Palestinian Universities Have a Serious Problem That Has Little to Do with Israel

Those agitating for boycotts of Israeli universities, professors, and students have added to their list of fanciful complaints the accusation that “there is no effective or substantive academic freedom for Palestinian students and scholars under conditions of Israeli occupation.” But Palestinian universities suffer from a very different threat, as Carey Nelson—a political scientist and stalwart opponent of boycotts of the Jewish state—argues in his new book Not in Kansas Anymore. Jonathan Marks writes in his review:

Palestinian higher education has shown its ability to “provide graduates qualified to fill many necessary medical, technical, administrative, commercial, and service positions.” Individually and collectively, Palestinians depend on higher education, and the intrusion of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict into campuses has caused great harm.

Consider the September 2001 exhibit, mounted in the cafeteria of an-Najah, [a university in the West Bank], celebrating the prior month’s terrorist attack on Jerusalem’s Sbarro pizzeria. That attack killed fifteen Israeli civilians, including seven children, and wounded over 100 more. The exhibit, sponsored by “students supporting Hamas” and serving, Nelson plausibly asserts, as an “indirect recruiting activity,” included “shattered furniture splattered with fake blood and human body parts.”

Nelson’s convincing main argument [is] that Palestinian universities are “fundamentally different kinds of institutions” from their European and American counterparts. More specifically, Nelson for the first time pulls together evidence, scattered in news accounts, academic journals, memoirs, and monographs, of “a culture of campus and campus-related violence that has been sustained for 40 years.” He draws as well on numerous interviews he conducted, including interviews of Palestinian academics, from 2014 to 2019.

At least since the second intifada, which began in 2000, “entering students have received competing glossy brochures and indoctrination kits” from different political factions, the Hamas-affiliated Islamic Bloc among them. Names and photographs of a faction’s martyrs, including suicide bombers, are sometimes part of the sell. . . . Nelson concludes that “most of the trouble in Palestinian universities has little to do with Israel.”

Read more at Commentary

More about: Academic Boycotts, BDS, Palestinian terror, Palestinians

To Save Gaza, the U.S. Needs a Strategy to Restrain Iran

Since the outbreak of war on October 7, America has given Israel much support, and also much advice. Seth Cropsey argues that some of that advice hasn’t been especially good:

American demands for “restraint” and a “lighter footprint” provide significant elements of Hamas’s command structure, including Yahya Sinwar, the architect of 10/7, a far greater chance of surviving and preserving the organization’s capabilities. Its threat will persist to some extent in any case, since it has significant assets in Lebanon and is poised to enter into a full-fledged partnership with Hizballah that would give it access to Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps for recruitment and to Iranian-supported ratlines into Jordan and Syria.

Turning to the aftermath of the war, Cropsey observes that it will take a different kind of involvement for the U.S. to get the outcomes it desires, namely an alternative to Israeli and to Hamas rule in Gaza that comes with buy-in from its Arab allies:

The only way that Gaza can be governed in a sustainable and stable manner is through the participation of Arab states, and in particular the Gulf Arabs, and the only power that can deliver their participation is the United States. A grand bargain is impossible unless the U.S. exerts enough leverage to induce one.

Militarily speaking, the U.S. has shown no desire seriously to curb Iranian power. It has persistently signaled a desire to avoid escalation. . . . The Gulf Arabs understand this. They have no desire to engage in serious strategic dialogue with Washington and Jerusalem over Iran strategy, since Washington does not have an Iran strategy.

Gaza’s fate is a small part of a much broader strategic struggle. Unless this is recognized, any diplomatic master plan will degenerate into a diplomatic parlor game.

Read more at National Review

More about: Gaza War 2023, Iran, U.S. Foreign policy