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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

Why Cutting U.S. Funding for Palestinian “Refugees” Is the Right Move

Jan. 22 2018

Last week the Trump administration announced that it is withholding some of America’s annual contribution to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the organization tasked with providing humanitarian aid to Palestinian refugees and their descendants. To explain why this decision was correct, Elliott Abrams compares UNRWA with the agency run by the UN high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR), which provides humanitarian aid to refugees who are not Palestinian:

One of [UNHCR’s] core missions is “ending statelessness.” [By contrast, UNRWA’s] mission appears to be “never ending statelessness.” A phrase such as “ending statelessness” would be anathema and is found nowhere on its website. Since 1950, UNHCR has tried to place refugees in permanent new situations, while since 1950 UNRWA has with its staff of 30,000 “helped” over 5 million Palestinian “refugees” to remain “refugees.” . . . UNRWA has three times as large a staff as UNHCR—but helps far fewer people than the 17 million refugees UNHCR tries to assist. . . .

The argument for cutting funding to UNRWA is not primarily financial. The United States is an enormously generous donor to UNHCR, providing just under 40 percent of its budget. I hope we maintain that level of funding. . . . The argument for cutting funding to UNRWA instead rests on two pillars. The first is that UNRWA’s activities repeatedly give rise to concern that it has too many connections to Hamas and to rejectionist ideology. . . .

But even if those flaws were corrected, this would not solve the second and more fundamental problem with UNRWA—which is that it will perpetuate the Palestinian “refugee” problem forever rather than helping to solve it. . . . [T]hat the sole group of refugees whom the UN keeps enlarging is Palestinian, and that the only way to remedy this under UN definitions would be to eliminate the state of Israel or have 5 million Palestinian “refugees” move there should simply be unacceptable. . . .

Perpetuating and enlarging the Palestinian “refugee” crisis has harmed Israel and it has certainly harmed Palestinians. Keeping their grievances alive may have served anti-Israel political ends, but it has brought peace no closer and it has helped prevent generations of Palestinians from leading normal lives. That archipelago of displaced-persons and refugee camps that once dotted Europe [in the aftermath of World War II] is long gone now, and the descendants of those who tragically lived in those camps now lead productive and fruitful lives in many countries. One can only wish such a fate for Palestinian refugee camps and for Palestinians. More money for UNRWA won’t solve anything.

Read more at Pressure Points

More about: Israel & Zionism, Palestinians, Refugees, U.S. Foreign policy, UNRWA