At the American Historical Association, a Defeat for BDS

At the annual meeting of the American Historical Association (AHA) last weekend, a motion to impose an academic boycott on Israel was defeated by a sound margin. Jonathan Marks gleans some lessons from this small but significant victory:

First, there is still an audience for the view that the integrity of scholarly organizations demands that they avoid becoming vehicles for political activism. . . . Or as David Hollinger of the University of California, Berkeley, said, “The AHA isn’t a progressive organization or a conservative organization. It’s a professional organization.”

Second, scholars on the left deserve credit for their work against these sorts of resolutions. . . . Conservatives are greatly outnumbered in the humanities and social-science fields in which these resolutions have been taken up. Associations like the AHA would long ago have been lost to the determined efforts of anti-Israel activists were it not for the willingness of scholars on the left to engage, year in and year out, in a strenuous and unpleasant fight against the ongoing campaign to use their organizations to delegitimize Israel.

Third, . . . conservatives should not give up on our colleges and universities. It does not typically make headlines when teachers and scholars demonstrate their integrity. But as the vote at AHA suggests, there is more integrity to appeal to than a reader of the headlines might guess.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Academia, Academic Boycotts, BDS, Israel & Zionism

Iran Brings Its War on Israel and the U.S. to the High Seas

On Sunday, the Tehran-backed Houthi guerrillas, who have managed to control much of Yemen, attacked an American warship and three British commercial vessels in the Red Sea. This comes on the heels of a series of maritime attacks on targets loosely connected to Israel and the U.S., documented in the article below by Mark Dubowitz and Richard Goldberg. They explain that Washington must respond far more forcefully than it has been:

President Biden refuses to add the Houthis back to the official U.S. terror list—a status he revoked shortly after taking office. And [Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei keeps driving toward a weapon of mass destruction with the UN’s nuclear watchdog warning that Iran is increasing its production of high-enriched uranium while stonewalling inspectors.

Refreezing all cash made available to Iran over the last few months and cracking down on Iranian oil shipments to China are the easy first steps. Senators can force Biden’s hand on both counts by voting on two bills that passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support.

Next comes the reestablishment of U.S. military deterrence. America must defend itself and regional allies against any attempt by Iran to retaliate—a reassurance Riyadh and Abu Dhabi [also] need, given the potential for Tehran to break its de-escalation pact with the Gulf Arab states. By striking Iranian and Houthi targets, Biden would advance the cause of Middle East peace.  . . . Tehran will keep attacking Americans and U.S. allies unless and until he flashes American steel.

Read more at New York Post

More about: Gaza War 2023, Iran, Naval strategy, U.S. Foreign policy, Yemen