The Campaign for Academic Boycotts of Israel Has Stalled

Sept. 6 2019

In 2015, the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction the Jewish state (BDS) seemed to be making strides in the universities, as the National Women’s Studies Association followed in the footsteps of other scholarly organizations in endorsing a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. But, notes Jonathan Marks, no scholarly organization has passed a BDS resolution since then—which suggests that the tide may be turning:

[BDS] lost big at the American Historical Association in 2016. The Modern Language Association grew so tired of BDS propagandists that they passed an anti-BDS resolution in 2017. BDS even lost in anthropology—among the most politically lopsided disciplines—when the American Anthropological Association narrowly defeated a boycott resolution three years ago.

This year, BDS lost the Society for the Study of Social Problems, an organization committed to the pursuit of “social justice” with no compunction about passing resolutions on subject matters outside its members’ range of expertise. The BDS resolution failed at the same time that one in support of the Green New Deal passed.

At this past weekend’s annual meeting of the American Political Science Association (APSA), yet another BDS effort was turned back. As a sign of the relative weakness of BDS in the political-science field, activists targeted only . . . one of 49 “sections” within APSA. . . . But even at this early stage, opposition was sufficient to turn the resolution back.

Nonetheless, Marks concludes, it would be a serious mistake to become complacent.

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Read more at Commentary

More about: Academic Boycotts, BDS, University

Why the Leader of Hamas Went to Russia

Sept. 30 2022

Earlier this month, the Hamas chairman Ismail Haniyeh and several of his colleagues visited Moscow, where they met with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and other Russian officials. According to Arabic-language media, Haniyeh came seeking “new ideas” about how to wage war against the Jewish state. The terrorist group has had good relations with the Kremlin for several years, and even maintains an office in Moscow. John Hardie and Ivana Stradner comment on the timing of the visit:

For Moscow, the visit likely reflects a continuation of its efforts to leverage the Palestinians and other issues to pressure Israel over its stance on Russia’s war in Ukraine. Russia and Israel built friendly relations in the decades following the Soviet Union’s dissolution. After Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Jerusalem condemned the war, but made sure to tread carefully in order to preserve working ties with Moscow, lest Russian military forces in Syria disrupt Israel’s strategically important air operations there.

Nevertheless, bilateral tensions spiked in April after Yair Lapid, then serving as Israel’s foreign minister, joined the chorus of voices worldwide accusing Russia of committing war crimes in Ukraine. Jerusalem later provided Kyiv with some non-lethal military aid and a field hospital. In response, Moscow hardened its rhetoric about Israeli actions in the Palestinian territories.

The Palestinian issue isn’t the only way that Russia has sought to pressure Israel. Moscow is also threatening, on seemingly spurious grounds, to shutter the Russian branch of the Jewish Agency.

Moscow likely has little appetite for outright conflict with Israel, particularly when the bulk of Russia’s military is floundering in Ukraine. But there are plenty of other ways that Russia, which maintains an active intelligence presence in the Jewish state, could damage Israel’s interests. As Moscow cozies up with Hamas, Iran, and other enemies of Israel, Jerusalem—and its American allies—would do well to keep a watchful eye.

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Read more at Algemeiner

More about: Hamas, Israeli Security, Russia