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.