Is Academic Boycott Dead after Weak MLA Resolution?January 14, 2014 16:40 by Alex Margolin
Everything you need to know about fighting BDS and the assault on Israel’s legitimacy.
Today’s Top BDS Stories:
1. A bipartisan letter from Congress denouncing academic boycotts of Israel has gained 57 signatures so far.
2. Peggy Shapiro, a member of the Modern Languages Association (MLA), related her experiences at the recent MLA conference, which produced a condemnation of Israel’s policy on visas.
Israel’s visa requirements are similar to those of other liberal democracies, though Israel is forced to be more vigilant because of the dangers of ongoing terrorism. The resolution never acknowledged this reality. Israel’s visa denials can be appealed in Israel’s courts. Nonetheless, in 2012, Israel rejected only .02% of the 626,000 Americans who sought visas while the U.S. denial rate of Israeli applications for B-visas was 5.4 percent. Furthermore, Palestinian universities themselves boast about the number of foreign professors, including Americans, who teach at their schools.
Facts be damned! The delegates passed the resolution (60-53).
Jonathan Marks in Commentary website noted that the weak MLA resolution and subsequent rejection of another anti-Israel resolution suggests “that the MLA is starting to notice that the variety of Israel criticism that has been on display this year, most prominently in the BDS movement, is an embarrassment and a liability.
And while BDS activists like to claim that the movement maintains “a laser-like focus on the rights of the Palestinian people,” the truth is that the MLA resolution removed references to Gaza when delegates realized they would have to condemn Egypt alongside Israel. So much for the rights of Palestinian people in Gaza; the real focus is on condemning Israel at all cost.
3. BDS group claims victory in campaign against Veolia in Boston. Veolia lost out on lucrative contract, but activists agree factors other than BDS pressure may have been responsible.
Although we have no way of knowing whether our activity played a direct role in the Board’s decision, we have clearly raised public consciousness about Veolia’s role in the West Bank.
Meanwhile, SodaStream, an Israeli company that is also targeted by BDS activists, has hired actress Scarlett Johansson as its new spokesperson.
Other BDS-related content:
*Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen dismisses the growing academic opposition to Israel as “absurd” and “detached from the real world.” But he notes that the movement is gaining ground in the battle for public opinion.
The boycott resolutions are coldly barren of historical understanding or empathy, and they are painful to read. But what they say is not as important as the sound they make. The Israel I love is increasingly hated.
* European boycotts are having an impact on Jordan Valley farmers since most of the exports used to go to European markets.
* Watch this great video from StandWithUs detailing how BDS activists manipulate the truth to match their agenda.