Supporters of BDS Shouldn’t Be University Administrators, Unless They Pledge to Put Their Prejudices Aside

Last week, George Washington University announced the Ilana Feldman, an active advocate for academic boycotts of the Jewish state, will serve as the new dean of its school of international relations. David Bernstein names three reasons that Feldman’s association with the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel (BDS) disqualifies her for such a position:

The first reason is that almost all universities [formally] oppose academic boycotts of Israel. [If] George Washington is among the institutions that have publicly taken that official position, . . . it should not be hiring faculty for administrative positions who have publicly dedicated themselves to the opposite position. For example, could one trust such a person to negotiate an exchange program with Hebrew University? One would think not, given that she has pledged “not to collaborate on projects and events involving Israeli academic institutions.”

Second, there is the matter of universities’ legal responsibilities. Universities are bound by Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which bans them from engaging in discrimination based on race (which, for these purposes, includes ethnicity), and national origin. . . . Inevitably, [BDS] policies will have a wildly disproportionate discriminatory effect on people of Israeli national origin, and to a lesser but still significant effect on Jewish students.

Third, there is the issue of academic freedom. . . . An administrator pledged to an academic boycott is going to be an enemy of academic freedom.

But Bernstein offers one caveat:

I think BDS activists should be allowed to be administrators, but only if they publicly and contractually disavow any intention of adhering to BDS position while serving as administrators. . . . Academics who are unwilling to do this—i.e., unwilling to obey university policy, comply with civil-rights law, and respect academic freedom—have no business serving in administrative positions. In other words, faculty should not be banned from being administrators because they have held a political position.

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Read more at Reason

More about: Academic Boycotts, Anti-Zionism, BDS, Israel on campus

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