Wednesday, August 17, 2016

American Academic Boycott Bigots

The American academy doesn’t hesitate to boycott Israel (Theodore Kupfer, “Where Are the Academic Boycotts of Turkey?”, nationalreview, July 20, 2016). It actively promotes the boycott of Israel.

For example, academic associations for African Literature, American Studies, Asian American Studies, Humanist Sociologists, Critical Ethnic Studies, Chicana and Chicano Studies, American and Indigenous Studies and Peace and Justice Studies have already voted to boycott Israel (US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, usacbi. org, no date). The supposed aim of these boycott votes is to stand up for academic freedom.

These boycotters are idealists. They are moral purists. They take a stand against oppression.

But do they? Last month, Turkey’s leader, Recep Tayyip Edrogan, acted aggressively and brutally to suppress rights and academic freedoms (Elizabeth Redden, “Unprecedented Purge in Turkey”, insidehighereducation, July 20, 2016). Did these moral purists stand up to boycott that injustice?

These organizations, so quick to criticize Israel for alleged repression of academic freedoms (and rights), have largely been silent about Erdogan’s actual repression (CAMERA Snapshots: Turkey Cracks Down on Academics, Anti-Israel Scholars Silent”, camera. org, July 25, 2016). Please note that the repression of academic freedom (and individual rights) in Turkey isn’t new. Turkey’s Edrogan has a history of curtailing rights and attacking academic autonomy (“A very Turkish Coup, nature477,131,  September 8, 2011). Yet, there have been no American academic votes to boycott Turkey. Why not?

American academics haven’t voted to boycott Turkey because the American academic boycott campaign is a campaign of bigotry, not justice. This campaign doesn’t aim to protection academic freedom or individual rights. Its aim is to destroy Israel.

That’s why it attacks only Israel, the freest country in the Middle East—and ignores everyone else. That’s why it refuses to act when Turkey behaves with totalitarian repression against academic freedoms (William Jacobson, “Still searching for boycott of Turkish academia, finding only hypocrisy”, legalinsurrection, August 16, 2016). 

Last month, Turkey’s Erdogan dodged an attempted coup against his rule. To regain power, he launched a massive purge of Turkish institutions. He fired or detained 1,577 university deans and professors. He did the same with tens of thousands of teachers (Kupfer, ibid). He even issued a blanket travel ban on all academics (Kupfer, ibid).

Israel has never done any of these things. Yet American academicians vilify only Israel. They want you to boycott Israel because, as one US boycott leader (the president of the American Studies Association, ASA) has said, boycotting Israel “is the best way to protect and expand academic freedom and access to education” (ibid).

As Kupfer suggests in his essay (above), when it comes to Israel’s imagined evils, anti-Israel academicians feel an overwhelming ‘ethical responsibility to act’. But when Edrogan completely shuts down academic freedom in Turkey, the best these bigots can do is express “concern” for Turkish individuals who might be harmed by their government’s harsh suppression.

Their passion to protect academic freedom drips with anti-Jewish resentment. It smells of bigotry.

Even before this current Turkish suppression, academic conditions in Israel had been far superior to those in Turkey (Kupfer). These American bigots don’t care. They attack only Israel.

The horrors of Turkey are worse than Israel’s supposed horrors. For example, Kupfer says, recall the plight of Israeli academician Neve Gordon, a Leftist professor at Ben-Gurion University. This man “nearly lost his job” [emphasis mine] after writing an op-ed arguing that Israel has become an apartheid state. Compare his ‘nearly’ losing a job to the thousands of Turkish scholars and teachers who did lose their jobs (ibid).

There’s no comparison. ‘Nearly lost his job’ is a subjective overlay used by boycott bigots to justify their taring Israel. ‘Did lose their jobs’ is a done deal: Turkish academicians were fired just because of ‘suspicions’ about them.

American academic boycott bigots claim that Israel is really, truly, hostile to dissenting academics. For this reason, they claim, boycotts are needed to help protect academic freedom in Israel (Kupfer).

Today, Turkey is not merely ‘hostile’ to ‘dissent’. It openly fires and detains academics suspected of dissent.

Turkey crushes dissent. It’s not ‘hostile’ to academic freedom. It’s snuffing out every flicker of academic freedom (ibid).

 Nevertheless, academic bigots are silent. They will boycott only Israel. 

Their bigotry is that rigorous. They work overtime to convert even the smallest Israeli criticism of Israel’s anti-Israel Left into a ‘nuclear’ threat against ‘freedom’. They are passionate about convincing you to boycott the Jewish state for such perceived ‘evils’.

Unfortunately for Turkey’s academicians, America’s  boycott bigots are so busy demonizing Israel they have little time for real suppression. That’s why, when a non-Jewish Middle East country burns its ‘academic freedom’ in the (metaphorical) public square, American boycott bigots don’t feel any ‘ethical responsibility to act’. 

They’re hypocrites. They have no interest in academic freedom. Their reaction to Turkey proves that.

Their passion is to hate Israel. That’s what they’re interested in.

They teach in universities. They have advanced degrees. They talk of morality.

They’re bigots.

No comments:

Post a Comment