Advocates of academic boycotts of the Jewish state are fond of claiming that they are motivated by a desire to punish Israel for its restrictions on Palestinian universities—in part, writes Jonathan Marks, as a counterargument to those who would point out that their movement seeks specifically to restrict the free exchange of ideas. But the boycotters have nothing to say about Turkey, where the government has severely restrained the ability of professors to write or teach on sensitive topics:
Another thing about Turkey, though: it’s a great place to hold an International Conference on Palestine. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend this April’s conference, but the speakers listed on the roster included well-known boycott advocates like Ali Abunimah, editor of the [website] Electronic Intifada, Rabab Abdulhadi of San Francisco State University, Joseph Massad of Columbia University, and Ilan Pappé of the University of Exeter.
About the only thing the national committee of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement (BDS) seems to dislike in Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s repressive government is its incomplete rejection of Israel. But BDS advocates don’t mind taking advantage of his hospitality, perhaps because he whispers sweet nothings like, “whoever is on the side of Israel, let everyone know that we are against them.”
The indifference of BDS advocates to the academic freedom they pretend to cherish when it suits them is nothing new. But their championship-level hypocrisy continues to impress.