Posted by Curt on 24 December, 2013 at 7:20 pm. 2 comments already!


William A. Jacobson:


The anti-Israel academic boycott launched by the American Studies Association and two smaller groups has been denounced by several dozen universities and colleges, among others, as a grievous attack on the academic freedom of everyone. The rebukes have been stunning in their severity.

Here are just three examples from dozens of University statements rejecting the academic boycott of Israel :

  • Former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, now President of Purdue University: ”This is as clear a violation of academic freedom as one can imagine.  We (Purdue) do not appear to have any institutional relationship with the American Studies Association, but are checking to see whether any of our departments do.”
  • Ron Liebowitz, President of Middlebury College: “the vote is a sad reflection of an extreme and hateful ideology of some members of the academy ….  I urge others in the academic community to condemn the ASA boycott and reaffirm their support for academic freedom.”
  • James F. Jones, Jr., President of Trinity College (CT) writing to the President of ASA: “Trinity once years back was an institutional member… Were we still an institutional member, we would not be any longer after the misguided and unprincipled announcement of the boycott of the only democracy in the Middle East…. As President of the ASA, you have tarnished a once distinguished association”

The accumulation of similar statements from University Presidents and others — including people who are critical of Israeli policies — surely must sting the academic boycotters, who are under the misconception that the American world is run by the “Israel Lobby.” 

To the contrary, there is near universal condemnation from a wide range of American civil society — that condemnation is heartfelt, willingly given, and reflects the best traditions of American academic life.

The refusal of American civil society to acquiesce in the anti-Israel boycotters’ attack on academic freedom is not itself an attack on academic freedom.

The boycotters also complained of Facebook harassment, but the evidence they point to is nothing more than people vigorously disagreeing with them, something that probably doesn’t take place in their classrooms.

The pressure is mounting in myriad ways, with at least four cancellations of Institutional Memberships, and numerous other Universities which say they never should have been listed as members in the first place.

Even politicians are getting involved, including a NY Assemblyman who requested a NY State Attorney General investigation because the boycott appears to be based on national origin, which violates the NY Human Rights Law.  The law applies equally to all, including anti-Israeli boycotters.

Now those behind the boycott are complaining that their academic freedom to engage in an academic boycott is being violated by those who disagree with them!

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