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.