BDS and Academic Boycotts



academic boycotts are attacks on the Academy whether they are phrased as attacks on individuals or as institutions and I really don't think there's a difference between the two there are attacks on the life of the mind I devote my life to this every day seven days a week all day that's what's on my mind I'm thinking and writing I'm researching and someone to interfere with that to my mind is absolutely an outrage the BDS movement specifically I'll say about academic boycotts in general but the BDS movement specifically gives ammunition to the right-wing in Israel and it gives ammunition to as far as I'm concerned the far left fringe extremist fringe of the Palestinians what beauteous does is it creates an environment where if you don't perform a certain kind of a very radical take on a very complicated conflict you're shamed and you're shunned and I know that a lot of people just feel why do this why get a career if I know that I can't do the kind of you know work in comparative literature because I just know how people are going to look at me and treat me when I say I'm going to a conference I think or in university real academic freedom means that you will advocate for the rights of people with whom you deeply disagree to speak I would not work to bar from my campus advocates of BDS even though I adamantly oppose it I feel they should come to my campus and we can have conversations but the BDS movement really does push both overtly and covertly to curtail the academic freedom of others I think the purpose of universities of scholarship is to enlarge the conversation mr. brilliant voices that have been historically not heard or boycott does that silences people silences voices in this case and necessary and helpful like some of the most interesting voices in the Middle East are coming from Israeli academics I don't think this is even a boycott this is not a cut this is a punishment this would be called imprisonment in solitary confinement that's what's beauty F is supposed to be doing to Israel I think we need to argue with one another but to have a kind of unseen and visit an invisible boycott that has some kind of patina of righteousness is a really dangerous thing for us and it's particularly dangerous in the current political climate in which we at the learned society will be called upon to be the advocates for freedom of expression in this country United States we're not boycotting grapes we're not being asked to boycott Volkswagens we're being asked to boycott thinkers that is the BDS at its core is fundamentally an anti intellectual agenda I designed to prevent the unfolding of significant discussion on Israel and Palestine PDF is war by other means you