Fighting BDS – Not All Palestinian Academics are Wild About Boycott


Everything you need to know about fighting BDS and the assault on Israel’s legitimacy.

Today’s Top BDS Stories:

1. Haaretz headline says it all, right down to the question mark at the end: “Does Scarlett Johansson + Two Justins + Neil Young = #BDSFail?”

There has been quite a bit for Israel supporters of #BDSFail to cheer about recently. I certainly don’t mean to underplay the trends towards boycott in some serious and influential spheres, particularly when it comes to growing support for boycotting Israel in European political circles, and with the American Studies Association in the U.S.- which are legitimately troubling with serious implications.

But when it comes to the Hollywood A-list, Israel’s not in bad shape.

2. New York Times looks at the impact of the academic boycott on Palestinian academics.

Despite the challenges, a few Palestinian institutions and scholars maintain ties with their Israeli counterparts. Mohammed S. Dajani Daoudi, director of American studies at Al-Quds University, in East Jerusalem, whose president, Sari Nusseibeh, has opposed boycotting Israeli universities, said he continues to work with Israeli colleagues and encourages his students to do the same.

“I’m against the boycott in general,” Mr. Dajani said. “We need more dialogue with the other. That’s why I believe that you should not have a general boycott against Israel, or a boycott against Israeli universities. If you want to boycott anyone, target those universities that are calling for occupation or are supporting the continuation of the occupation,” Mr. Dajani added. “But don’t target those Israelis and those universities and those institutions which actually are your partner.”

3. On the heels of yesterday’s news of a pro-ASA petition among students at Tufts University, student leaders at the University of Pennsylvania have signed a statement in support of strong relations between Israel and the U.S. (via Legal Insurrection)

Other BDS-Related Content:

* Israel’s Channel 2 News ran a 16-minute feature (in Hebrew) on the impact of boycotts from Europe on Israeli businesses. The BDS movement is shown briefly, but the real damage to Israeli companies is coming from European opposition to Israeli settlements, which pre-dates the BDS movement.

AZ9* The LA Jewish Journal looks at how BDS founder Omar Barghouti manipulates the facts to demonize Israel.

Absurdly claiming Israel is systematically destroying Palestinian education, he accused it of “scholasticide,”  and omitted the fact that he himself attended graduate school at Tel Aviv University.  He praised the American Studies Association’s vote for an academic boycott of Israel, claiming it showed BDS was succeeding, despite the fact that the most prestigious American academic associations and over 200 major universities unequivocally condemned the resolution as an assault on academic freedom and an unfair singling out of Israel.

But Barghouti didn’t stop there.

He hurled blood libels. Israeli soldiers shoot Palestinian children “for sport.”  Indeed, they “provoke” the children, “entice them like mice, and then shoot them” for no reason.  Often, it is just because the soldiers are “bored.”

* Although Norway has traditionally been one of the strongholds of the cultural boycott against Israel, the new government there is shifting towards a balanced approach towards Israel and greater cultural ties, according to Ynet.

Despite calls made in recent years in Norway – inter alia among local artists – to boycott Israel, the new Norwegian Culture Minister Thorhild Widvey said: “We don’t see the boycott as an effective tool to promote positive change. The Norwegian government is interested in tighter cultural relations between the two countries. I am certain that a deeper mutual understanding is a prerequisite for achieving progress on political matters.”

* Harvard grad student Sara Greenberg defends Hillel’s policy of banning speakers who are opposed to Israel’s right to exist.

With the rising surge of BDS on campus, it is becoming increasingly important that students have a safe haven to discuss, criticize and support Israel free from those whose seek its destruction. Campus Hillels are one place, an important place, where students from a broad spectrum of backgrounds and viewpoints can and should be able to come together and find support to speak up against those who seek Israel’s demise.

* A letter signed by 134 members of Congress denounced the ASA for its academic boycott of Israel. “Academic cooperation can be an important tool to help foster peace between Israelis and Palestinians, but you have chosen the unproductive path of isolation,” the letter said.