Fighting BDS – Does Academic Boycott Include Israeli Prisons?January 28, 2014 13:16 by Alex Margolin
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Today’s Top BDS Stories:
1. Does the academic boycott against Israel include courses taught in Israeli prisons? AP reports that even prisoners guilty of political violence get access to higher education.
Uprising leader Marwan Barghouti, the most famous Palestinian prisoner, teaches a master’s degree course in Israel Studies, and Abu Muhsin was one of Barghouti’s students.
Does that make Barghouti, of all things, an Israeli academic?
3. Reza Aslan, author of a recent bestseller about Jesus, compared Scarlett Johansson to Adolf Hitlet in a tweet he subsequently deleted. A blogger at Algemeiner captured the tweet before it disappeared.
Commentary columnist Jonathan Tobin says Aslan’s tweet illustrates how far people are willing to go when it comes to demonizing those who associate with Israel.
The significance of this incident isn’t about Aslan’s heinous use of the standard trope of contemporary anti-Semites in which Jews are deemed Nazis. Rather, the question is whether a lionized film star and celebrity like Johansson is prepared to withstand the kind of abuse for which the BDS movement is notorious.
Other BDS-Related Content:
* New York Times blogger Robert Mackey rounds up the latest on Scarlett Johansson and Oxfam, including supporters and critics.
* Scholars are looking to stamp out academic boycotts – and other forms of interference in the academic process by people with political agendas on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
All attempts to use the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to intrude on academic decisions should be resisted, the petition says. “Partisans on all sides of this conflict seem increasingly willing to sacrifice the principles of academic freedom and, more generally, of the free expression and exchange of ideas. We call on our colleagues to resist this tendency, whatever their views of the conflict itself. Boycotts, blacklists, politically motivated interventions in tenure, and attempts to stifle speech do not belong in the university,” it says. “They set an ominous precedent that can be used by intolerant and repressive movements of all sorts in the future. Everyone who values freedom should stand up against them.”