Having conducted a series of studies of the movement to impose academic boycotts on Israel, Leila Beckwith and Tammi Rossman-Benjamin report on their findings:
[Our] most recent studies of anti-Semitic activity on campuses with high Jewish student enrollments found a very strong, statistically robust association between the number of faculty members expressing public support for an academic boycott of Israel and acts of anti-Jewish hostility, such as assault, harassment, destruction of property, and suppression of speech. Schools with one or more faculty boycotters were between four and seven times more likely to play host to incidents of anti-Jewish hostility, and the more faculty boycotters on a campus, the greater the likelihood of such anti-Semitic acts. The association was replicated in three separate studies that were carried out over two different years.
Why should this be so? Beckwith and Ross-Benjamin suggest that the BDS-supporting professors often advocate against Israel in the classroom and even in student newspapers, advise and support anti-Israel campus groups like Students for Justice in Palestine, and sponsor anti-Israel speakers and events. Most likely, these activities encourage anti-Jewish sentiments, leading to attacks, harassment, and so forth.
The researchers found another noteworthy set of correlations:
In our current study, although overall only one-quarter of the academic units in Ethnic, Gender, or Middle East Studies sponsored any Israel-related event in 2015 or 2016, more than three-quarters (76 percent) of the Israel-related events that were sponsored by units in these disciplines had speakers who support BDS. It is not surprising that academic units in Middle East Studies sponsored the preponderance of all Israel-related events, since Israel is part of the Middle East. . . . Nor is it surprising, in light of the growing body of evidence showing a clear anti-Israel bias in many Middle East studies programs, that the majority (58 percent) of speaker-events sponsored by Middle East Studies units included speakers who support BDS.
However, given that Israel is not directly related to academic inquiry in either Ethnic or Gender Studies, it is less obvious why these disciplines would be involved in sponsoring Israel-related events, and why a large majority of these events (38 of 51 and 35 of 39, respectively) would include speakers who support BDS. We speculate that these results can be accounted for by the unique activist nature of these disciplines, which often encourage their affiliated faculty to engage in political advocacy and activism in the pursuit of “social justice.”
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