Letter: Applaud the Boycott of Israel

To the Editor:

In her “Boycott of Israel Defies Logic, Morality,” Frida Ghitis fails to identify just what the American Scholars Association (ASA) “boycott of Israeli universities” means. In “Hanlon: Israeli Academics Boycott Wrong,” Valley News reporter Jon Wolper does the same. To me this is basic information necessary to understand the issue. Here’s what Inside Higher Ed reported recently:

The boycott is “… a refusal on the part of the Association in its official capacities to enter into formal collaborations with Israeli academic institutions, or with scholars who are expressly serving as representatives or ambassadors of those institutions, or on behalf of the Israeli government, until Israel ceases to violate human rights and international law.”

When you think about it, this boycott is the association’s only means of expressing its collective opinion. Inside Higher Ed reports that this boycott movement is popular in Europe; the ASA declaration is the first of more expected in the United States. Similarly, the United Nations, representing most countries in the world, has proposed several resolutions condemning Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, only to have them vetoed by the United States.

Ms. Ghitis refers to Israel as “the Jewish State” at least three times, but calls it “the region’s only democracy.” In fact, like several Middle Eastern countries, Israel is a theocracy, with sectarian laws intertwined with secular-sounding quasi-democratic agencies. The fact that her readers will be a predominately Judeo-Christian audience does not change reality.

Her op-ed also focuses on “human rights” ­— she cites other, perhaps worse places for human rights, as if Israel should be immune if others are not also boycotted. However, I doubt there are ASA collaborations with Syrian, Egyptian or Iranian universities; what’s to boycott? Israel is singled out for calling itself a sheep while behaving like a wolf.

More important than human rights is Israel’s forcibly deposing Palestinians from land they were evacuated to when Israel was forcibly created. Israel has promised several freezes of new settlements on Palestinian land, only to ignore the promises to build thousands of units on stolen olive orchards, destroying homes and towns in the process.

The United States has pandered to Israel and protected it from legal condemnation since its creation, alienating other Middle Eastern countries and many Muslims, only to be betrayed by Israel at our expense.

I applaud the ASA for taking a stand and hope some day we will pull the plug on enabling Israel, ignoring the plight of the Palestinians and thus making enemies around the globe.

Curt Peterson



Column: Boycott of Israel Defies Logic, Morality

Thursday, December 26, 2013

If you want to work against peace between Israelis and Palestinians, if your aim is to ensure the two sides never work out their differences, then it’s a really good idea to support the boycott of Israel. The movement to boycott the Jewish state, known as BDS — boycotts, divestment and sanctions — produces exactly the opposite of reconciliation. It …

Hanlon: Israeli Academics Boycott Wrong

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Hanover — Dartmouth President Phil Hanlon this weekend came out against a boycott of Israeli academic institutions that was recently approved by a group of U.S. scholars, saying it restricts “the free exchange of ideas.” Hanlon’s Saturday email to the Dartmouth community puts him in step with several other college presidents nationwide who denounced the boycott after the American Studies …

U.S. Scholars Vote to Boycott Israeli Schools

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

New York — The American Studies Association this week endorsed a boycott of Israeli universities, the largest group of U.S. scholars to do so. About one-third of the group’s more than 3,800 members voted, approving the boycott by 66 percent. Last April, the smaller Association for Asian American Studies, which has about 800 members, became the first scholarly group in …

Letter: Be Fair to Israel

Sunday, January 5, 2014

To the Editor: In response to Curt Peterson’s letter Jan. 5 (“Applaud the Boycott of Israel”), in regard to Israel’s lack of willingness to respect human rights in the area, it seems necessary to remind him and other readers that Israel’s neighbors are committed to “wiping Israel off the face of the Earth.” I wonder if Peterson thinks that this …