BDS Proponents: Vindictive Losers

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

Despite a virtually unbroken series of losses—and in academia, no less—proponents of Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions aimed at Israel continue to dominate academic departments and do their level best to suppress Israeli advocacy. “While signing a petition or statement in support of an academic boycott of Israel is certainly within a faculty member’s free speech rights, faculty boycotters are not entitled to deny students and other faculty of their rights to freedom of expression and academic freedom,” Tammi Rossman-Benjamin of the AMCHA Initiative points out in the groups recent report on BDS. “In addition, shutting down the free flow of ideas — both a goal and effect of the academic boycott — is completely antithetical to the mission of a university.”

“This is why several prominent and respected academic associations, including the American Association of University Professors, the American Council on Education, and the American Association of Universities; hundreds of Members of Congress; and more than 250 university presidents, including the heads of Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, Johns Hopkins, Columbia, Duke, Cornell, Brown and Dartmouth, have condemned the academic boycott of Israel as a direct assault on academic freedom.”

Nevertheless, “Of nearly 1000 faculty boycotters in our study, 70% were affiliated with a department, program, center, or institute in the area of Ethnic, Gender, or Middle East Studies,” the AMCHA report notes.

Moreover, according to the report:

• In “Ethnic Studies: Academic units with one or more faculty boycotters were 10 times more likely to sponsor events with BDS-supporting speakers than units with no faculty boycotters, and the more faculty boycotters the greater the likelihood of BDS-supporting speaker-events; Academic units with chairs or directors who support an academic boycott of Israel were 4.9 times more likely to sponsor events with BDS-supporting speakers than units headed by non-faculty boycotters.”

• In “Gender Studies: Academic units with one or more faculty boycotters were 12 times more likely to sponsor events with BDS-supporting speakers than units with no faculty boycotters, and the more faculty boycotters the greater the likelihood of BDS-supporting speaker-events. “

• In “Middle East Studies: Academic units with one or more faculty boycotters were 5 times more likely to sponsor events with BDS-supporting speakers than units with no faculty boycotters and the more faculty boycotters the greater the likelihood of BDS-supporting speaker-events; Academic units with BDS-supporting chairs or directors were 3.5 times more likely to sponsor events with BDS-supporting speakers than units headed by non-faculty boycotters.”

This tracks with what we’ve seen at Modern Language Association (MLA) conventions that draw thousands of English professors from around the world. Indeed, I still have BDS souvenirs from the last two votes they lost.

 

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