Just as finals began to get into full swing this past December, the American Studies Association (ASA) passed a resolution that degraded its existing integrity as well as the values embedded within American culture that the ASA seeks to protect. The ASA resolution is a boycott of Israeli higher education institutions. Three Binghamton University professors – Joseph Keith, Ali Mazrui and James Petras – voted in favor of this resolution. Although Binghamton University does not have an official American studies department, these three professors are voting members of ASA.
The boycott states that the ASA stands in “solidarity with scholars and students deprived of their academic freedom and it aspires to enlarge that freedom for all, including Palestinians. The ASA’s endorsement of the academic boycott emerges from the context of US military and other support for Israel; Israel’s violation of international law and UN resolutions.”
Binghamton University is a generally politically apathetic campus.
Furthermore, in reference to Israel, with over 30 percent Jewish students, Israel is rarely, if ever, questioned by the communal campus conversation. However, with the recent emergence of a SJP (Students for Justice in Palestine) student group, a group that endorses the BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) movement, Israel’s legitimacy is being interrogated voraciously.
The recent tension between the quickly growing SJP and the pro-Israel community is heating up, however roughly 80% of the student population, many of whom are Jews, are strategically being targeted for support by SJP and we cannot falter or wait. We need our campus leadership to stand tall with over 200 other American university presidents in rejecting this heinous boycott.
“Zionism is Racism,” “Israel is an Apartheid State,” and even the tiny bit hilarious “Zionist Music Gives me the Blues.” These phrases are plastered at the front of my mind. These phrases are the reason I have not slept in days. These phrases attack and shame our history and seek to destroy our future. These phrases were screamed by SJP students protesting the Haifa Symphony Orchestra which came to visit Binghamton University last week. I stood peacefully and proudly with Israeli flags alongside five students. We stood next to these hateful students who attacked the very foundation of the Jewish state, the very same state I seek to dedicated my life and eventual legacy to.
But Binghamton University was just business as usual. No uproar by the general population at students who bordered on anti-Semitism in their proud display of hate toward anything related to the Jewish state.
Beyond the boycott of Israel, the hypocrisy lies in the obvious truth that any academic boycott undercuts the values and even the history upon which the field of American studies is built. It’s shameful that American values are being manipulated and undercut by an organization that is so meticulously exercising the all-too-familiar double standard that the Jewish state knows all too well.
There’s no boycott resolution by the ASA regarding Syria, after over 100,000 dead and 8 million displaced by President Bashar Assad’s murderous regime. And beyond the Middle East, there is no boycott of China’s academic institutions, despite China’s blatant disregard of anything that favors democracy or human rights. There is no boycott of Russian institutions, despite Russia mounting anti-gay laws and President Vladimir Putin’s heinous weekly statements regarding such issues.
Most shocking of all, there’s no resolution against the eight Palestinian universities, all built by Israel with Israeli taxpayer money, despite the Palestinian Authority’s praise of suicide bombers or the PA’s treatment of women and homosexuals.
There’s no resolution by the ASA condemning the PA or their universities despite their weekly calls, during the peace talks, that within a future established Palestinian state there will be no Jews allowed, as President Mahmoud Abbas said in 2010: “I will never allow a single Israeli to live among us on Palestinian land.”
That rhetoric, words blatantly ignored by the American media, speaks for itself.
And yet Israel, a state including 1.6 million Israeli Arabs with full citizenship and rights, is pointed out among the world’s worst offenders, despite offering these Israeli Arabs undoubtedly the best quality of life the Middle East has to offer. This was recently seen as Monaliza Abdo, a Christian Arab citizen of Israel, proclaimed to the world that she is proud to be an Israeli Arab serving the Israel Defense Forces. “I keep the country safe, not only for the Jews, but for the Arabs too. I would sacrifice my life for the State of Israel and all of its citizens,” she said in front of a world that only ignored her truth.
If the ASA is truly serious about its resolution, the organization and its blind followers should henceforth abandon the use of all Israeli innovations and inventions of the 20th and 21st centuries, which likely have intellectual property ties to the Israeli institutions the ASA seeks to boycott. “What inventions?” you may rightfully inquire.
Simply search “Israeli inventions” on Google, and thanks to the Israeli-developed Intel computer chip, your computer will process thousands upon thousands of pages.
Over 200 universities across the nation have stood up in opposition to this resolution. However, BU, the Northeast’s “premier public institution,” has remained silent, as three BU professors have supported a clear double standard for the one and only Jewish state, the only democracy in the Middle East. In the face of this emerging trend of boycotts against America’s one true ally in the Middle East, the BU community has made no attempt at an uproar condemning the boycott. Will you too opt to continue to remain silent?
The author is a proud CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle Eastern Reporting in America) Fellow standing up for Israel’s truth on my college campus.
His email is firstname.lastname@example.org