What a Fight at the American Historical Association Reveals about Supporters of Academic Boycotts of Israel

Jan. 15 2016

Commenting on the recently defeated anti-Israel motion before the American Historical Association (AHA), Jeffrey Herf notes the “hubris” of its supporters, “fostered by decades of easy victories at the UN or in academic associations that had already been taken over by the radical left.” The debate over the motion revealed much else about the motion’s sponsors, many of whom have ties to the BDS movement:

The response from supporters of the [anti-Israel] resolution revealed that they were indeed part of a political project that seeks to delegitimize the state of Israel. They admitted to singling out Israel, but denied that this had anything to do with anti-Semitism. Rather, they [claimed they were doing] so because they opposed colonialism and racism everywhere. . . . They appealed to the “moral responsibility of intellectuals” to “oppose injustice,” thus assuming, [without ever seeking to prove], that Israel perpetrated injustices and deserved moral condemnation. . . .

One of the younger faculty members supporting the resolution revealed his limited understanding of the role of professional organizations when he blurted out that he wanted the AHA to be a progressive, not a conservative, organization. He dug himself into a deeper hole when he asked why we shouldn’t support a resolution that reflected what he taught in his classes. . . .

[F]aced with a combined assault on the factual accuracy of their accusations [against Israel, and the widespread conviction that the AHA shouldn’t involve itself in political issues], the resolution’s advocates made an abysmally poor case for themselves. . . . One interesting aspect of the debate . . . was that some of the more well-known historians who had signed the anti-Israel resolution declined to speak up [in its defense] in front of their peers.

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Academic Boycotts, Anti-Semitism, BDS, Israel & Zionism

How European Fecklessness Encourages the Islamic Republic’s Assassination Campaign

In September, Cypriot police narrowly foiled a plot by an Iranian agent to murder five Jewish businessman. This was but one of roughly a dozen similar operations that Tehran has conducted in Europe since 2015—on both Israeli or Jewish and American targets—which have left three dead. Matthew Karnitschnig traces the use of assassination as a strategic tool to the very beginning of the Islamic Republic, and explains its appeal:

In the West, assassination remains a last resort (think Osama bin Laden); in authoritarian states, it’s the first (who can forget the 2017 assassination by nerve agent of Kim Jong-nam, the playboy half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, upon his arrival in Kuala Lumpur?). For rogue states, even if the murder plots are thwarted, the regimes still win by instilling fear in their enemies’ hearts and minds. That helps explain the recent frequency. Over the course of a few months last year, Iran undertook a flurry of attacks from Latin America to Africa.

Whether such operations succeed or not, the countries behind them can be sure of one thing: they won’t be made to pay for trying. Over the years, the Russian and Iranian regimes have eliminated countless dissidents, traitors, and assorted other enemies (real and perceived) on the streets of Paris, Berlin, and even Washington, often in broad daylight. Others have been quietly abducted and sent home, where they faced sham trials and were then hanged for treason.

While there’s no shortage of criticism in the West in the wake of these crimes, there are rarely real consequences. That’s especially true in Europe, where leaders have looked the other way in the face of a variety of abuses in the hopes of reviving a deal to rein in Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program and renewing business ties.

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Read more at Politico

More about: Europe, Iran, Israeli Security, Terrorism