The Middle East Studies Association Boycotts the Middle East

Last week, the Middle East Studies Association (MESA)—the leading professional organization for American academics in the field—announced that its members had voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution to impose a boycott on Israeli universities, on the ground that they are “imbricated” in “systematic violations” of Palestinian rights. Asaf Romirowsky and Alex Joffe comment:

The MESA resolution . . . calls for American academics to punish the most liberal sector of Israeli society, indeed, the one that has done the most for Palestinian integration and education. It [articulates for its members a] political framework [for understanding] the Israel-Palestinian conflict in which Israel is vilified, and implies that members should create a system of exclusion on American campuses, ostracizing Israelis and supporters of Israel, not a few of whom are Jews.

Boycotting Israel encapsulates everything wrong with academia, namely its close-minded censoriousness, aloof cruelty, and eagerness to play politics. It also goes without saying that MESA and its members boycotting Israel will do nothing for the Palestinians, except empower their leaders’ rejectionism further into the 21st century.

The irony is that MESA’s move comes as Israel’s relations with Arab states are expanding still further. The Abraham Accords brought decades of informal political and economic cooperation into the light. These relationships have expanded to include Morocco, Sudan, Bahrain, and the UAE, and perhaps soon, Saudi Arabia.

MESA is thus out of step with the region it purports to study.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Academic Boycotts, Anti-Semitism, BDS, Middle East Studies Association

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