Monday, December 23, 2013

The ASA's Boycott of Israel is Anti-Semitism Pure and Simple

From Professor Michael Curtis, at the Commentator, "Deschooling America, and the world, over Israel":
The disgraceful resolution of the American Studies Association (ASA) passed on December 15, 2013 honoring the call from “Palestinian civil society” to support the academic boycott of Israel has brought to the forefront a problem that ought to disturb all concerned with the educational system in the United States and elsewhere.

Once upon a time one assumed that college faculty members were paid to address and make statements on subjects on which they had some competence. The ASA has shown that this practice is no longer the case. With the enthusiasm of short- sighted detectives the members of ASA have obeyed the call of a Palestinian lobby group to pursue an academic boycott of a country of which they have little or no scholarly knowledge.

Moreover, that pursuit has no relevance to the supposed concerns of American Studies. Parents of students attending classes taught by the 1252 of the eligible 3853 members who voted for the resolution might legitimately inquire about what goes on in the learning and teaching behavior of this faculty.

The problem is acute. Of the 18 members of the ASA National Council who voted unanimously to endorse the boycott resolution, none appears to have any connection with Middle East studies. At least seven appear to have gender studies and sexual politics as a major, or one of their major, interests. The others state their primary research interests are race, film, “imperialism,” and Hawaiian and Latino cultural studies....

It is important to note that the ASA boycott follows the call, if not the exact words of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.

This Campaign, started in 2004, is a remarkable demonstration of the Palestinian Narrative of Victimhood with its half-truths and falsehoods. Referring to the democratic State of Israel, and ignoring the increasing visibility and role of Israel Arabs in Israeli life, including the many Arabs who attend Israeli universities, it speaks of the “entrenched system of racial discrimination and segregation against the Palestinian citizens of Israel, which resembles the defunct apartheid system in South Africa.”

In addition to the offensiveness and inaccuracy of this assertion, the Campaign called for no participation in any form of academic and cultural cooperation, collaboration or joint projects with Israeli institutions.

Everyone concerned with educational issues must be distressed that a body called the American Studies Association responds to a call from a foreign lobbying body in almost identical language and what can only be regarded as an obsequious tone. Since the members who voted for boycott have shown no interest in issuing statements relating to any of the other 192 countries in the world, what can be their motive in passing this resolution against Israel?

It is not unfair to wonder if the ASA has become infected by the virus of antisemitism.

The academic servility continues. It has now been announced by Chadwick Allen,  professor at  Ohio State University and president of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA), a group with 747 members, that the association has decided to boycott Israeli academic institutions.

He states that the association will support the boycott that  “was initiated by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.”

Again, an academic group is taking a stand while in total ignorance of the reality of life in Israel and areas occupied by the Palestinians. They appear unaware of Israeli basic principles such as protection of free speech and assembly, rights that extend to the Arab population in Israel as they do to everyone else.

Instead, the NAISA speaks of the “legal structures of the Israeli state that systematically discriminate against Palestinian and other indigenous peoples.”

Apparently, and incomprehensibly for an Association supposedly concerned with indigenous studies, it is unaware that the only “indigenous peoples” in the area are Jews.
Continue reading.

An outstanding, penetrating essay that simply nails it. Tweet this piece and spread the word on the ASA's campaign of anti-Semitic totalitarianism. It's bad not just for educational establishments, it's bad for freedom and decency in the world.