Boycotting Israel: The day Humanities died

We are too fractionalized and marginalized to respond and this will be our downfall if we allow it.

Boycotting Israel
Photo by: REUTERS
The vote by the membership of the American Studies Association (ASA) was entirely predictable, strategic and well planned based on the BDS’s careful assessment of what has been happening within the ranks of academia and the fact that faculty groups were finding themselves with leadership turnover, aging anti-boycott warriors and a tenacious commitment to a cause.  Between 2005 and 2010, when the issue of academic boycotts against Israeli scholars was raised, scholars from around the world ranging from over 40 Nobel Laureates to over 50 college and university presidents to leading scholars, academic organizations and institutions stepped forward, united, and asserted that academic boycotts were counterproductive, discriminatory, did not advance the cause of peace and most of all were disruptive to the highest precepts of academic freedom. Statements were signed and circulated for grassroots faculty endorsement and garnered thousands of signatures from members of the left, right and center. Think whatever you want about the rightness and wrongness of a government’s policies and practices; but disrupting academic and research cooperation was anathema and contradictory to the academic world.

Lulled into a false sense of security, many dismantled and abandoned their anti-boycott efforts, thinking that the strong doses of precision therapies of principle, level-headedness and reason had prevailed.

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