NYU publication commits itself to supporting BDS

In their most recent edition of The Harbinger, NYU Review of Law & Social Change announced that it will boycott academic events convened or cosponsored by Israel.

New York University banner (photo credit: NYU PHOTO BUREAU)
New York University banner
(photo credit: NYU PHOTO BUREAU)

A New York University Law student organization run legal journal expressed firm commitment to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel in its 2021-22 edition, released on November 18.

In Vol. 46, the most recent edition of The Harbinger, an online-only publication of the NYU Review of Law & Social Change (RLSC), "solidarity with Palestinians collectively struggling towards liberation" was also conveyed. 

RLSC noted that its institutional boycott will include “events, activities, agreements, or projects involving Israeli academic institutions or that otherwise promote the normalization of Israel in the global academy, whitewash Israel’s violations of international law and Palestinian rights, or violate the BDS guidelines.” 

In particular, the group announced that it will boycott academic events convened or cosponsored by Israel; funding from Israel or its lobby groups to support academic activities/projects; and addresses and talks at international venues by Israeli state officials or official representatives of Israeli academic institutions.

Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, also known as BDS.Wikimedia CommonsBoycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, also known as BDS.Wikimedia Commons

"BDS is a Palestinian-led movement that urges action to pressure Israel to end its occupation and colonization of Palestinian land, discrimination against Palestinian citizens, and denial of the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes," the publication stated. 

"Academic institutions are a key part of the ideological and institutional scaffolding of Israel’s regime of occupation, colonialism and apartheid against the Palestinian people," it said. "Since its founding, the Israeli academy has cast its lot with the hegemonic political-military establishment in Israel, and notwithstanding the efforts of a handful of principled academics, the Israeli academy is profoundly implicated in supporting and perpetuating Israel’s systematic denial of Palestinian rights." 

NYU condemned the RLSC endorsement of the BDS movement in a November 23 statement. The law school's official journal is the Law Review of the NYU School of Law.

"NYU and the NYU School of Law are troubled and disappointed by the student-led Review of Law and Social Change's call for an academic boycott of Israeli universities and academics," they said. "Academic boycotts, such as the one proclaimed by the RLSC, are antithetical to the precepts of academic freedom and the free exchange of ideas. For this reason, as a matter of policy, NYU rejects, as it has for many years, calls for academic boycotts of Israel, and the university likewise rejects calls to close its NYU Tel Aviv program, to which it remains fully committed."

Jonathan Turkel, a graduate of NYU School of Law class of 1980 and current volunteer alumni leader of the NYU chapter of Alums for Campus Fairness, told the Jerusalem Post that on Monday the group met to scrutinize antisemitism and anti Zionism on college campuses. The meeting included discussion on RLSC's proclamation.

"I was appalled, but not surprised, by this support of BDS," Turkel, who was formerly an editorial member of the Law Review of the NYU School of Law, said. 

NYU has received sharp criticism in the past for its support of BDS. One instance occurred in May 2019 when a doctoral graduate expressed support for BDS at the Doctoral Convocation Ceremony of the NYU Graduate School of Arts & Science.

Commenting on the 2019 episode, NYU president Andrew Hamilton said "let me use this occasion to reaffirm the university's position: NYU rejects academic boycotts of Israel, rejects calls to close its Tel Aviv campus, and denounces efforts to ostracize or exclude those in the university community based on their location in Israel, their Israeli origin, or their political feelings for Israel."