Will Concerned Academics Push to Boycott Turkey?

July 25 2016

In the wake of the failed attempt to overthrow him, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has revoked the accreditation of tens of thousands of school teachers, ordered the resignation of the deans of all of his country’s universities, and forbidden professors from traveling abroad. And yet none of the American scholarly organizations advocating or endorsing academic boycotts of Israel is considering a boycott of Turkey. Liel Leibovitz comments:

Curtis Marez, the president of the American Studies Association, . . . when asked why his organization was singling Israel out for calumny and not, say, Russia or China or Turkey, replied “one has to start somewhere.” Well, professor, you’ve started somewhere, and now you have to keep going. Because if you criticize Israel alone, if you fail to speak when actual assaults on academic freedom are keeping actual educators and scholars from engaging in teaching and research, if you reserve moral outrage for the Jewish state alone and have none to show the true tyrants everywhere quashing the ideals we hold dear, then you and your colleagues will have proved yourselves to be nothing more than puny anti-Semites worthy of neither our respect nor our tuition dollars.

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Read more at Tablet

More about: Academic Boycotts, American Studies Association, Israel & Zionism, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey

 

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