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On Campuses where Faculty Members Support BDS, Hostility toward Jews Follows

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.”

Read more at AMCHA Initiative

More about: Anti-Semitism, BDS, Israel & Zionism, Israel on campus, Social Justice

What U.S. Success in Syria Should Look Like

April 26 2018

Surveying the history of the Syrian civil war, Jack Keane and Danielle Pletka explain that Bashar al-Assad’s brutal rule and vicious tactics have led to the presence in his country of both Shiite terrorists, led by Hizballah and backed by Iran and Russia, and Sunni jihadist groups like Islamic State (IS) and al-Qaeda. Any American strategy, they argue, must bear this in mind:

The best option is a Syria without Assad, committed to a future without Iranian or Russian influence. This is not a Pollyanna-like prescription; there are substantial obstacles in the way, not least those we have encountered in Iraq. . . . [But] only such a Syria can guarantee an end to Iranian interference, to the transshipment of weapons for Hizballah, and to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction of the kind we saw used at Douma. (Iran has been instrumental in Syria’s chemical-weapons program for many years.) And, most importantly, only such a Syria can disenfranchise the al-Qaeda and IS affiliates that have found a foothold by exploiting the Syrian people’s desperation.

How do we get there? The United States must first consolidate and strengthen its position in eastern Syria from the Euphrates river to the eastern Syrian border. This involves clearing out the remnants of Islamic State, some several thousand, and ultimately eliminating pockets controlled by the Assad regime and Iranian forces in northeastern Syria. This would enable the creation of a control zone in the eastern part of the country as a base from which to build a credible and capable partner that is not subordinate to the Kurdish chain of command, while effectively shutting down Iran’s strategic land bridge from Iran to the Mediterranean. A regional Arab force, reportedly suggested by President Trump’s new national-security adviser, would be a welcome addition. But we should seriously doubt [the Arabs] will participate without American ground leadership and air support.

In western Syria, the United States should rebuild a Syrian opposition force with advisers, weapons, and air power while upping the pressure on Assad and his cronies to select a pathway to a negotiated peace. Pursuing a settlement in Geneva without such leverage over the Assad regime is pure fantasy. Finally, the United States and other Western powers must impede Iran’s and Russia’s ability to be resupplied. Syria’s airfields must be destroyed, and Syria’s airspace must remain clear.

Read more at National Interest

More about: Hizballah, Iran, ISIS, Politics & Current Affairs, Russia, Syrian civil war, U.S. Foreign policy