Saree Makdisi, professor of English and comparative literature at UCLA, has endorsed and is a vocal advocate for the academic and cultural boycott of Israel, as demanded by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
The American Association of University Professors considers systematic academic boycotts, such as the BDS academic boycott of Israel, to be a violation of academic freedom and a threat to the free exchange of ideas necessary for academic and scientific progress. Over 250 university presidents and large university associations have condemned the BDS academic boycott for these reasons.
Which means Makdisi wants to violate the academic freedom not only of Israelis, but of those who want to deal with Israelis. If the academic boycott Makdisi supports succeeded, breakthrough cancer research conducted by and with Israeli universities would have to be boycotted.
How many people must die so that Makdisi and his fellow boycotters can fulfill some emotional need to bash Israeli universities and faculty? I asked that question of Marc Lamont Hill, another professor who supports the academic boycott, but never got an answer, Question for @MarcLamontHill – How many must die for academic boycott of Israel?
The tactics used to implement the academic boycott are crude, including shout downs and obstructions of Israeli and pro-Israeli speakers on campuses.
We saw that at UT-Austin, where anti-Israel students, led by law student Mohammed Nabulsi, disrupted an Israeli Studies Department event, screamed for an Intifada at Israelis present just as Palestinians had launched a wave of knife and car attacks under the banner of Intifada, and then claimed that the disrupters were the victims, Student who disrupted UT-Austin Israel Studies event starred in Palestinian free speech video:
A group called Palestine Legal asserts there is a Palestinian Exception to Free Speech, claiming that anti-Israel students and faculty are deprived of speech. In fact, there is an "exception" but it's the opposite of what Palestine Legal claims. It is anti-Israel forces on campuses who, through boycotts, shout-downs and intimidation deprive others of free speech yet cry foul when they are criticized for it, Anti-Israel campus bullies demand Freedom from Criticism.
Here's how a British professor who believes Israel has a right to exist was treated at U. Galway(LANGUAGE WARNING):
When the video above was posted on YouTube so that the world could see the true face of BDS, the perpetrator Joseph Loughnane convinced YouTube to take it down from Legal Insurrection's account because it violated Loughnane's privacy (even though it was public conduct at a public event). YouTube reinstated the video after Legal Insurrection mounted a publicity campaign. Once again, the perpetrator played victim.
And at the University of Minnesota Law School, an NYU professor who is Israeli was disrupted, Protesters shout down Israeli Professor at U. Minnesota law school. Guess who claimed to be the victim? The protesters who disrupted the event:
These are just a few of dozens of examples of shout-downs and disruptions in which the BDS perpetrators play victim. It's an obsession with BDS students and faculty, a way to shut down pro-Israel and pro-academic freedom speech.
I explored this phenomenon in Anti-Israel blacklisters complain they are unfairly being blacklisted, regarding an outfit called Canary Mission which publicizes what anti-Israel faculty and students say and do:
There is the deep irony of the worst blacklisters and boycotters, people who single out others based on national origin and religion, complaining that they are being blacklisted and boycotted.
Perhaps they shouldn't have started the war on campus, a war people like me have urged them not to undertake. Perhaps also they should have the courage of their convictions, and take responsibility for what they actually say and do.
What it all comes down to is the point I've made before many times: What these BDS types really want is freedom from criticism. They use claims that their free speech and academic freedom rights are being violated as a passive-aggressive tactic to silence others and to clear the field so they can violate the free speech and academic freedom rights of others.
Makdisi is doing his part to promote and perpetuate the false narrative that the boycotters are the victims because they are criticized, sometimes harshly and by name. He makes the argument in an Op-Ed in the L.A. Times, Keeping campuses safe for free speech.
From Honest Reporting a good analysis of the hypocrisy of Makdisi's Op-Ed, Professor Wants Safe Space To Bash Israel:
The LA Times published an op-ed by Saree Makdisi, an anti-Israel professor at UCLA, in which he warns about activists on campuses being the victims of a campaign of intimidation. The "victims" he is referring to are not Jewish students targeted by BDS, but anti-Israel activists, himself included.
He complains that he was listed on Canary Mission, a website that exposes those who hate Israel and Jews, just because he has criticized Israel – "there being no distinction, apparently, between criticism of the policies of a foreign power and "hatred" of an entire ethnic group."
There obviously is a distinction between the two, although Makdisi can't see it.
While HonestReporting has no connection with Canary Mission and doesn't necessarily endorse its methods, Makdisi's singling out the Jewish state in many statements and writings cannot be classified as mere criticism. Many of his comments, unfortunately, are hatred by any definition of the word.
Makdisi, a professor of English and Comparative Literature, falsely accuses Israel of apartheid, maliciously claims that Israel deliberately kills Palestinian children, urges an academic boycott of Israel, and calls for Israel to be dismantled as the Jewish state – effectively for its destruction. We have previously called him out for questioning why anyone should recognize Israel's right to exist, and accusing Israel of collective punishment in Gaza.
Interestingly, in 2011, Makdisi mocked the Simon Wiesenthal Center's concern that Palestinian UNESCO membership would erase the history of the Jewish people in Israel. Today UNESCO approved a resolution put forward by the Palestinians that denies Jewish and Christian connections to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, after the UN organization approved a similar just one a week ago.
One thing I have found in my coverage of pro-academic boycott professors is that the one thing they hate more than anything is when you quote what they say and point out what they do. Which is why at Legal Insurrection we quote what they say and point out what they do.
Sunlight is the best disinfectant for the vile bigotry and anti-academic freedom agenda of the BDS movement. We will continue to shine the light, no matter how much the perpetrators play victim.