How BDS Is Undermining Academic Freedom

In pursuit of openly political ends, some professors risk destroying the principles and safeguards that for over a century have protected the freedom of their colleagues.

A BDS protest in New York in April 2018. Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images.

A BDS protest in New York in April 2018. Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images.

Observation
April 18 2018
About the author

Jonathan Marks is professor and chair of politics at Ursinus College. A contributor to the Commentary blog, he has also written on higher education for InsideHigherEd, the Wall Street Journal, and the Weekly Standard.

The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) was officially launched in 2005 in a statement whose author was identified as “Palestinian civil society.” Among the statement’s demands were these: that Israel end “its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands,” dismantle the West Bank security wall built during the second intifada, recognize the “rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality,” and promote the “right of return” for Palestinian refugees. To compel Israel’s submission to these demands, it called for “broad boycotts” and “divestment initiatives” akin to those levied against apartheid-era South Africa.

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More about: Academia, BDS, Israel & Zionism, Politics & Current Affairs