CUNY’s Law Faculty Unanimously Endorsed a Student-Led BDS Resolution—after CUNY’s Chancellor Unequivocally Rejected It

Last December, the student government of the City University of New York (CUNY) Law School adopted a resolution endorsing, “proudly and unapologetically,” the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. At the time, CUNY’s chancellor Felix Matos Rodriguez cited a 2016 executive order from then-Governor Andrew Cuomo, which, he argued, precluded the public law school from participating in or supporting BDS. The matter might have ended there, Steven Lubet suggests, noting that many similar BDS initiatives at schools across the country have produced little practical effect. Last month, however, the law-school faculty council unanimously endorsed the student resolution, a move that Lubet argues “might jeopardize the law school’s legitimacy.”

The student government’s impressively researched boycott resolution covers six pages, with twenty paragraphs of accusations against Israel and 26 footnotes. It protests every conceivable university connection to Israel, from using Dell computers (because CEO Michael Dell “is an Israel backer”), to free tuition for NYPD officers (because of their exchange programs with Israel), to serving Sabra hummus.

It gets worse. . . . The scope of [the student government resolution] is only revealed by a link in a footnote, which leads to an extensive BDS website. A few clicks will then take readers to the “Guidelines for the International Academic Boycott of Israel,” which include “the cancellation or annulment of events, activities, agreements, or projects involving Israeli academic institutions or that otherwise promote the normalization of Israel in the global academy, [including] conferences, symposia, workshops, book and museum exhibits.”

If honored by any law school, these limitations would constitute a blatant violation of academic freedom for future teachers, scholars, or students interested in understanding Israel—beyond its purported crimes—in their research or education. At a public law school, such sweeping viewpoint restrictions on conferences, symposia and book exhibits—prohibiting anything that “normalizes” Israel—also violate the First Amendment.

Read more at The Hill

More about: Academia, BDS, First Amendment

Iran’s Calculations and America’s Mistake

There is little doubt that if Hizballah had participated more intensively in Saturday’s attack, Israeli air defenses would have been pushed past their limits, and far more damage would have been done. Daniel Byman and Kenneth Pollack, trying to look at things from Tehran’s perspective, see this as an important sign of caution—but caution that shouldn’t be exaggerated:

Iran is well aware of the extent and capability of Israel’s air defenses. The scale of the strike was almost certainly designed to enable at least some of the attacking munitions to penetrate those defenses and cause some degree of damage. Their inability to do so was doubtless a disappointment to Tehran, but the Iranians can probably still console themselves that the attack was frightening for the Israeli people and alarming to their government. Iran probably hopes that it was unpleasant enough to give Israeli leaders pause the next time they consider an operation like the embassy strike.

Hizballah is Iran’s ace in the hole. With more than 150,000 rockets and missiles, the Lebanese militant group could overwhelm Israeli air defenses. . . . All of this reinforces the strategic assessment that Iran is not looking to escalate with Israel and is, in fact, working very hard to avoid escalation. . . . Still, Iran has crossed a Rubicon, although it may not recognize it. Iran had never struck Israel directly from its own territory before Saturday.

Byman and Pollack see here an important lesson for America:

What Saturday’s fireworks hopefully also illustrated is the danger of U.S. disengagement from the Middle East. . . . The latest round of violence shows why it is important for the United States to take the lead on pushing back on Iran and its proxies and bolstering U.S. allies.

Read more at Foreign Policy

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, U.S. Foreign policy