Saturday, February 6, 2016

Ignoring the Anti-Semitism Behind the BDS Movement

Winfield Myers of Campus Watch has an excellent piece in the Miami Herald in which he points out the moral cop out when universities use the principle of academic freedom to oppose the boycott, divest and sanctions movement against Israeli universities on US campuses but fail to address the anti-Semitism behind BDS.

Up to this point, American universities have routinely announced that they will not honor calls for boycotts against Israel, its academics, or companies doing business with Israel when these asinine measures are passed by student governments or faculty organizations like the American Studies Association. However, given the anti-Semitic climate on US campuses that has resulted from the anti-Israel movement, it is high time that universities recognize BDS for what it is. It is nothing more than a tool of brown shirted pro-Palestinian students enabled by radical faculty.

Myers' point is well taken. It is not enough to reject BDS resolutions against Israeli universities on the principle of academic freedom. The universities must take a strong stand against anti-Semitism and recognize that BDS is just one manifestation of the ever-increasing anti-Semitism in US universities. Palestinian/Arab and Muslim enmity towards Israel includes enmity toward American Jewish students who support Israel. I have listened to too many anti-Israel speeches at UC Irvine, where I teach part-time, not to know that too many speakers don't draw the line at being anti-Zionist. All too many of them are simply anti-Jewish.

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