Controversy over a summer special issue of the journal Israel Studies drew a defiant response on Wednesday from the journal's editors. The weeks-long turmoil concerns essays that challenge how charged terminology is used in reference to Israel. But the wrangling also signals a potentially unbridgeable rift in the field and raises questions about the future of the Association for Israel Studies.
Critics slam the quality of the volume's scholarship, as well as how the issue, called "Word Crimes," was created. Thirteen of the 25 members of the journal's editorial board expressed concerns about the issue, and nine of them have resigned. But the issue's editors and contributors defend its content and say it is in keeping with special issues of the past. They say the outrage is, at least in part, being fanned by anti-Israel and anti-Semitic activists, some of whom support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement to spurn academic and other events in Israel. Critics reply that the BDS element plays, at most, a trivial part in the discussion and is being used to distract from the more serious issues presented in the journal.
[Editor's note: This is an excerpt. To read the entire article, please click here.]