Over 1000 Academics Sign Anti-BDS Petition
The BDS movement targets individuals, and is getting more personal.
Faculty associations have been a focus of anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activity.
Unlike at universities, where there are counter-balancing constituencies, such associations can be hijacked by relatively small percentages of the membership, who take over committees and national councils. This allows the agenda to turn away fein the academic purposes of the organization, and instead, to turn the organizations into anti-Israel activist platforms.
We have seen that play out at the American Studies Association and some smaller associations. The American Anthropological Association just finished membership voting on a BDS resolution, but the results have not been announced.
The faculty association warfare on Israel is getting very personal:
The Academic Council for Israel, a relatively new group, has issued a press release announcing that over 1000 Academics have signed an anti-BDS Petition (I was a signatory):
New York, May 31, 2016— A number of academic professional organizations have passed or are considering anti-Israel resolutions connected with the boycott, divestment and sanctions efforts against Israel. We oppose any academic professional organizational attempt to boycott Israeli institutions of higher education.
We the undersigned more than 1000 academics: professors, instructors, administrators, researchers and academic staff oppose all forms of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.
The Academic Council for Israel (ACfI) and our partner organizations Scholars for Peace in the Middle East, Stand With Us, the American-Israel Cooperative Enterprise and the Louis D Brandeis Center for Human Rights are releasing today our petition to fight the bigotry of the boycott movement, which seeks to apply a double standard against Israel and Israeli nationals, as well as anyone who supports Israel.
We are calling upon all academics of good conscience to join more than 1000 of your academic colleagues in opposing anti-Israel BDS resolutions being considered or already voted on by some academic professional associations.
WE OPPOSE ALL BDS RESOLUTIONS AND CAMPAIGNS.
The petition states the following:
We, the undersigned College and University faculty, administrators, staff, and trustees, oppose academic boycotts and specifically condemn the most recent attempts at boycotting Israel by the American Anthropological Association, National Women’s Studies Association, and other associations.
Understanding that academic, cultural, and commercial boycotts, divestments, and sanctions of Israel:
- Are counterproductive to the goal of peace,
- Represent an anti-democratic process intent on undermining the Jewish people’s right to self-determination in their homeland, Israel,
- Seek to commandeer our educational system and professional societies for political ends and are thus a travesty of professional ethics and conduct, and
- Are antithetical to genuine academic freedom,
We stand united in our condemnation of calls and campaigns for boycott, divestment from, and sanctions against Israeli academic institutions, professors, products, and companies that do business in or with Israel.
We recognize that individuals and groups may have legitimate criticism of Israeli policies. Criticism becomes antisemitism, however, when it demonizes Israel, applies double standards to Israel, denies Israel the right to defend its citizens, or questions Israel’s right to exist.
The BDS misrepresentation of the conflict between Israel and Palestinian Arabs is one-sided and untruthful, and therefore unworthy of the academic community. Moreover, by pursuing delegitimization campaigns on campus and in academic professional organizations, anti-Israel proponents provoke harmful divisions among students and have created an atmosphere of intolerance and hatred.
BDS resolutions will not contribute to peace or justice. Political wisdom and moral good will require that they be resoundingly rejected.
THEREFORE WE OPPOSE ALL BDS RESOLUTIONS AND CAMPAIGNS.
Such a petition will not stop the academic BDS movement in itself, but it about time that pro-academic freedom faculty speak up.
Too many people have invested their careers and self-worth in anti-academic freedom hate, like this graduate student and BDS activist in Galway, Ireland, who disrupted an appearance by a left-wing Zionist visiting professor:
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When I went to graduate school, I thought of it as climbing up into that ivory tower, away from the crude behavior such as that in the video. BDS is the antithesis of any kind of academic community.