It is hardly news that the field of Middle East studies is highly politicized, or that the dominant politics is of the anti-Israel kind. But this past year, the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) went a few steps further by coming out strongly for academic boycotts of the Jewish state. More recently, it harshly condemned the University of California’s attempts to restrain anti-Semitism on campus. Efraim Karsh and Asaf Romirowsky write:
So deep has the rot settled that the association seems totally oblivious of (or rather indifferent to) the fact that its recent endorsement of the anti-Israel delegitimization campaign, and attendant efforts to obstruct the containment of resurgent anti-Semitism on U.S. campuses, have effectively crossed the thin line between “normal” Israel-bashing and classical Jew-baiting. . . .
[Academic boycotts] are an unabashed attempt to single out Israel as a pariah nation, to declare its existence illegitimate. As such, Israeli universities are to be ostracized not for any supposed repression of academic freedom but for their contribution to the creation and prosperity of the Jewish state of Israel, a supposedly racist, colonialist implant in the Middle East [that is] as worthy of extirpation as the formerly apartheid regime of South Africa.
[MESA’s] leaders and luminaries have had no qualms about singling out Jews and Israelis for disproportionate and unique opprobrium and denying them—and them alone—the basic right to national self-determination while allowing it to all other groups and communities, however new and tenuous their claim to nationhood. . . . Past MESA presidents like Rashid Khalidi, Joel Beinin, Juan Cole, among others, have, in one form or another, publicly advocated the destruction of Israel as a state.
Read more at Middle East Forum
More about: Academia, Anti-Semitism, BDS, Israel & Zionism, Israel on campus, Middle East Studies Association, Rashid Khalidi