University administrators ignore the anti-Semitism lurking beneath the boycott/divestment/sanctions movement against Israel.
In the aftermath of the American Studies Association's (ASA) December 2013 vote to support the boycott/divestment/sanctions (BDS) movement against Israeli universities and scholars, the heads of 250 American universities voiced their opposition to both the ASA's decision and to academic boycotts in general as violations of academic freedom.
Typifying their stance was that of Brown University president Christina Paxson, who said that such action "would be antithetical to open scholarly exchange and would inhibit the advancement of knowledge and discovery."
Yet in failing to address the odiousness of singling out Israel for boycott, such reactions ignore the black heart of BDS: its profound anti-Semitism hiding under the guise of anti-Zionism, anti-colonialism or any cause de jour. A university president harboring intensely anti-Israel or anti-Semitic beliefs could still oppose BDS on academic freedom grounds while leaving unaddressed this key moral issue.
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