Why Four Professors Are Suing the American Studies Association

Together with two of their colleagues, Simon Bronner and Michael A. Rockland have filed suit against the American Studies Association (ASA), for violating the terms of its charter by boycotting Israel. They explain their rationale:

[T]he academic boycott of Israel has nothing to do with the ASA’s purpose of “broadening knowledge about American culture.” Indeed, the boycott is at odds with the ASA’s mission by reducing the ability of U.S. and Israeli scholars and students to work collaboratively on the study and teaching of American culture. The boycott even prevents ASA members from working with the many Arabs who study at Israeli universities. Thus, under well-known principles of corporate law, the boycott is illegal. . . .

Just as it would be wrong to take control of a church, temple, or mosque and use its resources to promote another faith, it is wrong to take a scholarly organization such as the ASA and turn into a political organization aimed at “social change.” . . .

In addition to betraying us and our efforts, the anti-Israel warriors running the ASA have created a distraction at substantial cost to the ASA in terms of membership and lost revenue. They have also exposed our group to ridicule. . . .

We strongly support free speech. Indeed, one reason why we are against the boycott is that it chills speech and the free academic exchange of ideas. We believe that the proponents of the Israel boycott should be allowed to voice their opinions, and that the truth will win out. But they are not entitled to use the ASA—funded by the annual fees of over 5,000 American-studies scholars—as a megaphone for demonizing Israel.

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Read more at The Hill

More about: Academia, Academic Boycotts, American Studies Association, 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