocate. The fire wood is there, soaked in keroseine, waiting for Iran or the Arabs neighbors to throw a lit match on that tender.

LukeHandCool | May 9, 2015 at 1:34 pm

Excellent piece, Professor.

The outcome was as astonishing as it was heartening.

I’d have never bet money on such a resounding defeat for an anti-Israel boycott on an American college campus in these crazy times.

Any insights as to why it went down in complete defeat?