Jewish establishment slams MLA boycott panel for not including Israel advocates

mla2014-logo

The Modern Language Association’s (MLA) annual convention doesn’t kick off until next week. But major Jewish groups like Hillel aren’t waiting to take aim at the MLA over a panel on the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement that they say is one-sided.

The conference, to be held in Chicago, has become the latest battlefield over Israel in American academia because of a January 9th panel on academic boycotts.  It features three strong supporters of the academic boycott of Israel: Omar Barghouti, the most prominent Palestinian advocate for BDS; David Lloyd, a scholar and organizer with the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI); and Barbara Harlow, a professor who endorses the call for an academic boycott.  The panel also features Samer Ali, a scholar who is critical of the Israeli occupation but not supportive of academic boycotts, and Richard Ohmann, whose views on academic boycotts are unclear but who supports efforts to pressure a pension fund to divest from corporations doing business with the Israeli military.

As Ali told the Chronicle of Higher Education, it’s not a panel to debate the Israeli occupation.  Rather, it’s a panel to explore the merits of an academic boycott.  But pro-Israel groups are coming down hard on the MLA for not including their perspective–echoing frequently heard calls for balance when critics of Israel come to college campuses.

On January 1st, the Chicago Tribune published an Op-Ed by members of the American Jewish Committee arguing that it makes no sense to target Israel–” the only democracy in the Middle East, where academic freedom is alive and well”–and that the panel “doesn’t even pretend to examine both sides of the question.”

One day later, Hillel International and the Israel on Campus Coalition issued a statement criticizing the MLA for refusing to include their perspectives at the conference.  The organizations were denied the ability to do so since the deadline to put together panels was April 1, 2013.  (The complaints over balance come in the midst of a separate controversy over how Hillel bars anti-Zionist Jewish students and advocates from speaking under the organization’s roof.)

The two groups say they are exploring hosting an off-site panel near the Chicago convention to counter the boycott panel and to hear MLA members who oppose a resolution being voted on at the conference condemning Israel’s denial of entries to academics invited to Palestinian universities.

Rosemary Feal, the executive director of the MLA, told Inside Higher Ed‘s Scott Jaschik that the association “often accepts sessions that present a particular viewpoint.”  Feal added that audience members will be given at least 30 minutes to discuss the issue.

BDS proponents also said that the issue of balance only comes up on this issue.

“Only in the context of Palestine does such a question arise,” David Lloyd told Jaschik. “It used, indeed, to be a regular condition of hosting an event on Palestine on many campuses that it should take the form of a debate or dialogue, spurious as dialogue must be under such asymmetrical conditions of power and violence.”

About Alex Kane

Alex Kane is an assistant editor for Mondoweiss and the World editor for AlterNet. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.
Posted in Activism, American Jewish Community, BDS, Israel/Palestine, US Politics

{ 66 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Les says:

    Considering the Jewish establishment’s ownership of our media, we should remember Amira Hass’s point that reporters are supposed to report on the powerful and how they exercise that power, which for her means one doesn’t give equal time to the prison guard and the prisoner.

  2. JeffB says:

    Good. Make sure that if the MLA vote does go the wrong way narrowly American Zionists can talk about vote rigging, biased panels, suppression of the pro-Zionist viewpoint directly prior to the vote…. The more corrupt, unbalanced and non-democratic the better. I’d want as many grounds for objection grounded in fact as possible.

    Unlike the ASA the MLA is genuinely prestigious. The MLA vote is not a token defeat. Israel was able to thrive when American Academia still had anti-Jewish quotas so I don’t see this endorsement as a threat. But still it is rather unpleasant to see an organization like MLA seriously flirting with explicit institutional anti-Semitism in endorsing BDS. There is no way to argue anymore in academia that treating Jews / Israel unlike the rest of the countries in the world is beyond the pale if MLA endorses it.

    A symbol but an important one for the Palestinians.

    • did you miss this from the text:

      The organizations were denied the ability to do so since the deadline to put together panels was April 1, 2013.

      you have not been around here very long so perhaps you don’t recall it wasn’t so long ago pro israel groups, even j street refused to debate, be on a panel, or participate opposite anti zionists or bds. i still think beinart won’t partake. i can’t recall if any mingling on that level was going on last spring. but these conferences were not put together on the fly. it’s a little late to be yammering on not having been included when they didn’t apply (as surely bds supporters did) before the deadline 9 months ago. boo hoo, maybe they won’t make that mistake again.

      • JeffB says:

        Tried to reply. Long comments aren’t getting through. Not worth the time to keep having to author again and again.

        • if your comment didn’t make it thru it’s not necessarily because it’s long (albeit one hardly needs 11 paragraphs to say ‘your position is morally indefensible’). try submitting it without using lies as a cornerstone to make your point. and if you can’t figure out what that is submit it in chunks and see what doesn’t make it.

          also, your analogy of a defendant in court being prevented from producing evidence in their favor ..hmm. even courts have formalities lawyers have to follow to present evidence. and there’s a 30 minute period after the panel talks to discuss so technically there’s no banning of other ptv.

          again, there was a policy set by zionist orgs of not engaging bds supporters. this is how their own policy came back to bite them. they should learn from this experience that however they may wish, they don’t set the rules of the debate. in this instance, they failed to get their application in in a timely manner til months and months after the deadline and likely as a reaction to getting their collective a**es kicked at ASA. now they are scrambling to get their voices heard. this is not going away, there will be numerous other chances to debate bds’ers and multiple conferences coming up in the future. besides, they’ve got the msm to blast their ptv all over the place. hold onto your hat, the ride is just starting to get bumpy and it’s down hill for your team from here on out.

        • talknic says:

          JeffB ” Not worth the time to keep having to author again and again”

          Cut and paste your authored pieces to and from a text file.

          ” Long comments aren’t getting through. “

          One hears this complaint from so many of Israel’s apologists when they actually have no valid come back.

          BTW You do realize the site owners can check to see if you have indeed attempted long comments

    • amigo says:

      Give up the zio nonsense jeffy boy.

      “Let,s see.If I remember correctly, how many Bedouin advocates were invited to the making of “The Prawer Plan”, a big fat zero.

      How many Palestinians whose homes /land have been destroyed to make way for illegal settler thieves had delegates invited.”.

      Quit your tiresome belly aching.

      How come your still here.You should have been BDSed.long ago.

    • Giles says:

      American Academia does indeed have Jewish quotas. The Ivies are filled with kids who would not have gotten in were they not Jewish; at the expense of Asians and non-Jewish white students.

    • Sumud says:

      What evidence can you provide to back up your claim that BDS or endorsing BDS is anti-semitic?

      Not opinion – evidence.

    • There will not be a vote at this January’s conference. Just this panel discussion.

    • American says:

      There is no way to argue anymore in academia that treating Jews / Israel unlike the rest of the countries in the world is beyond the pale if MLA endorses it. “” …….
      …….Jeffb

      Well then, if thats what you believe it should give you pause to consider what Israel is doing wrong to have generated such oppositon to it.

  3. seafoid says:

    Bethlehem Unwrapped in London invited the Israeli Ambassador to put the case for the wall that is strangling the town. He pulled out. Hasbara is dead, baby.

    • pabelmont says:

      seafoid: if hasbara is dead, the surely ALL pro-Palestine (or anti-occupation, anti-apartheid, etc.) meetings should make it a practice to issue an invitation to someone (yes, but to whom?) — perhaps to the local Hillel (if in an academic setting) or to SWC or ADL — to send a speaker to represent an alternative viewpoint (for balance!). Give them some time and let the audience decide which arguments it likes best. and if (as in the case of the refusal by the Israeli Ambassador) the invitation is refused, then PUBLICIZE the refusal the next time someone complains about lack of balance.

  4. Jews are less than 2% of our population – they are already well represented in this argument. BDS is the only way to change this Israeli apartheid against the Palestinians. We have tried every other reasonable path.

  5. RE: “Hillel International and the Israel on Campus Coalition issued a statement criticizing the MLA for refusing to include their perspectives at the conference.” ~ Kane

    MY COMMENT: This nothing more than a tactic. The Israel on Campus Coalition has little interest in a debate. It wants to silence any and all criticism (inclucing BDS) directed at Israeli policies.

    SEE: “The Trial of Israel’s Campus Critics”, by David Theo Goldberg & Saree Makdisi, Tikkun Magazine, September/October 2009

    [EXCERPT] . . . It is an extraordinary fact that no fewer than thirty-three distinct organizations – including AIPAC, the Zionist Organization of America, the American Jewish Congress, and the Jewish National Fund – are gathered together today as members or affiliates of the Israel on Campus Coalition. The coalition is an overwhelmingly powerful presence on American college campuses for which there is simply no equivalent on the Palestinian or Arab side. Its self-proclaimed mission is not merely to monitor our colleges and universities. That, after all, is the commitment of Campus Watch, which was started by pro-Israel activists in 2002. It is, rather (and in its own words), to generate “a pro-active, pro-Israel agenda on campus.”
    There is, accordingly, disproportionate and unbalanced intervention on campuses across the country by a coalition of well-funded organizations, who have no time for — and even less interest in — the niceties of intellectual exchange and academic process. Insinuation, accusation, and defamation have become the weapons of first resort to respond to argument and criticism directed at Israeli policies. As far as these outside pressure groups (and their campus representatives) are concerned, the intellectual and academic price that the scholarly community pays as a result of this kind of intervention amounts to little more than collateral damage. . .

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to tikkun.org

  6. AbeBird says:

    In the mean time there are some American universities that practically boycotting ASA and MLA.

  7. amigo says:

    This is rich from ziosville.

    Let,s see.If I remember correctly, how many Bedouin advocates were invited to the making of “The Prawer Plan”, a big fat zero.

    How many Palestinians whose homes /land have been destroyed to make way for illegal settler thieves had delegates invited.

    It gets tiresome listening to these self indulgent hypocrites..

  8. kenwaltzer says:

    Commentary here is as thin as the rationale behind the misguided effort at boycott. Relevant here is that the MLA has considered boycott in the past, 2002-03, and rejected academic boycotts as violating academic freedom.

    All you true believers would scream bloody murder if pro-Palestinian advocates were barred from campuses (they should not be). Yet you would like to bar Israeli scholars (many of whom are actually critical of Israeli gov’t policies and have relevant expert knowledge) and bar cooperation with Israeli institutions. Unacceptable.

    • the weakness of your argument is that you’re unwilling to address the actual terms of the boycott (it does not call to ” bar Israeli scholars”) and resort instead to smearing bds supporters by making claims as to their intent (or what they would allegedly ‘like to do’) which you can’t source or support.

      it’s just an ad hominem crutch, nothing more. phff

      are you this ken waltzer link to jmc.msu.edu ?

      certainly with your credentials you should be able to come up w/an argument that doesn’t boil down to ‘i know what you guys are really thinking!’ lol.

      and yes, of course we’d like to bar cooperation with state institutions that support/cooperate with apartheid and the occupation. there’s nothing unacceptable about that.

    • jon s says:

      Welcome, Professor Waltzer.

    • Dr Waltzer, there will be no vote on this issue at the January 2014 conference, just a panel discussion that does include a panel member not supportive of BDS. Please try to read more carefully before you accuse commenters here of dishing out a thin gruel.

      Your use of the term “All you true believers,” neglects to reflect that commenters here come from immensely divergent backgrounds and often reflect significant differences from one another on issues such as what will be under discussion at the MLA conference.

      I am generally supportive of BDS as articulated by Mr. Barghouti, but correspond with Israeli academics and artists fairly regularly, and use a text in one of my classes written by a Hebrew University prof who lives in an illegal settlement.

      Perhaps next time you attempt to accompany Noam Chomsky, your MIT colleague on a speaking tour about your books and papers at universities or colleges in Gaza and the West Bank, you can reflect on the barring of scholars more authentically than in your hasty, ill-considered comment.

      The reality, though, is that few of us here would “like to bar Israeli scholars” from any event.

      link to google.com

    • Woody Tanaka says:

      “Commentary here is as thin as the rationale behind the misguided effort at boycott.”

      Damn, Kenny. Didn’t your parents teach you manners?? You’re a guest here; please have the class to act like it.

      “All you true believers would scream bloody murder if pro-Palestinian advocates were barred from campuses (they should not be).”

      Please, show us the evidence of all the hell you raised when Tariq Ramadan was getting hosed by the US government for no good reason. Surely if you’re position is a heart-felt one, then surely you must have protested extensively. Or is this newfound respect of yours for academic freedom just something that conveninently arose when israeli institutations were called to account??

    • American says:

      kenwaltzer says:
      January 5, 2014 at 11:46 am

      Commentary here is as thin as the rationale behind the misguided effort at boycott. Relevant here is that the MLA has considered boycott in the past, 2002-03, and rejected academic boycotts as violating academic freedom.
      >>>>>>>

      You’r entitled to your opinion but it makes zero difference to those of us who want to see both Palestine oppression and Zionist meddling in the US government end.

      Neither is it relevant what was rejected in 2002-3—-what is ‘revelant’ is Israel is even worse than was in 2002-3 and is evidently incapable of changing without being given ‘lessons’.
      More talk, excuses and hasbar is what is ‘unacceptable’.

      If academic boycotts can bring more attention to I/P then its a legitimate tool. This boycott is an expression of academic freedom—-a statement on the immorality and injustice of Israel by a number of academics.

      If some innocent Israeli academics are injured by the boycott then that is just the price innocents have always paid for their evil governments.
      Looking for justice trumps hurt feelings and so called ‘academic freedom’.

      Would you prefer we use some harsher methods to bring attention to Israel’s ..and the US’s …..crimes in Palestine?

    • Ron Edwards says:

      The boycott proposal specifically does not target individual scholars, completely obviating all concerns about academic freedom, and rendering all invocations of it into mere bleating. It is straightforward political protest toward institutions.

      I am unimpressed by your rhetoric, which is clearly boilerplate and has no connection to political reality. It is unbecoming and embarrasses me as a university faculty member.

  9. kenwaltzer says:

    Argument? Has the response of over 100 university presidents not made clear that the boycott resolution violates academic freedom? How about the response of the Association of American Universities (62 research universities) plus the response of the Association of Public Land Grant Universities? What does it take to break through the membrane? So all these university presidents are wrong? misinformed? Such chutzpah….

    Argument? Jewish Studies programs like the one I direct that are global in orientation and focus on Jewish life wherever it is lived rely on relations with Israeli academic institutions. We have formal exchange relations, student study abroad opportunities, and research opportunities. Do you not see that academic boycott would impact on the academic freedom of Israeli scholars and American scholars too? Mine, among others? You guys want to boycott conferences at Western Galilee College and Ghetto Fighters House and later at Hebrew University on testimonies and oral histories? Nice. Such scholars gather from around the world to explore how testimonies and life histories can help us understand genocide, which continues in our world. You guys comfortable with calling for a shutdown?

    How value academic freedom by Palestinians (I can agree with the criticism) by showing how little you value academic freedom generally — you would make it a political football. Ask me to support Palestinian academic freedom, criticize Israeli policy, I can say yes. Ask me to join in an academic boycott, I say no.

    Finally, the distinction between institutions and individuals — a distinction without a difference. Supporters of boycott have convinced themselves, talking amongst themselves (yourselves), that this is a meaningful distinction, but I think not. We all are part of institutions, rely on institutions, can barely be separated from them. Institutions sponsor travel, conferences, connections, opportunities…. For students they affirm the creation and transfer of credits. The proclaimed distinction here falls away the more one thinks a bout it as a fraudulent distinction.

    Oops, another finally, indeed, one more point — you repeat the litany that these institutions are guilty but this is simply alleged and asserted, not shown. It is a truth known to you but not to me. In my contact with such institutions, they are among the institutions in Israel that work against inequality, differential treatment, and the rest. When our students go study in Israel, they meet with Palestinian as well as Israeli leaders, they meet with parents who have lost children from both sides, they meet with negotiators and study the concrete specifics of possible futures. This is what real learning offers. Boycott offers nothing like this.

    • How value academic freedom by Palestinians (I can agree with the criticism) by showing how little you value academic freedom generally — you would make it a political football.

      i’m not making it a political football. israel made the first kick, ‘by showing how little they value academic freedom generally.’ try thinking of this as a ‘taste of their own medicine.’ they created this bed, let them lie in it.

      you repeat the litany that these institutions are guilty but this is simply alleged and asserted, not shown.

      there’s lots of evidence israeli institutions are embroiled in apartheid. pdf: link to dada.israel.indymedia.org

      Tel Aviv University – A Leading Israeli Military Research Centre

      The
 briefing
 paper
 comprises
 five
 sections.
 In
 the
 first,
 the
 scene
 is
 set
 with
 an
 account
 of
 a
 major
 weapons
 technology
 and 
strategy workshop 
held
 at 
TAU 
between 
the
 Lebanon 
2006
 and 
Gaza
 2008‐9
 campaigns. 
Following
 this,
 examples
 of 
three
 TAU 
institutes
 heavily 
involved in 
shaping 
security 
doctrine 
are 
given;
 these 
are 
followed
 by
 two
 examples
 of
 senior
 TAU 
scholars 
whose 
involvement
 in
 military
 affairs 
is
intense
 and
emblematic of 
the 
types
 of dual
 competence
 which 
unite 
the
 university 
with 
the
 army. 
After
 this,
 a
 survey
 of
 a 
recent
 TAU
 bulletin 
is 
given
 to 
illustrate 
both 
the 
striking 
extent
 of 
inter‐departmental 
involvement 
in 
military 
R&D
 and
 the
 public 
celebration
 of
 this 
work
 on 
the 
part 
of
 TAU’s
 senior
 management.
 The
 paper
 then
concludes 
with 
an 
account
 of 
the 
overt
 role
 played 
by 
TAU
 security 
experts,
 military
 strategists ,
and
 legal
 consultants
 in 
the commissioning
 and 
legitimizing 
of
 war
 crimes 
of 
the
 most
 extreme 
variety, 
such 
as 
those 
recently 
seen 
during 
the
 Gaza
 offensive.
      
























































*
      
 Signatories:
SOAS
 Palestine
 Society,
 SOAS
 Student
 Union,
 SOAS
Stop
 the
 War
 Society,
 SOAS
 War
 on
 Want
 Society,
 
SOAS
 International
 Solidarity
 Movement
 Society,
 
 SOAS
 Right
 to
 Education
 for
 Palestinians
 Society,
 Sandy
 Nicoll,
 SOAS
 UNISON
 Branch
 Secretary
 (Personal
Capacity),
 Graham
 Dyer,
 SOAS
UCU
 Branch 
Secretary
 (Personal
Capacity), 
British 
Committee for 
the
 Universities 
of 
Palestine
 (Bricup),
 Architects 
and
 Planners 
for
 Justice 
in
 Palestine
 (APJP)
 **
 Address
 for
 Correspondence:
 SOAS
 Palestine
 Society,
 Thornhaugh
 Street,
 Russell
 Square,
 London
 WC1H
 0XG
 


      and it’s not my responsibility to show you these things when they’re all over the internet, do some of your own research if you’re interested in the truth.

      We all are part of institutions, rely on institutions, can barely be separated from them.

      i’m not part of any apartheid supporting institutions. all israeli scholars are not part of the institution of the apartheid state. but if that’s the position one is in then the pressure of bds is the right kind of pressure to apply.

      When our students go study in Israel, they meet with Palestinian as well as Israeli leaders, they meet with parents who have lost children from both sides, they meet with negotiators and study the concrete specifics of possible futures. This is what real learning offers.

      how quaint. and standard oil spends a pitence on environmental research and plasters it all over our tv screens. it’s a nasty gruesome occupation that’s been going on for decades. boycotts and sanctions are ways in which governments apply non violent pressure on state bodies and their institutions all the time, also the effects are often very violent like we saw in the years we sanctioned iraq. if you don’t like it end the occupation, don’t empower apartheid. you shouldn’t be sending your students to a state oppressing millions of people without studying the way palestinian civil society and the global community is responding to the oppression. it’s irresponsible not teaching them the choices palestinians have made, and bds is very much an agent of change. it creates an opportunity for “concrete specifics of possible futures” when dealing with decades of oppressive occupation. or do you advocate teaching about the american revolution by skipping the boston tea party if you disagree with the tactic? bds is here, it’s real, it’s not going away. think of it as a learning opportunity for your students.

      p.s. it’s instructive observing how ad-hominem-laden your comments are.

    • Woody Tanaka says:

      “So all these university presidents are wrong? misinformed?”

      Yes, they are.

      “Jewish Studies programs like the one I direct that are global in orientation and focus on Jewish life wherever it is lived rely on relations with Israeli academic institutions.”

      So what? You’re part of the problem.

      “Do you not see that academic boycott would impact on the academic freedom of Israeli scholars and American scholars too? Mine, among others? ”

      Yes. That’s the point. So what? You don’t think that the zionist system your work is supporting in Palestine is doing far, far worse to the Palestinians?? If you’re not willing to work to end that multiple-generations-long oppression, why should I give a damn about your little ivory tower nonsense? If putting you out of a job will help those people become liberated, you’re damn right I’ll run you out of a job. Everyday and twice on Sunday.

      “Such scholars gather from around the world to explore how testimonies and life histories can help us understand genocide, which continues in our world. You guys comfortable with calling for a shutdown?”

      Yes!! What good is all this conferencing if the israeli government keeps on with their ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians? You want to “understand genocide”? How about starting by trying to “understand” the zionists, who are demonstrating many of the things which genociders do in their assault on the Palestinians. Better yet, why not help stop them.

      “Ask me to support Palestinian academic freedom, criticize Israeli policy, I can say yes. Ask me to join in an academic boycott, I say no.”

      Than that just makes you a hypocrite who’s not willing to do anything, but you still seem to want praise and credit for your thoughts. No thanks. If you’re not willing to back it up, you’re willingness to think highly of yourself is nothing but facile self-agrandizement. It makes you worthy of scorn, nothing more.

      ” It is a truth known to you but not to me.”

      Then get your head out of… the sand and maybe learn something, then.

      “In my contact with such institutions, they are among the institutions in Israel that work against inequality, differential treatment, and the rest.”

      And yet they are a vital part of a profoundly evil, racist political system. And, as such, they should not be immune from being called to account for that evil.

      “When our students go study in Israel, they meet with Palestinian as well as Israeli leaders, they meet with parents who have lost children from both sides, they meet with negotiators and study the concrete specifics of possible futures. This is what real learning offers. Boycott offers nothing like this.”

      No, rather than sit around doing nothing to liberate the Palestinians from the evil ideology which is destroying their lives, boycott offers the possibility of helping to destroy that ideology. You, by your cooperation with it, are helping to perpetuate that evil. You are part of the problem, and no part of any solution.

    • American says:

      “Argument? Jewish Studies programs like the one I direct that are global in orientation and focus on Jewish life wherever it is lived rely on relations with Israeli academic institutions. We have formal exchange relations, student study abroad opportunities, and research opportunities. Do you not see that academic boycott would impact on the academic freedom of Israeli scholars and American scholars too? Mine, among others? You guys want to boycott conferences at Western Galilee College and Ghetto Fighters House and later at Hebrew University on testimonies and oral histories? Nice. Such scholars gather from around the world to explore how testimonies and life histories can help us understand genocide, ”

      You are truly a fool if you think those of us here dont understand the politics in academica—-and we would be fools to blindly accept anything academic says as totally ‘objective’ or moral and not in the interest of academica’s “other interest”.
      If you think academica trumps real lives lost and oppressed then you have it ass backwards.
      We also do not care about Jewish Studies programs where scholars ”gather to explore how testimonies and life histories can help us understand genocide”.
      Because we all already know what causes genocide, everyone on earth knows what causes genocide—-hate, supremism, greed, revenge, evil mentalities.
      Exactly what Israel is doing now.
      Neither do we care about ” students meet with negotiators and study the concrete specifics of possible futures”"……because while you meet, study and play with your academic navel Rome burns.
      Your studies and academic freedom have been ‘useless’.
      Never been more convinced of the ”those who can do’, and those who cant do what you’re doing…wallow endlessly in the academics of it all and pie in the sky future-ness theories while the real life slo mo genocide outruns your academic blather every day.

    • Ron Edwards says:

      What university presidents say, or “state,” has not been vetted by the faculty or students, nor in any way does it necessarily represent the view(s) of any university community. To juxtapose a voted-on position by a collective of academics with presidents’ individual statements is intellectually dishonest. The two are not comparable phenomena.

    • talknic says:

      @ kenwaltzer “Has the response of over 100 university presidents not made clear that the boycott resolution violates academic freedom? How about the response of the Association of American Universities (62 research universities) plus the response of the Association of Public Land Grant Universities?”

      Such a minuscule number. link to utexas.edu

      ” What does it take to break through the membrane? “

      A majority, that’s why the Israel first lobby works incessantly to make up for its lack of numbers.

      ” So all these university presidents are wrong? misinformed?”

      “all”? It’s a tiny minority and yes they are misinformed or purposefully missing the point and/or distorting.

      >em>” Do you not see that academic boycott would impact on the academic freedom of Israeli scholars and American scholars too? “

      So what? If Israel would end 65 years of occupation, end the illegal settlements, end the ethnic cleansing, end its lies and distortions and illegal acquisition of non-Israeli territory and adhere to its legal obligations for once, there’d be no need for any boycotts and you could go back to your alleged studies

      “In my contact with such institutions, they are among the institutions in Israel “

      The problem is in Israeli institutions ILLEGALLY in non-Israeli territory. Israeli citizens illegally in non-Israeli territory and Israel being in breach of its legal obligations to International Law.

      By comparison to a people living under a brutal occupation ALL THEIR LIVES for generations, your issues are pathetic

    • Djinn says:

      “Hebrew University on testimonies and oral histories? Nice. Such scholars gather from around the world to explore how testimonies and life histories can help us understand genocide, which continues in our world. You guys comfortable with calling for a shutdown?”

      Absolutely YES. Hebrew University is particularly culpable and has a campus on OCCUPIED land. How is that a mere assertion and not a fact? Is there any reason these scholars couldn’t meet elsewhere? Somewhere that isn’t occupied perhaps? Is there any reason individual Israeli scholars could not attend? That scenario does not in any way breach the PACBI guideline.

      Speaking of which is there any chance you could actually address what the boycott calls for and not your straw men? When you avoid addressing the actual issue at hand it comes across more hasbara decimation than serious debate. In case you’re just misinformed instead of obfuscating, link to pacbi.org

      “When our students go study in Israel, they meet with Palestinian as well as Israeli leaders, they meet with parents who have lost children from both sides, they meet with negotiators and study the concrete specifics of possible futures”

      Textbook false symmetry argument.

  10. Pamela Olson says:

    People who support Palestinian rights should start going to every conference where only an Israeli or pro-Israeli speaker or panel is present and demand balance as well.

    Except we’re not a bunch of well-connected hypersnickity butthurt hypocrites who can’t stand a real challenge or debate.

    • hypersnickity butthurt hypocrites

      !!!!

      • Pamela Olson says:

        I LOVE the word “butthurt.” It’s the perfect word for all those Zio concern trolls and powerful people who act like angsty teenagers whose world is crashing down when someone says something they disagree with in or near any of the spaces they inhabit (and largely dominate).

  11. kenwaltzer says:

    Like I said — all or most true believers. How do they know — it’s all over the internet. That’s a good one. Annie Robbins also claims my arguments are ad hominem? and then she permits Tanaka to make a fool of himself on this site?

    My arguments are simple:
    1)Boycott efforts violate academic freedom. That may mean nothing to Mr. Tanaka, who is obviously unconnected with a university. But that means something to me and to more than 100 university presidents.
    2) There is no meaningful distinction between boycotting institutions and boycotting individuals. By doing the former, you must necessarily do the latter.
    3) It would be nice to learn that there is complexity in your ranks and people make distinctions that are meaningful. But thus far I’ve not been impressed. If Israeli universities are all complicit, then all universities must be complicit with all states in which they exist. Right? Again, that is not the history I know about. Save in Nazi Germany where universities were indeed mobilized by the regime and offered no criticism or opposition, the claim doesn’t work — not in Israel, not here in U.S.. THe people with whom we work closely are critics of occupation, critics of ethnic discrimination, critics of inequality. They work in the institutions you simplistically characterize as complicit.

    • How do they know — it’s all over the internet.

      ken waltzer, i posted a pdf (from the internet!) for your edification. if there’s any information in it you’d care to challenge, go for it. and yes, the trajectory of israel’s hasbara efforts have plunged down hill in direct proportion to the growth of that pesky internet. the ability to access all kinds of information (the palestine papers! so much for the ‘no partner for peace’ lie) is available to everyone.

      pity you, must be a challenge keeping your students in check with all that historical documentation floating around.

      Annie Robbins also claims my arguments are ad hominem? and then she permits Tanaka to make a fool of himself on this site?

      it’s hard breaking old habits isn’t it mr waltzer?

      no meaningful distinction between boycotting institutions and boycotting individuals.

      a tad myopic on your part imho. it may come as a surprise to you but there are individuals (even in israel) not funded by state supported institutions.

      link to mondoweiss.net

      It strongly condemns any attempts to single out and/or isolate Israeli scholars or any scholar of any nationality. On the contrary, the resolution and its authors encourage collaboration and dialogue, but outside the official channels of the Israeli state-supported institutions that continue to directly benefit from or support the occupation.

      It would be nice to learn that there is complexity in your ranks

      ah, so we’re not complex. tragic.

      thus far I’ve not been impressed.

      be assured, the feeling is quite mutual.

      THe people with whom we work closely are critics of occupation, critics of ethnic discrimination, critics of inequality.

      look on the bright side mr waltzer, this will give them the opportunity to spend more time and energy at home focusing their efforts educating their fellow citizenry on the crime of apartheid. ;)

    • Woody Tanaka says:

      “Annie Robbins also claims my arguments are ad hominem? and then she permits Tanaka to make a fool of himself on this site? ”

      LMAO. An ad hominem in a complaint about an ad hominem. But I notice that you’re too craven to answer the challenges I put to you. I guess it’s easier for you to call me names than defend yourself.

      Because after all, Kenny, if you can’t show all the times you went out of your way to defend the sacred academic freedom when people like Tariq Ramadan were the victims, why that might show your current concern for it to be nothing but hypocrisy. So, come on, Kenny, put up or shut up.

      “1)Boycott efforts violate academic freedom.”

      BFD. Academic freedom for israelis is less important than actual political and real-word freedom for Palestinians. If “violating” the first leads to the second, it is well worth it.

      “That may mean nothing to Mr. Tanaka, who is obviously unconnected with a university.”

      Quite correct. I actually have to produce something of value in the real world; I don’t get to skate by on academic navel gazing. Tell me, Kenny, how can you sleep at night knowing you’re saddling these kids with so much debt — scores of thousands of dollars in debt — and all they’re going to get to show for it is a virtually meaningless social sciences degree?

      “But that means something to me and to more than 100 university presidents.”

      And if you and those people put academic freedom above the freedom from oppression of the Palestinians, then shame on you and on them.

      “2) There is no meaningful distinction between boycotting institutions and boycotting individuals. By doing the former, you must necessarily do the latter.”

      Not true. But on a practical level, so what? If these academics suffer a tiny bit — a miniscule amount compared to that which their state inflicts on the Palestinians — then perhaps they will be energized to change their society to liberate the Palestinians. And if they refuse to do that, if they refuse to work to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinians, then why the hell should anyone care if they, themselves are suffering because of this boycott?

      “If Israeli universities are all complicit, then all universities must be complicit with all states in which they exist. Right?”

      Yes, to the extent to which they can work for change but fail to do so, then they are complicit. And when they permit themselves to be used by this racist state in its propaganda, without working to change that racist system, then yes, they are complicit. When they fail to leverage their privileged spot to change their society, they are complicit.

      “THe people with whom we work closely are critics of occupation, critics of ethnic discrimination, critics of inequality.”

      Then they should be okay with sacrificing a little bit to see liberation come to the Palestinians from the occupation, ethnic discrimination and inequality (and worse) which their state inflicts every minute of every day. Shouldn’t they, Kenny? And if they’re not, if they’re just hypocrites who want to be thought of as good people because they mouth pretty criticisms of occupation, ethnic discrimination and inequality without having to sacrifice anything to end these things, then why should I or anyone give a damn if they’re hurt by the boycott?

    • Shmuel says:

      Dr. Walzer,

      Thanks for the summary. It makes it easier to address the points you’ve raised.

      1) Yes, boycott efforts violate academic freedom (understood as the freedom to engage, unhindered, in all forms of academic activity). If boycott were completely innocuous, there would hardly be any point to it. It is hoped, however, that academic boycott will contribute to ending far worse abuses – violations of international law and human rights, including academic freedom. Under the circumstances (and considering the lack of viable alternatives), rather than opposing any infringement whatsoever on academic freedom, a reasonable position would seem to be to attempt to obtain the maximum effect, while minimising the negative impact on academic freedom. I believe that the PACBI guidelines (including the focus on institutions rather than individuals) presents such an option. One may disagree and opt for an even more limited form of academic boycott, but that is not the same as opposing any and all forms of boycott.

      2) There is indeed a meaningful distinction between boycotting institutions and boycotting individuals. Merely “relying on institutions” does not afford grounds for boycott (in my opinion and understanding of the PACBI guidelines). Individual scholars and students should not be boycotted merely for receiving the funding or services to which they are entitled. A distinction can certainly be made between such “reliance” and co-operation on an institutional level (not without grey areas, of course, but these do not invalidate the distinction as a whole).

      3) Are all Israeli universities complicit? As a matter of fact they are, at least the main ones with which the vast majority of international cooperation takes place. This is documented, e.g. in U.Y. Keller’s “Academic Boycott of Israel and the Complicity of Israeli Academic Institutions in Occupation of Palestinian Territories”, The Economy of the Occupation: A Socioeconomic Bulletin No. 23-24 (October 2009). Keller does not take the issue of academic boycott lightly, and offers a number of criteria by which complicity may be determined, which he then applies to each of the institutions in question. The positions and actions of some Israeli academics against occupation and discrimination are well-known, but that does not change the complicity of the institutions at which they work, nor is there any reason to believe that boycotting those institutions would significantly weaken such political commitment or activism.

    • Cliff says:

      kenwaltzer said:

      means something to me and to more than 100 university presidents.

      Which in-turn means nothing. University president’s are responsible for keeping the money flow in. For them this is cynical political maneuvering.

      It has nothing to do with academic freedom or right/wrong. It’s about money and maintaining the status quo.

    • talknic says:

      kenwaltzer ” 1)Boycott efforts violate academic freedom.”

      Israel’s occupation and illegal acquisition of non-Israeli territory has been violating Palestinian freedoms for whole life times, generations. Dispossessing destroying homes, villages, farms, lives, families. Hundreds of thousands KILLED.

      Academic freedoms effected by a boycott to end occupation and Israel’s illegal behaviour in occupied territories can be easily restored with the stroke of a pen when the criteria is met. The whimpering about academic freedom is &*&^ pathetic

      It was Israel’s choice to occupy and illegally acquire non-Israeli territory. It has been Israel’s choice not to end the occupation and illegal acquisition of territory. Israel could end occupation TODAY.

  12. MHughes976 says:

    I have difficulties with boycotts. They always have undesirable byproducts. I’ve always been reluctant to join them but sometimes there’s not much alternative. But I don’t think they’re a threat to academic freedom unless people are actually coerced to join in.
    Academic freedom considered strictly is the right within academic institutions to express opinions without penalty from the institution where you operate. This doesn’t amount to a right to intervene freely in every discussion or event, since it is legitimate to organise some discussions with some restriction to those who hold a certain point of view: ask Hillel International. You just need the right to organise your own rival event if you so wish.
    ‘Some discussions’ doesn’t (well, maybe very exceptionally) include teaching programmes which the institution itself, rather than some of its members, organises. Zionists have every right to teach courses in politics or philosophy and express their views with the utmost vigour. Bring them on!
    If an academic person thinks that some people with whom work connects him/her are employees, front men, dupes or self-deceivers affiliated to an organisation that does evil (s)he has neither absolute obligation nor absolute right in the name of academic freedom to give those people voice, whatever opinion they may express – this isn’t a matter of penalising opinions. There should indeed be some hesitation if this difficult situation arises.
    Some people say that Israeli universities do much evil, giving in effect strong support to the settlers and churning out what amount to justifications for the Nakba. If this judgement is true there should, really should, be much hesitation about giving voice to their employees and this hesitation should not be swept aside by reference to academic freedom. If this judgement is false it’s a very different matter, of course.

  13. piotr says:

    I would like to salute Ken Waltzer for braving the abuse from true believers. My 2 cents of abuse:

    “Finally, the distinction between institutions and individuals — a distinction without a difference.” Surely, you jest. Typically, a scholar exchanges notes (like unpublished full versions or preliminary papers) with another scholar, discusses problems, invites for a talk etc. without any coordination with his nominal superiors. Additionally, there are programs coordinated between institutions. The former is not affected by the boycott of ASA type, the latter is.

    Most importantly, it is quite clear how authorities, including not so rarely college presidents, can abuse freedoms, and much less clear how mild ostracism organized by voluntary associations abuses freedom. After all, nobody has the right to be liked, to have his products purchased, and so on. College presidents are by an large a very well informed group, but uniquely unqualified to make unbiased statements about academic freedom. When some college presidents infringed academic freedom by meddling with appointments, tenure decisions, and even sabbatical leaves (which is very petty, but happened when the leave had the purpose to investigate hasbara), I do not recall a chorus of other presidents publicly admonishing their colleague.

    A famous finance minister said “The art of taxation consists in so plucking the goose as to obtain the largest amount of feathers with the least possible amount of hissing.” The art of boycotts seems the reverse: the least amount of damage with the largest amount of hissing. For that, I am grateful to all the college presidents that courageously defend their freedom against depredations of college professors.

    • I’m not going to so far as salute Dr. Waltzer. I posed a difficult question to him which he refused to answer. Paraphrasing – when is he going to step out there and defend his colleague Norm Chomsky for having been barred from what the former has here defined academia to constitute? Rather than defending Chomsky, who has been barred by the rogue state U.S. scholars are considering sanctioning, Dr. Waltzer has attacked his colleague in the past. And he is accusing commenters here of wanting to “bar Israeli scholars,” when that is not the case.

      This was noted last April by Carolyn Yeager:

      Another organization connected to Israel that he serves is Scholars for Peace in the Middle East. He has written four attack-dog articles for them since 2009, functioning in a sort of Abe Foxman-pitbull style.

      In Nov. 2009, he attacked Alison Wier as another “know-nothing” because she speaks up for Palestinian rights on college campuses, where she is popular.

      In May 2010, he went after John Mearsheimer for calling Israel “an apartheid state” and also took out after Noam Chomsky, Norman Finklestein, and “the crackpot Phil Weiss.”

      Also in May 2010, another target was Judith Butler, who campaigned at the Berkeley campus for the university “to divest from companies making military weapons which Israel employs to commit war crimes.”

      In August 2011, he wrote on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, arguing for Israel’s interests to be well and strongly presented on college campuses.

      Prof. Waltzer is posing at this thread solely as a defender of the integrity of the global Ivory Tower. Yet in his own past efforts, he has not shown he actually believes that or lives it past his whitewashed room in the small fief in the borg his institute has become through his sometimes magnificent, sometimes unfinished or questionable work.

      However, I don’t believe he does this intentionally. He is almost like a fervent Lysenkoist Soviet Academician in the late 1950s or early 1960s. Although “neo-Lysenkoism” has already been defined, Waltzer’s views on how to mythically fix the problem of apartheid in Israel and the Occupied Territories might be a competitor for use of such a term.

      Still waiting for your kind and considered response, Dr. Waltzer. My phone number is in the local book, if you would rather carry this on somewhere else.

      • just says:

        Thank you Philip. I note that he’s not responded.

        *crickets*

        • I note that he’s not responded.

          actually one of ken’s comments didn’t make it thru. he should read the comment policy. it appears when his previous ad hominems do not have the desired effect he just doubles down. but to more politely, paraphrasing him, essentially..he’s says he’s not addressing phillip anymore because he(phillip)’s a nazi.

          !!!! perhaps he has anger issues.

          • I do give Prof. W some credit for keeping on coming back. But you’re right about his ad hominem tactics being designed to change the subject away from my questions.

            I wish there were a better way to make progress when an exchange like this occurs here.

    • MHughes976 says:

      All well said. The important thing about academic freedom is protecting the expression of unpopular opinion and of course it is the people whose opinion goes in favour of a boycott whose right of expression is under threat and the people who oppose the boycott in the name of freedom who are doing the threatening, a fact which makes my butt hurt as sore as Pamela’s.
      People who say ‘Liberation of the oppressed would be fine, but not at the expense of my brilliant career, thank you very much’ have got themselves into a moral twist.

      • American says:

        ” The important thing about academic freedom is protecting the expression of unpopular opinion ”

        In a nutshell in one sentence Hughes, very good!

  14. kenwaltzer says:

    Phil Munger has fried his brain. That Munger quotes Carolyn Yeager, a self-confessed Nazi, racist, and Holocaust denier, who has heaped calumny on me for me Holocaust scholarship, which focuses on the oppressed, by the way, is truly a low. It indicates to me more clearly what we are dealing with here. Really, a reader of Nation quoting a Nazi! Surprises even me.

    For anyone who has a brain left that can make distinctions, I oppose Israeli occupation but support the right of Israel to exist securely. People like me can be mobilized by reasoned argument and evidence critical of Israel and Israeli policy but there is precious little of that here. Instead there is an effort to delegitimize Israel by alleging and assuming what needs to be proven. A tactic is also embraced with a long history dating back before the movement for South Africa. I know that history.

    I see here instead overheated claims about universities taking people’s money or worse, about universities existing in global ivory towers. Tanaka get a grip. I see self-absorbed claims by people urging boycott that now they’re right of expression is under threat. Mhughes? Really? When free speech is directed pointedly against other free speech, why should any boycotters scream their academic freedom is at risk? This is too silly for words. Presidents of universities have spoken out on behalf of academic freedom and rightly characterized boycott as “repugnant” and discriminatory. Some of these notes indicate that discrimination is fine, so long as it is against those who oppress Palestinians….

    I still do not see on the one point that probably deserves more thought and argument that there is any meaningful distinction between boycotting institutions and boycotting individuals. Thank you Piotr for pushing this. But the line between these two things is much more porous. If I’m invited to participate in a conference sponsored by an Israeli institution, I need travel support from my university, I travel on a medical card supplied by my university, and the conference takes place with institutional support. See the overlap?

    In each case, anyway, Piotr, the boycott idea proceeds on a presumption of guilt that is based on nationality. This is unacceptable. You want to boycott Ariel, that’s one thing. Could get a reasoned hearing for that. Case could be made. But targeting all Israeli universities, regardless of what they do institutionally or what their faculty do or write, or what projects they’ve got going, so that all are the same, all are seen as homogeneous, this is discrimination — pure and simple. Only for true believers who have already decided Israel is not a country but a Zionist entity and that all Israeli institutions are effectively and efficiently mobilized by state purposes does this make any sense. Is it wrong for me to expect more from readers of Nation?

    • Shmuel says:

      People like me can be mobilized by reasoned argument and evidence critical of Israel and Israeli policy but there is precious little of that here. Instead there is an effort to delegitimize Israel by alleging and assuming what needs to be proven.

      Plenty of evidence critical of Israel and Israeli policy is published here every day. The subject of your comments on this thread, however, has been the legitimacy of academic boycott (academic freedom; distinction between individual and institutional boycott; complicity of universities/critical positions taken by academics). Now you seem to be arguing that whether the instrument of academic boycott is legitimate or not, Israel simply does not deserve to be boycotted. In other words, even if all of your objections were to receive satisfactory answers, you would still oppose such a boycott because you feel that “evidence critical of Israel and Israeli policy” is lacking. Why didn’t you say so in the first place?

    • Give me a break, Dr. Waltzer. Are you indicating that Ms. Yeager’s observations I quoted above are false? I don’t like her, and I don’t feel comfortable around Alison Wier, either.

      However, once again you have failed to address the inconsistency in your appearance here. Have you ever done anything on behalf of Dr. Chomsky to try to get the travel ban against him lifted? Did you do one single thing on his behalf when he was refused entry back in May, 2010? How about when Dr. Norm Finkelstein was denied entry to Israel in 2008? Or when Richard Falk was denied entry later that same year? Can you cite any examples of your having come out in support any scholar, student or former academic who was critical of Israeli policies or actions, after that person was denied access to an event, program or other such academically-related activity (as defined by you above)?

    • American says:

      kenwaltzer says:
      ”I see self-absorbed claims by people urging boycott that now they’re right of expression is under threat. Mhughes? Really? When free speech is directed pointedly against other free speech, why should any boycotters scream their academic freedom is at risk? This is too silly for words. ””

      rotflmao….it is too silly for words.
      BECAUSE you are too dense to get the real boycott message.
      Read our lips—-We Do Not Care —— about the arguments of over academic feeedom.
      BECAUSE justice for Palestines is a higher moral and political priority then some hyped up threat to academic freedom and the boycott helps serve that purpose by bringing attention to it.
      BDS’ers are under no obligation to ‘play fair’ with a country and its defenders who do not play fair in return.

    • Woody Tanaka says:

      “Tanaka get a grip.”

      Come on, Kenny, stop ditching the issue; it makes you look like a coward. There’ve been at least five high-profile cases where “academic freedom” — which you so desperately want us to believe is so very important to you — intersected this issue: (1) the denial of the visa to Tariq Ramadan, (2) the denial by israel of free travel to Noam Chomsky to speak at a Palestinian University, (3) the denial by israel of free travel to the Gazan students whose scholarships were revoked by the US, (4) the bruhaha at UC Santa Barbara about the teaching materials in William Robinson’s class, and (5) this one.

      Since you are such a big supporter of academic freedom — to the point that you would deny the Palestinians a tactic to achieve acual freedom because of it — then surely you will have no problem showing where, in each of the other four situations, you came down strongly on the side of academic freedom and did so as publically as you are doing here. Surely, for example, we will see you rhetorically standing shoulder to shoulder with William Robinson supporting him and his academic freedom 100% and decrying any investigation of him as an assault on that precious academic freedom that you love so well, because the principles of academic freedom are just so damned important to you that they override all other considerations. Right?

      So, please, put up or shut up, Kenny. Show us where you’ve been the great defender of academic freedom or be exposed as a joke.

      Because from where I’m standing, you seem to me to be the quintessential hypocrite, who only uses the “academic freedom is so important” argument when your program is threatened but when it doesn’t, or when academic freedom would go against israel or the israelis, then you shut the hell up or worse.

    • puppies says:

      “I oppose Israeli occupation but support the right of Israel to exist securely”
      Incompatible terms for any racial supremacist dictatorship.

    • puppies says:

      Why not base a boycott on nationality? It happens necessarily in all wars.
      The Zionist entity started a general war against Palestinians in 1947 and never made peace (besides aggressing various other nations in the meantime); it continues to restrict the movements, rights and basic guarantees of property and life of all Palestinians, to different degrees. In wars, such restrictions are unfortunately general and reciprocal. Surely you wouldn’t, with your renowned sense of fairness and decency, deny the appropriateness of something as physically innocuous as a cultural and academic boycott in response to the murderous, violent and illegal behavior of the ethnocracy.

    • talknic says:

      kenwaltzer “That Munger quotes Carolyn Yeager”

      Is what he quoted incorrect? 1+1=2 regardless of who says 1+1=2

      “the boycott idea proceeds on a presumption of guilt that is based on nationality”

      ‘presumption of guilt” “based on nationality’? Based on the Law and UN charter the UNSC tells us Israel is guilty of being in breach of International Law, the UN Charter and relative conventions, thereby delegitimizing itself.

      ” If I’m invited to participate in a conference sponsored by an Israeli institution, I need travel support from my university, I travel on a medical card supplied by my university, and the conference takes place with institutional support. See the overlap?”

      Very clearly. It appears you care more short term for your career than opposing Israel’s long term occupation of territories it covets

      • Shmuel says:

        If I’m invited to participate in a conference sponsored by an Israeli institution, I need travel support from my university, I travel on a medical card supplied by my university, and the conference takes place with institutional support. See the overlap?

        Dr. Waltzer, either misunderstands or misrepresents the meaning of institutional boycott. The problem would lie not with his institution’s funding of his trip or medical coverage, but with his attending a conference sponsored by an Israeli university in the first place.

        No matter. Dr. Waltzer has made it clear that, for him, the issue is not one of academic freedom or the definition of “institutional boycott”, but the very idea of boycotting Israel.

  15. kenwaltzer says:

    Annie Robbins writes: “On the contrary, the resolution and its authors encourage collaboration and dialogue, but outside the official channels of the Israeli state-supported institutions that continue to directly benefit from or support the occupation.”

    By what self deception can one believe that resolving for boycott against Israeli institutions will “encourage collaboration and dialogue?” Orwell, please take note.

    • Woody Tanaka says:

      “Orwell, please take note.”

      He’s too busy noting the “Jewish and democratic” nonsense the zionists push.

    • waltzer, that quote you’re calling orweillian was authored by award winning author Robin D.G. Kelly, the Gary B. Nash Professor of U.S. History University of California at Los Angeles, from an article that has been getting slammed with traffic for 2 days. i noticed you’re absent from the comment section on that thread.

      link to mondoweiss.net

      but let’s review your take on it anyway: By what self deception can one believe that resolving for boycott against Israeli institutions will “encourage collaboration and dialogue?”

      reading comprehension is not your specialty is it? kelly didn’t make the claim resolving for boycott against Israeli institutions will “encourage collaboration and dialogue”. try harder.

      and now you’re resorting to tactics accusing other posters of having fried brains? and you’re a professor? this is turning into a comedy central.

  16. MHughes976 says:

    Everyone should have the right to argue both for and against a boycott.
    I don’t think that boycott based on affiliation is the same thing as a boycott based on opinions. I went along with the old SA boycott not asking whether individual persons supported apartheid but wanting to make a point about the system for which they worked. I though that good and responsible people might have been caught up but that they would show their responsibility by mentioning the boycott in their pleas for the system to change, not by demanding personal exemptions. I didn’t support boycotting people who used their right of free speech to oppose the boycott. I didn’t think and don’t think boycotts of that kind are in opposition to free speech.
    On the general point of free speech against free speech, free speech should not be defended by the extremely paradoxical means of censorship or threats.

  17. piotr says:

    “In each case, anyway, Piotr, the boycott idea proceeds on a presumption of guilt that is based on nationality. This is unacceptable. You want to boycott Ariel, that’s one thing.”

    Do sanctions presuppose the guilt of an affected population? Sanctions of Iran, Syria, Cuba, Gaza, and a long list of others are being justified by the behavior of “countries”, and that presupposes existence of authorities in those countries and those inhabitants who disagree with their authorities. One can argue that the goal of the sanctions is to prevent unfriendly countries from thriving, lest there will be a disturbing and possibly contagious precedent of obedience toward USA being unnecessary for well being of the citizens. The shorthand for that is “regime change”. However, this is usually framed as a some type of criminal behavior of those countries that requires a response, effectively, a punishment.

    Sanctions are often lauded as a peaceful action that avoid wars which are much worse.

    Boycotts are the tool of civil society which are in many ways parallel to sanctions. Obviously, there are orders of magnitude less severe, and they cannot be lauded as an alternative to war. Civil society cannot wage wars, or even impose sanctions. Actually, the effects of boycotts are so minuscule that they are really a variety of speech.

    Israel is an enthusiastic practitioner and advocate of sanctions, so I do not expect an advocate of Israel to propose a set of principles that would render sanctions (or sieges) immoral. At least, not Prof. Waltzer who strives to be logical and consistent. So we have another arguments: academic freedom is such an exalted value that should not be soiled by “mere political considerations”. This ordering is quite curious: politics entails/impacts all aspects of human life, so why political considerations are of lesser importance just by being political (as opposed to outright wrong). There is something about “circulation of ideas”, but ideas are quite weird. They may circulate even under severe sanctions, and stop by minds being closed. One could say that they are spiritual entities and they travel or not dependent on spiritual walls being erected or dismantled. And a boycott by a learned society does not come close to a spiritual wall.

  18. Sibiriak says:

    piotr:

    Sanctions of Iran, Syria, Cuba, Gaza, and a long list of others are being justified by the behavior of “countries” …

    Sanctions involve some form of coercion–penalties for violating the rules of the sanction regime. What forms of coercion do academic boycotts employ?