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.”

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

Jerusalem’s Economic Crisis, Its Arabs, and Its Future

Oct. 18 2018

The population of Israel’s capital city is 38-percent Arab, making Arab eastern Jerusalem the largest Arab community in the country. Connected to this fact is Jerusalem’s 46-percent poverty rate—the highest of any Israeli municipality. The city’s economic condition stems in part from its large ultra-Orthodox population, but there is also rampant poverty among its Arab residents, whose legal status is different from that of both Arab Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank. Haviv Rettig Gur explains:

Jerusalem’s Arab inhabitants are not Israeli citizens—in part because Palestinian society views acceptance of Israeli citizenship, [available to any Arab Jerusalemite who desires it], as acceptance of Israeli claims of sovereignty over the city, and in part because Israel is not eager to accept them, even as it formally views itself as having annexed the area. Nevertheless, they have a form of permanent residency that, unlike West Bank Palestinians, allows them unimpeded access to the rest of Israel. . . .

There are good reasons for this poverty among eastern Jerusalem’s Arabs, rooted in the political trap that has ensnared the Arab half of the city and with it the rest of the city as well. Right-wing Israeli political leaders have avoided investing in Arab eastern Jerusalem, fearing that such investments would increase the flow of Palestinians into the city. Left-wing leaders have done the same on the grounds that the Arab half would be given away in a future peace deal.

Meanwhile, eastern Jerusalem’s complicated situation, suspended between the Israeli and Palestinian worlds, means residents cannot take full advantage of their access to the Israeli economy. For example, while most Arab women elsewhere in Israel learn usable Hebrew in school, most Arab schools in eastern Jerusalem teach from the Palestinian curriculum, which does not offer students the Hebrew they will need to find work in the western half of the city. . . .

It is not unreasonable to argue that Jerusalem cannot really be divided, not for political reasons but for economic ones. If Jerusalem remains a solely Israeli capital, it will have to integrate better its disparate parts and massively develop its weaker communities if it hopes ever to become solvent and prosperous. Arabs must be able to find more and better work in Jewish Jerusalem—and in Arab Jerusalem, too. Conversely, if the city is divided into two capitals, that of a Jewish state and that of a Palestinian one, that won’t change the underlying economic reality that its prosperity, its capacity to accommodate tourism and develop efficient infrastructure, and its ability to ensure access for all religions to their many holy sites, will still require a unified urban space.

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More about: Israel & Zionism, Israeli Arabs, Israeli economy, Jerusalem