Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Really? An academic boycott of Israel? Why the leaders of the American Studies Association are misguided.

Here's the news story.  Rather than either (1) trying to learn about the nuances of what's going on in the Middle East or (2) trying to engage their Israeli counterparts in a real discussion of the issues, the American Studies Association has voted in favor of an academic boycott.

What on earth IS an academic boycott?  Will the American Studies folks stop reading scholarship produced by Israel academics?  Will they stop teaching things that are based on Israel academics' research?  (Even though there are some typos, this listing of Israeli contributions gives a flavor of what Israelis have contributed to the world.)

I'm willing to admit that good-hearted people on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian issue have important and valuable things to say, and I'm willing to listen.  I'm not willing to listen to academics who prefer to turn their backs, shut their eyes, and plug their ears in a grown-up version of "I'm not listening to you" behavior.


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