Why is the American elite scared of BDS?

Israel/Palestine

ASA-logo-tiff-1-copySince the American Studies Association (ASA) voted overwhelmingly to boycott Israeli academic institutions in December, more than one hundred and fifty U.S. University Presidents have come out in support of Israel and condemned the ASA’s vote. Some of these administrators, such as the Presidents of IU and Kenyon College, have withdrawn their institutional membership from the ASA, and all of them have made their public pronouncements without any consultations with their faculty or elected university bodies.

More recently, bipartisan legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives titled “The Protect Academic Freedom Act” would, if passed, strip all federal funds from any institution of higher education that boycotts Israel.

The bill follows close by legislation put forward by the New York State and Maryland State legislatures that would punish individual academics for engaging in political boycotts. New York Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver in announcing the bill explained that the ASA boycott was a “blatant assault on the academic freedoms that New York and its students have come to hold dear.”

What the University Presidents and legislators also have in common in this joint enterprise is a total silence about Palestinian human rights and academic freedom, the basis of the ASA resolution. The ASA Resolution was premised in part on the well-documented fact that “there is no effective or substantive academic freedom for Palestinian students and scholars under conditions of Israeli occupation, and Israeli institutions of higher learning are a party to Israeli state policies that violate human rights and negatively impact the working conditions of Palestinian scholars and students.”

Supporting documentation for the resolution detailed how bombings, school closures, visa restriction, restricted movement in and out of Palestinian territories, and Israeli control of funding for Palestinian universities all significantly erode both human rights and academic freedom for Palestinian scholars.

Given the American state’s well-established “special relationship” to Israel, how can we best understand this ideological convergence between the heads of academic institutions and the US Government?

In this essay, we argue that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement has helped to expose the historical complicity not just of Israeli Universities with an illegal, militarized occupation, but of American Universities in the supportive exercise of U.S. military and political power in the Middle East. Specifically, we argue that the U.S. university since 9/11 and under neoliberalism has leaped to project American imperial power in the Middle East and across the world. The ASA Boycott has been confronted by this reality, and confronted it, head on. The success of the BDS movement against Israel does, however, present new opportunities for challenging this militarization not just of Israel’s occupation and U.S. universities, but the wider social arena under capitalism.
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The open hostility of U.S. university administrators to BDS is in some ways part of a long tradition of U.S. universities serving as handmaiden to the interests of the American state. In June of 1940, a month after the Nazi conquest of France, Franklin Roosevelt established the National Defense Research Committee. Among those involved were Karl Compton, a physicist and President of MIT, James Conant of Harvard, Frank Jewett, an electrical engineer and President of the National Academy of Sciences, and Alfred Loomis, an investment banker. As Kathleen Williams notes, within one year, the NDRC was funding more than 6,000 chemists, mathematicians and engineers on research to benefit the war; by the end of World War II the number was 30,000.

The NDRC was one of the first points of convergence where University administrators enabled collaboration between institutions of learning and institutions of U.S. global power. During the Vietnam War, anti-war protestors rightly anointed MIT as the “Pentagon on the Charles,” and it is now well known that in the same period Columbia University was involved in relations with the Institute for Defense Analyses, a weapons research think tank.

This history sets a clear pattern in which U.S. University administrators are keen to become first responders to ideological objectives of the government. Yet in many ways, events since 9/11 in the U.S. most clearly index the militarized U.S. University, and best explain the blowback in higher education against the ASA Boycott vote.
After the twin towers fell, many of us who still had the temerity to teach about countries and peoples who alarmed the Pentagon were astonished at the fate of our fields and disciplines. The destiny of Title VI funding, in particular, revealed the deep trenches that were being dug between our campuses and the state department.

Title VI is a program of federal funding for ‘area studies’ (read non-US studies) in higher education. The origins of the program lie in the cold war as part of the US effort to combat the soviet ‘threat’. The program hoped to create, in the manner of nineteenth century academic societies, the willing colonial scholar who would follow in the wake of the merchant and the soldier and make distant lands intelligible and potentially invisible.

After 9/11, with one stroke of the pen, Congress increased Title VI funding by 26 per cent, or $20 million, the largest single-year increase in the program’s history, and the number of graduate students receiving government funded (FLAS) fellowships for the Middle East, Central Asia and South Asia doubled from 200 to 400.

Universities were also retooled after 9/11 in specific ways to provide clear ideological direction to a new generation of students. More than 400 colleges and Universities established Homeland Security Programs, many receiving direct funding from the government. Duke University, whose President has condemned the ASA Boycott of Israeli Universities, offers a Counterterrorism and Public Policy Fellowship Program; the Fellowship, according to its website, “fulfills the Senior Service Education (SSE) requirements for military officers and other U.S. national security professionals.”

It is politically of a piece, then, that militarization of the US university has accompanied a tightening of relations between Israel’s settler-colonial state and a U.S. state which provides it roughly two billion dollars a year in military assistance.

Since its inception, the US-Israel “special relationship” has meant the latter serving US economic and political interests in the Middle East. As Bashir Abu-Manneh puts it,

The dynamic of American Empire/Israeli colonialism is….circular: US support reinforces Israeli colonialism and occupation … leading to further indigenous resistance and to more US interventions in the region … The United States thus becomes both a necessary and sufficient condition for Israel’s colonial expansionism. Without it, Israel would be a pariah state.

This is the proper historical frame, we suggest, to understand the ASA boycott and US University administrators’ response. The resolution’s supporting documentation, for example, made note that at Cornell, whose President has also condemned the ASA Boycott, the University has entered into a partnership with Technion, the flagship institution of military weapons technology in Israel. The two have partnered to open a research and technology campus on Roosevelt Island in New York City.

What does Technion do? As reported by Electronic Intifada, it has a partnership with Elbit System, one of Israel’s largest private weapons manufacturers. Elbit built the drones that Israel used against civilians in criminal strikes in Lebanon in 2006 and Gaza in 2008-09. Technion research also produced a remote-control function on the Caterpillar D-9 bulldozer used by the Israeli army to demolish Palestinian houses and farms.

It is in this context that we might further parse the American Studies Association boycott and the response of U.S. University administrators. The ASA vote was based in large part on what the ASA called the “complicity” of Israeli Universities with the illegal military occupation of Palestine. Some Israeli Universities are built on stolen Palestinian land, for example Tel Aviv University, which is constructed partly on the Palestinian village of Sheikh Muwanis. Tel Aviv University is also by its own account “at the front line of the critical work to maintain Israel’s military and technological edge.” It hosts INSS, the Institute for National Security Studies, a research center and think tank which includes an “IDF Force Structure” unit and conducts research on subjects like “Terrorism and Low Intensity Conflict” In December, 2007, TAU hosted a conference to assess the efficiency of weapons technologies used to kill more than 1,100 citizens in Israel’s 2006 war against Lebanon.

Yet just weeks ago, as reported by the Jerusalem Post, Deans and Provosts from nine U.S. colleges and universities, including Smith, Brown and Bard, strolled the confiscated Palestinian grounds of Tel Aviv University in order to build academic partnerships with Israeli universities. Seven of the nine were representing a University that had just condemned the ASA Boycott. The American Jewish Committee’s Project Interchange, a key North American organization, dedicated to hasbara, or propaganda in support of Israel, organized the campus visits. The National Chair for Project Interchange is Robert Peckar, who in September 2011 wrote an essay opposing a Palestinian seat in the United Nations.

This view of University administrators as highly paid propagandists for U.S. state interests begins to provide a real sense of the academic ‘leaders’ in our time. Perhaps you see them as struggling professors in tweed grinding away at their Dickens or Donne. The Chronicle of Higher Education reported that in 2011, the 10 highest-paid private-college presidents cost their institutions an average of about $2.3-million each. Even during the period of economic crisis following 2008, while most students juggled multiple jobs to pay their tuition and student loans, the number of College Presidents making more than $1 million rose from 33 to 36. This means that increasingly under neoliberalism, and especially since 9/11, fortunes of the top administrative personnel of US universities have increasingly mirrored the fortunes of capital and U.S. imperial interests overseas. In American Universities today, “Study Abroad” means University Presidents casting an imperial eyeball across the globe as a means of expanding academic empires and U.S. influence in the world.

As historians of colonial India, it is also hard for us not to notice the recent fluid interchange between the top layers of US university administration and actual government administration. In nineteenth century India, a handful of British officials were endlessly circulated between military, civil and academic appointments. Let us note with some irony and much alarm similar trajectories for men like Lawrence Summers (Harvard/Clinton and Obama Administrations) Robert Gates (CIA/Texas A & M), and Mitch Daniels (Bush Administration/Purdue), and women such as Condoleezza Rice (Stanford/Obama Secretary of State).

Lawrence Summers

Lawrence Summers

Indeed the leading dramatis personae in the post 9/11 University have been men like Lawrence Summers, who served as the chief economist to the World Bank, was instrumental in dismantling the Glass-Steagall Act, and was rewarded for his services as President of Harvard and later as the Director of the White House United States National Economic Council under Obama. Summers appeared on the Charlie Rose television program just days before the ASA Boycott vote was announced to condemn it as “anti-semitic in effect, if not in intent.” As background, we might recall that Summers in 2002, on the first anniversary of 9/11, insinuated that anti-Israel groups on college campuses were being funded by terrorists. In an essay written in September, 2011 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11, Summers argued that 9/11 had allowed the U.S. and U.S. University a reprieve from a Vietnam generation of scholars and students calling for the demilitarization of the University. He wrote:

September 11 made such arguments seem less and less reasonable. Terrorists who killed American innocents in our most iconic city without provocation reintroduced the plausibility, the necessity, of greater moral clarity. In 2001, I argued that policy in every area must be debated vigorously, but respect for those who risk their lives for our freedom must be a basic value. Now, in 2011, we take such ideas for granted. Students urged that ROTC return to the Harvard campus. Applications to programs in public service have risen sharply. Interest in issues of international relations in general, and the Middle East in particular, has soared. And the number of students answering the military’s call has risen in kind.

While it would be shortsighted to use Lawrence Summers as a stand-in for all University administrators, it should also be clear that he represents a class of University and government officials trained in a post 9/11 world whose Islamophobic worldviews have achieved fearful symmetry in the wake of the American Studies Association boycott victory. Indeed people such as Summers who defend Zionism and attack BDS in the name of academic freedom ought to be able to explain why such ‘freedom’ only applies to the right to propagate for war and profits in our classrooms while even peaceful questioning of them causes the strong arm of the law to pay a visit to campus. Can we forget the vivid image of Sargent John Pike brutally pepper spraying UC Davis students for the ‘crime’ of protesting rising tuition fees due to state budget cuts? Or of the NYPD arresting CUNY students for protesting at a fundraiser being attended by David Petraeus? The CUNY students, interestingly, were charged with obstructing “governmental administration” while of course being repeatedly struck in the ribs by a fully armed police officer.

The same legal ‘authorities’, however, were not too quick to act when a student faced death-threats for teaching a course on Palestinian history. Snehal Shingavi, then a graduate student at UC Berkeley, was told by the FBI that they would not investigate his case since he had a history of being politically active on campus. Shingavi had in the past protested the ROTC recruitment programs at Berkeley. When asked to recount his experience with the state he told us:

Despite being at Berkeley, with its liberal reputation, I was reminded repeatedly that talking about Palestine, standing up for Muslim and Arab students, and opposing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan not only made tongues wag with accusations of anti-Americanism, it also simultaneously brought the intense scrutiny of state agencies with respect to my activism and paradoxically the conscious neglect of the state when I received death threats.

And in case the connection between a militarized American University and a militarized Israeli occupation is not clear, let us also remember that Linda Katehi, the chancellor of UC Davis who had originally ordered Sargent Pike and his friends to clear the student protesters, in 2012 led a delegation of university officials to Israel through Project Interchange. During her visit Katehi, noted with enthusiasm her university’s support of the war-laboratory of Technion.

Reclaiming the University
But despite the arms and laws on their side, our university administrators and their allies should recognize that within their campus grows and develops a new generation who are refusing to be dictated to.

The growth of Student Justice for Palestine (SJP) chapters in US universities is one clear sign of this new intransigence. Since the second intifada of 1999, there has been a marked growth of SJP membership with around 130 groups now active on campuses. As university presidents line up to protect US imperial interests in the Middle East through Israel, several SJP chapters have come out in open defiance of their Presidents. SJP chapters at Tufts and Bowdoin released statements in defense of the ASA boycott resolution. Faculty and staff at Trinity College, Purdue University, Indiana University (Bloomington) and Indiana University (South Bend) have also protested the unilateral ‘freedom’ of administrators to speak for the entire campus.

It is imperative that this new, vital wave of protest against Zionism and its academic defenders continue. But we also need to broaden our aims. The same institutional players– be it a Mitch Daniels as Indiana governor or a Lawrence Summers at the World Bank—also lead the attack on the civil rights of Palestinians.

The BDS movement must continue to strategically orient itself to this reality. The power of the apartheid state does not lie in Tel Aviv alone; it is shaped and nurtured in American political circles and in the upper echelons of American Universities. The BDS campaign is a clear way of challenging precisely this conjuncture.

But such a movement that has the force to weaken the richest and most violent State on earth cannot be one of academics and students alone. Let us remind ourselves: one of the final blows to apartheid in South Africa was struck by striking workers in the South African labor movement. Solidarity campaigns for divestment was taken up by US labor unions –mining, auto and textile unions in the US invited their South African sisters and brothers to speak at educational tours across this country. Public employee unions in several cities, such as Chicago, New York and Detroit, voted to divest their members’ pension funds.

It is a credit to the BDS movement that it already has a history of reciprocal support on a variety of social justice issues. After all, one of the most striking slogans to come out of the Occupy movement was from the Palestinian BDS National Committee urging demonstrators to “Occupy Wall Street not Palestine!” Within Palestine, where BDS began, more than half dozen trade unions including the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU), are counted as endorsers of the movement.

This widening of affiliation and solidarity from the campus to the street needs to become the norm if BDS is to have its greatest effect. The movement can remind us that an injury to one in Gaza is truly an injury to all.

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Tithi Bhattacharya is Professor of Modern South Asian History at Purdue.

Bill V. Mullen is Professor of English and American Studies at Purdue. He is on the advisory board for USACBI (United States Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel).

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30 Responses

  1. seafoid
    February 7, 2014, 3:12 pm

    link to haaretz.com

    “Kerry has been a pain in the ass. Normally, we manage to repulse peace missions long before they get as far as Kerry has. Now, playing for time means rolling out all the old canards and shibboleths, the naked clichés, that might have worked once but are simply embarrassing in this day and age. Things like “Israel needs the Jordan Valley for strategic depth,” or “we can’t negotiate while the other side incites,” or “Beit El and Hebron are important to the Jewish people.”
    This is crude, emotional and untrue stuff that might have worked in the ‘70s but is really showing its age in 2014. The tragedy is that military strength and Holocaust guilt were such effective palliatives, we never bothered to look for any other solution. It just never seemed necessary. And of course, there was always time – lots of time.”

    The elites have no way to tell the people that the memes are bullshit

  2. Maximus Decimus Meridius
    February 7, 2014, 3:20 pm

    Isn’t it obvious?

    The elite are terrified of BDS because they have no way of controlling it. BDS is the epitome of grassroots activism. It’s about the ordinary man and woman in the street, or the supermarket, refusing to buy coriander made in Israel, and writing to Oxfam to complain about Scarlett Johansson. They don’t need anyone’s permission or approval to do this, and because they’re not part of the bought and paid for media or political elite, accusations of ‘anti-semitism’ are like water off a duck’s back.

    Is it any wonder the Zionist and US elite are scared, and are at a loss for how to react? This is a movement which cannot be bullied or blackmailed into submission. And that’s why they should be afraid. Very very afraid.

    • American
      February 7, 2014, 3:56 pm

      There is absolutely nothing the Elites or Zionist can do to the average American.
      They cant take their jobs, or their money or their reputations—they can only do that to politicans and media and press lackies —-they cant even do it to academics like they use to.
      And when any group tries to censor some other enterprising group will always find a way around it. ..take down all the communications of the world and carrier pigeons and smoke signals would make a come back.

      • seafoid
        February 8, 2014, 2:04 am

        It’s very scary for the bots because they have no popular support bar the fundi Christians.
        They have very little leverage if the people start questioning the memes. They can’t do what elites normally do and tell the people they have to cut back and tighten belts and it’s hard but we are working on it- because they are not from the people . They are just a cult of rich dudes with an entitlement complex around a piece of real estate that is very far away and has nothing to do with life in America.

    • lysias
      February 7, 2014, 4:05 pm

      Yes, you’re right. Earlier they were terrified of the Occupy movement for the same reason. And it is for that reason that they have constructed their massive surveillance state. If the populace ever becomes really rebellious, they think they have the means to keep it under control.

      • American
        February 7, 2014, 4:48 pm

        ”If the populace ever becomes really rebellious, they think they have the means to keep it under control”…lysias

        I actually look forward to them trying some even harsher tactics for Israel—-it needs to be brought to a head.

    • Krauss
      February 7, 2014, 4:06 pm

      The elite are terrified of BDS because they have no way of controlling it. BDS is the epitome of grassroots activism.

      Bingo.

      Before BDS, all opposition to Israeli apartheid had to pass through a series of liberal Zionist gatekeepers who made sure everyone who wasn’t Jewish was censored(especially Palestinians and brown people in general, can’t trust those shifty people).

      The kind of criticism allowed was also limited to a kind of “I am worried about Israel’s soul”. The onus was always on how it might or might not affect Israel and its (Jewish) population. The Palestinians were mentioned as an afterthought – if at all.

      BDS represents a radical shift in discourse in which the old system of liberal Zionist gatekeepers are challenged and in some cases simply bypassed.

      But even beyond that, it’s also a personal crisis for some of these people. They truly believe themselves to be liberal and BDS represents a direct challenge to their own self-conception; maybe I am a gatekeeper for an Apartheid state, after all? Could you be a “liberal” white pro-Jim Crow advocate in the Deep South during the 40s and 50s? I’m sure there were “moderates” among the ranks of the white ruling elite during the dark days of Apartheid South Africa, too. But these people never really wanted to dismantle the racist system of oppression.

      BDS changes the entire calculus; it re-writes the equation from an entirely new place of being.

      It’s not just a lack of control, it’s also a personal challenge as to who they identify as human beings. It’s very deeply-rooted. People who told themselves lies about their “liberalism” for their entire life are suddenly plunged into hysteria. Just watch Eric Alterman. And their racism, the true fundament to their character, flows out in such unguarded moments.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        February 8, 2014, 10:20 am

        Precisely. I agree completely.

        Aside from the lack of control I mentioned in my first post, BDS forces ‘liberal Zionists’ to take a stand. They’ve been telling us for years, even decades, that they ‘oppose the settlements’ and ”would support any non-violent resistance’ but when there is a chance to do something concrete to actually (ie not rhetorically) oppose the settlements, through the use of the ultimate form of non-violent resistance, they um and ah and looks for excuses not to support BDS. It’s ‘singling out Israel’, ‘alienating peaceful Israelis’, ‘damaging the peace process’ and other lame excuses.

        As you say, these people genuinely do consider themselves liberal (and in many respects they probably are) and honestly believe that they ‘care about the Palestinians’. But BDS forces them to look at the hollowness of their beliefs face to face, and makes them to look at the hard facts: When push comes to shove, they really don’t want ANY action taken against Israel. If justice for the Palestinians demands even the slightest erosion of Jewish privilege, or even the acknowledgement that this isn’t a conflict between equal parties, but between an occupier and the occupied, they don’t want to know. Which is why they dig up the lamest excuses to oppose BDS, and continue with the illusion that they are ‘liberal’ and ‘moderate’.

    • seafoid
      February 7, 2014, 4:15 pm

      There’s more to it than that. Nobody in DC wants AIPAC to be opened to the light. Congress is bought and paid for. Lindsay Graham is a shill for Israel. Many others are too. And they don’t want the constituents to know that.

  3. American
    February 7, 2014, 3:46 pm

    The ruling Elites are always scared when the non Elites start defying them.
    Then the Elite power apparatus tries to squelch them.
    The non Elites however arent showing any signs yet that they are willing to accept being squelched.
    Damn the Elites, full steam ahead!
    BDS the sobs.

    • ivri
      February 8, 2014, 5:54 pm

      How many babies need to be thrown with the tub-water? So now it is the American elite, the Universities` presidents and administrations and before it was the entire congress that needed to be undone so as to hurt Israel? Relying on “the people” is a catch- slogan but in a democracy, as different from a tyranny, without elites nothing happens. The Arab world`s used to have this suicidal attitude in the past, namely sticking with a main goal that is hurting Israel and never mind the consequences. That turned out so devastating for it that it was abandoned by most, alas a bit too late. So now you suggest the same strategy for the US?

      • American
        February 9, 2014, 12:28 pm

        ”without elites nothing happens. ”….iriv

        You are naïve. The non elites masses are the motor on the elite boat……if that motor runs out of gas or shreds a screw and stalls the elites go no where.
        Its a two to tango situtation.

        As for Israel it is an elite foreign interest that doesnt belong in the US or our government—–it has to go.

  4. lysias
    February 7, 2014, 4:04 pm

    In 2001, I argued that policy in every area must be debated vigorously, but respect for those who risk their lives for our freedom must be a basic value.

    The post-9/11 American state no longer stands for the freedom of Americans, and therefore it is no longer for the freedom of Americans that the members of the U.S. military now risk their lives. This retired naval officer says that with deep regret, but he has to face the truth.

  5. seafoid
    February 7, 2014, 4:07 pm

    Obama can’t buy off BDS with the usual bromides.
    It isn’t part of the Beltway game.

  6. pabelmont
    February 7, 2014, 4:12 pm

    The American university presidents may be afraid at a threat to their position in the gravy-train of empire, but more immediately afraid of seeming to merit withdrawal of AIPAC-related big-bux (you DO still want that biochemistry building, don’t you?).

    After all, the federal-funded research grants are not going to go elsewhere — although I guess they, too, can be steered away by the BIGs, and many BIGs may be led by CEOs who are themselves part of BIG-ZION or friends with people who are.

    For guidance on all these matters, consult the very helpful (and possibly accurate) diagram shown here in this explanatory article

    • Rusty Pipes
      February 7, 2014, 5:14 pm

      Clearly, the professors’ view of American Academia abroad is closer to that of Chomsky than that of Mearsheimer and Walt:

      Since its inception, the US-Israel “special relationship” has meant the latter serving US economic and political interests in the Middle East. As Bashir Abu-Manneh puts it,

      The dynamic of American Empire/Israeli colonialism is….circular: US support reinforces Israeli colonialism and occupation … leading to further indigenous resistance and to more US interventions in the region … The United States thus becomes both a necessary and sufficient condition for Israel’s colonial expansionism. Without it, Israel would be a pariah state.

      This is the proper historical frame, we suggest, to understand the ASA boycott and US University administrators’ response.

      No one doubts that operating within a capitalistic country with an imperialistic history has an impact upon how universities function in America. But the response of university Presidents to BDS is more a function of the Israel Lobby’s capacity for turning the quirks of American institutions (major donors, prestigious research grants, tenure politics, ethnic student groups, etc.) to Israel’s advantage. As with politicians, some Presidents are Zionists and others don’t want to scare away big donors (and fundraising is a major part of their job descriptions).

  7. pabelmont
    February 7, 2014, 4:26 pm

    Breaking news (maybe) — Columbia University President Bollinger may have changed his mind and decided to reverse himself and no longer to attack ASA boycott.

    I have not seen a statement on line yet.

  8. American
    February 7, 2014, 4:43 pm

    BDS has old Abe on the road all the time these days selling his snake oil.
    I’d never counted, but googling over the years for news and research I’d say the Isr propaganda sites out number the anti semite sites by about 100,000 to 1.

    link to palmbeachpost.com
    Posted: 1:33 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014

    Commentary: Quieting the anti-Semitism echo chamber

    By Abraham H. Foxman
    The communications revolution, which has brought us all the wonders of the iPad, Google Earth, smartphones and social media, has also been a tremendous boon for anti-Semites and racists.
    The tools that have enhanced our lives have also enabled bigots to spread their hatred, often under the cover of anonymity, faster and broader than ever before. In the span of 20 years, haters who once handed out fliers on street corners can now disseminate massive amounts of data in nanoseconds globally”

    • piotr
      February 7, 2014, 7:21 pm

      Typical exaggeration. Actually, it takes a several miliseconds to send a data packet across a medium-size country, so Foxman is off by more than a million. Sure, our Abe remembers how the bigots had to bake their clay cuneiform tablets before handing out to the few literate members of the society, so his understanding of more modern media and measurement units has to be somewhat limited.

    • amigo
      February 9, 2014, 9:10 am

      “The tools that have enhanced our lives have also enabled bigots to spread their hatred, “abe.

      Maybe you can find a way to ensure those tools only carry pro Israel messages.I am sure those who gave us these tools can use their superior knowledge to provide the necessary software.

      Where would we Goys be without Israeli ingenuity.

  9. Citizen
    February 7, 2014, 5:34 pm

    BDS is like the instrument used in laser assisted, regenerative gum surgery, the Periolose MVP-7. It uses light energy, adjusting the density and pulse to treat severe gum disease in the dark foul mouth, by separating the diseased from the underlying good tissue left via “laser toughing.” The protocol involved “softens up” the plaque and calculus.

  10. Balfour
    February 7, 2014, 6:24 pm

    So disappointed (and ironic) to learn that Kenyon’s new president, Sean Decatur, has withdrawn the college from ASA institutional membership- a black man defending Israeli apartheid practices in the Occupied Territorities this is not an action that will age well with time.

  11. piotr
    February 7, 2014, 7:08 pm

    Condolezza Rice served Bush Administration as National Security Advisor and more briefly, as Secretary of State. Beside Stanford positions, she also had some part time paid jobs in private sector (Wikipedia):

    Rice headed Chevron’s committee on public policy until she resigned on January 15, 2001, to become National Security Advisor to President George W. Bush. Chevron, for unspecified reasons, honored Rice by naming an oil tanker Condoleezza Rice after her, but controversy led to its being renamed Altair Voyager. [I have no time to check who was objecting to a supertanker named Condolezza -- some oil producing nations?]

    ====

    On the main topic, a cause championed by a crowd of university presidents and very sparsely by university professors is bound to be at best tangentially related to academic freedom. Presidents are selected by boards of trustees that are a mix of political and business interests, and their main purpose is to lobby business and politicians for funds, and their pay makes them both servants and members of the ruling class (recently called one percent).

    She also served on the board of directors for the Carnegie Corporation, the Charles Schwab Corporation, the Chevron Corporation, Hewlett Packard, the Rand Corporation, the Transamerica Corporation, and other organizations.

  12. Taxi
    February 8, 2014, 12:26 am

    The statistics:
    “There are over 7,000 higher education institutions in the U.S. with over 15 million students. International students make up a substantial part of the enrollments for many schools.”
    link to askville.amazon.com

    The perspective:
    “Since the American Studies Association (ASA) voted overwhelmingly to boycott Israeli academic institutions in December, more than one hundred and fifty U.S. University Presidents have come out in support of Israel and condemned the ASA’s vote.”

    So, out of over 7000 universities, some 150 university presidents want to punish BDS supporters in academia. Seems to me that the zio bullies still have someways to go to clamping down the whole of academia.

    • amigo
      February 9, 2014, 9:04 am

      Taxi, I read somewhere very recently that those 150 University Presidents were offering their own opinions.

  13. peeesss
    February 8, 2014, 1:36 am

    “The post-9/11 American state no longer stands for the freedom of Americans, and therefore it is no longer for the freedom of Americans that the members of the U.S. military now risk their lives.”
    Do you truly believe that before 9/11/2001 , members of the US military risked their lives for the “freedom” of Americans? Korea, Vietnam, Panama, Cuba, Chile, Yugoslavia, Grenada, Iraq I and II and many other covert and overt wars were not waged for our “freedom”. When we honestly critique the policies of the State of Israel for its oppression and ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinian people and the many ways its Zionist supporters and “Occupied Congress” try to suppress resistance to such injustice, we must not sugar coat the US policies since the end of World War II. Most germane is its almost total and complete subservience to Israel’s policies and actions toward the Palestinian people. Hopefully we are seeing the stirrings of change.

  14. peeesss
    February 8, 2014, 1:44 am

    My bad, Iraq II was after 9/11/2001. But it certainly wasn’t fought for the “freedom of Americans.”

  15. bilal a
    February 8, 2014, 6:32 am

    McCarthy loyalty oaths now in America, but now the oath must be sworn to the jewish state?

    University Professors/ NYCLU

    “The New York Senate has passed Assembly Bill A.8392 to cut off state aid to any academic organization that supports a boycott. As the NYU AAUP noted, “Elected officials are seeking to use their fiscal powers to limit the range of academic expression simply because they disagree with its content. Passing this legislation would set a very dangerous precedent, reminiscent, for many of us, of the loyalty oaths of the McCarthy era.””

    link to academeblog.org

  16. James Canning
    February 8, 2014, 4:06 pm

    Should one think that the US “elite” oppose sanctions against Israel etc etc etc, because penalties are applied to those who fail to oppose sanctions against Israel?

  17. AppleFolsom
    February 9, 2014, 1:04 am

    Why? Divestments.

    The path of the grassroots opposition movement to Apartheid in South Africa flowed from boycotts to divestment. It is Divestment that led to the changes in South Africa.

    Nelson Mandela himself noted that the massive divestment on the part of the University of California (three billion dollars worth of investments from the apartheid state) was significant in abolishing white-minority rule.

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