The Real Target of Academic Boycotts of Israel? Jewish Scholars

While the boycotts of Israeli institutions of higher learning by scholarly organizations, university departments, and individual faculty members are ostensibly intended to “end the occupation” or avoid “complicity in apartheid,” they have so far proved to have only a minimal impact on Israeli academia, and the chances that they will in any way contribute to changes in the Jewish state’s policies are negligible. What then, asks Martin Kramer, do their proponents seek to accomplish?

The academic boycott of Israel is actually meant to isolate and stigmatize Jewish academics in America. It serves the aim of pushing Jewish academics out of shrinking disciplines, where Jews are believed to be “overrepresented.” That is how diehard supporters of [boycotts] find academic allies who have little interest in Palestine, in fields like American studies or English literature. For these allies, it is not about the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. It is about the presumed Jewish occupation of American academe by Jewish faculty and administrators.

Kramer illustrates the point with the hypothetical example of a Jewish doctoral student who receives an invitation to participate in a conference at an Israeli university:

If she does go to Israel, someone might point a finger at her: she’s a boycott buster; she’s acted outside the bounds of her discipline; she’s been unprofessional. If she is up for appointment or tenure, does she want that conference in Israel on her CV? What if someone on the academic committee sees himself as a boycott enforcer, and spots it? Will this torpedo her candidacy or promotion?

She can turn down the invitation, say nothing, and become a Jew of silence. . . . But perhaps even silence isn’t enough if you are in the humanities. . . . So a third option is to show some virulent hostility yourself—especially if you are a Jew, and therefore naturally suspected of secretly being a Zionist.

Today . . . Jews are regarded not as targets of prejudice but as bearers of privilege. And in much of academe, especially the humanities and social sciences, student demand is weak and falling, full-time academic jobs are rare, and budgets are being cut. For every tenured position, the competition has become cutthroat. And where competition is cutthroat, anything goes. Academe now seethes with struggles over diversity, ethnicity, gender, and race, and it would be naïve to think that Jewish “overrepresentation” isn’t an issue anymore.

Read more at Israel Affairs

More about: Academic Boycotts, American Jewry, Anti-Semitism, BDS

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