BDS Has Already Succeeded in Curtailing American Anthropologists’ Academic Freedom

March 28 2016

On April 15, members of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) will vote on a resolution to boycott Israeli universities, institutions, libraries, and scholarly journals. Richard Shweder describes the meeting last November where the resolution was approved by a preliminary vote and submitted to the AAA’s members. Even if the resolution is ultimately voted down, he writes, the BDS movement has already won this particular battle:

What I had not anticipated was the bullying that went on during the debate over [the boycott resolution]. Dissidents who were lined up and waiting to voice their views were suddenly denied access to the microphone by the president of the association and effectively silenced. Shortly before they were cut off, one young scholar did manage [a] memorable (and chilling) remark, anxiously . . . saying that she was well aware that in speaking against the boycott she would probably never get a job in an anthropology department. I wondered whether I could honestly tell her she was wrong.

These are agonistic times in anthropology. The BDS movement has been divisive, causing many members of the profession to remain silent rather than jeopardize valued relationships with friends and colleagues. . . . We are witnessing the subordination [of the ideals of the modern academy] to a political agenda. . . .

Two months ago I received an e-mail from a member of the AAA who wrote me that he was interested in inviting an Israeli colleague to his university for a semester and was “advised” that he had better check around to see what his colleagues thought of such an invitation “given the general pro-BDS atmosphere” in his department. That is one of the insidious ways this whole thing is playing out. Soon it will be time to vote. It remains to be seen whether the members of the AAA have the courage (and the wisdom) to say “no.”

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Read more at Huffington Post

More about: Academia, Academic Boycotts, 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