Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Wednesday 18 December 2013

In America The Academic Boycott Snowballs Onward

On 15 December the Council of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association voted unanimously to support the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions.

This makes it the third academic organisation in the United States to award pariah status to the world's only Jewish State.

 Here's its statement:
"The council of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) declares its support for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions.
A broad coalition of Palestinian non-governmental organizations, acting in concert to represent the Palestinian people, formed the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. Their call was taken up in the United States by the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. A NAISA member-initiated petition brought this issue to NAISA Council. After extensive deliberation on the merits of the petition, the NAISA Council decided by unanimous vote to encourage members of NAISA and all who support its mission to honor the boycott.
NAISA is dedicated to free academic inquiry about, with, and by Indigenous communities. The NAISA Council protests the infringement of the academic freedom of Indigenous Palestinian academics and intellectuals in the Occupied Territories and Israel who are denied fundamental freedoms of movement, expression, and assembly, which we uphold.
As the elected council of an international community of Indigenous and allied non-Indigenous scholars, students, and public intellectuals who have studied and resisted the colonization and domination of Indigenous lands via settler state structures throughout the world, we strongly protest the illegal occupation of Palestinian lands and the legal structures of the Israeli state that systematically discriminate against Palestinians and other Indigenous peoples.
NAISA is committed to the robust intellectual and ethical engagement of difficult and often highly charged issues of land, identity, and belonging. Our members will have varying opinions on the issue of the boycott, and we encourage generous dialogue that affirms respectful disagreement as a vital scholarly principle. We reject shaming or personal attacks as counter to humane understanding and the greater goals of justice, peace, and decolonization.
As scholars dedicated to the rights of Indigenous peoples, we affirm that our efforts are directed specifically at the Israeli state, not at Israeli individuals. The NAISA Council encourages NAISA members to boycott Israeli academic institutions because they are imbricated with the Israeli state and we wish to place pressure on that state to change its policies. We champion and defend intellectual and academic freedom, and we recognize that conversation and collaboration with individuals and organizations in Israel/Palestine can make an important contribution to the cause of justice. In recognition of the profound social and political obstacles facing Palestinians in such dialogues, however, we urge our members and supporters to engage in such actions outside the aegis of Israeli educational institutions, honoring this boycott until such time as the rights of the Palestinian people are respected and discriminatory policies are ended."
As a distinguished American scholar, political scientist Michael Curtis,  author of Jews, Antisemitism, and the Middle East, opined not long ago:
"One never ceases to be amazed at the obtuseness on the issue of boycotts of proponents of BDS, some of whom are affiliated with prestigious educational institutions ...
In their partisan advocacy and hostility to Israel they show an astonishing ignorance of life in the Middle East countries as well as of the true nature of academic freedom.
Contrary to the expressed opinion of some BDS supporters there is nothing vague about academic freedom. It denotes a free exchange of ideas and opinions, an exchange in which the validity of those ideas can be examined and challenged, and which is not limited either internally in a particular country or externally. John Stuart Mill knew that free inquiry is the basis for acceptance or rejection of wrong or incorrect ideas and information.
Supporters of BDS have tried to qualify their position by suggesting that their call for action is against institutions not individuals. But this is a sleight of hand evasion of the truth.
A public university or academic institution even if funded wholly or partly by public funds does not take a stand, but individual academics who pursue knowledge or make pronouncements may do so. The President of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, like the President of Rutgers University in New Jersey, does not make pronouncements on abortion, or military cuts, or nuclear weapons in Iran.
Nor do the Presidents of Tel Aviv or Haifa universities issue proclamations as university policy on the nature and destiny of the disputed territories.
Much of the argument of the BDS people is equally ignorant and nonsensical: false accusations that Israel is an apartheid system; that its legal system rests on inequality; that its military authorities interfere with the access of Palestinians to higher education and to hindrances of free speech and assembly.
They refuse to acknowledge that the Israeli government probably has more internal critics than has any other country, that the academic system is open to all who qualify, and that academics contribute to scientific research that may be useful for public purposes in the same way as is the mode in Western countries. The BDS critics seem to know little of the real facts about the operation of Israeli universities in their call for boycotts....
One of the astonishing aspects of the ignorance of the BDS advocates, in Berkeley, New York, or Princeton, is that they take no heed of or are ignorant of the fact that Arab students will be severely hurt by any boycott of Israeli academic institutions.
Can the conclusion be drawn that they think that Arabs should be punished, that Arabs are upholders of the system they regard as evil and apartheid, and that the Arabs are equally guilty of the collective and individual punishment of which they declare Israel is culpable?"
 More good sense from Michael Curtis here


  1. The fightback:

    1. so has Penn State Daphne

      keep up the good work, I love your blog.

    2. Thanks, Miranda! I'm finding it hard to summon the energy to blog today, though. Sweltering heat in Oz. As it happens, Shirlee had already sent me that link, but I had yet to get around to mentioning it.


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