Scholars Should Fight Back against Anthropologists’ Decision to Boycott Israel

In an electronic referendum held in June and July, members of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) voted 2,016 to 835 for a resolution boycotting Israeli academic institutions. The resolution’s text and the debate surrounding it are all too typical of the movement in the universities to ostracize the Jewish state, its citizens, and its sympathizers. Miriam Elman and Raeefa Shams respond:

If the boycott is indeed implemented, the AAA will have devolved from an academic association ostensibly committed to open intellectual inquiry into an advocacy group mandating political and ideological orthodoxies. It will push away many of its own members who do not want to be associated with discriminatory policies, and it will face legal challenges for pursuing such policies, particularly in states with anti-BDS laws on the books.

In the meantime, anthropologists who wish to take a stance for academic freedom and against double standards have a range of options. They can reach out to senior administrators on their campuses to ensure that they maintain or even expand joint programs with Israeli institutions. They can present about contemporary Israel, Jewish identity, and anti-Semitism at conferences, providing AAA members the opportunity to hear new perspectives. They can encourage their campuses to disaffiliate from the AAA, and drop their own membership, as long as it continues its policy of boycotting Israeli institutions.

The passage of the boycott resolution at the AAA will unfortunately serve as inspiration for ideologues at other associations to pursue similar campaigns. It is up to responsible scholars to demonstrate that discrimination has consequences.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Academic Boycotts, Anthropology, BDS

An Israeli Buffer Zone in the Gaza Strip Doesn’t Violate International Law

 The IDF announced on Thursday that it is safe for residents to return to some of the towns and villages near the Gaza Strip that have been abandoned since October 7. Yet on the same day, rocket sirens sounded in one of those communities, Kibbutz Mefalsim. To help ensure security in the area, Israel is considering the creation of a buffer zone within the Strip that would be closed to Palestinian civilians and buildings. The U.S. has indicated, however, that it would not look favorably on such a step.

Avraham Shalev explains why it’s necessary:

The creation of a security buffer along the Gaza-Israel border serves the purpose of destroying Hamas’s infrastructure and eliminating the threat to Israel. . . . Some Palestinian structures are practically on the border, and only several hundred yards away from Israeli communities such as Kfar Aza, Kerem Shalom, and Sderot. The Palestinian terrorists that carried out the murderous October 7 attacks crossed into Israel from many of these border-adjacent areas. Hamas officials have already vowed that “we will do this again and again. The al-Aqsa Flood [the October 7th massacre] is just the first time, and there will be a second, a third, a fourth.”

In 2018 and 2019, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad organized mass marches towards the Israeli border with the goal of breaking into Israel. Billed by Palestinians as “the Great March of Return,” its name reveals its purpose—invasion. Although the marches were supposedly non-violent, they featured largescale attacks on Israeli forces as well as arson and damage to Israeli agriculture and civilian communities. Moreover, the October 7 massacre was made possible by Hamas’s prepositioning military hardware along the border under false cover of civilian activity. The security perimeter is intended to prevent a reprise of these events.

Shalev goes on to dismantle the arguments put forth about why international law prohibits Israel from creating the buffer zone. He notes:

By way of comparison, following the defeat of Nazi Germany, France occupied the Saar [River Valley] directly until 1947 and then indirectly until reintegration with Germany in 1957, and the Allied occupation of Berlin continued until the reunification of Germany in 1990. The Allies maintained their occupation long after the fall of the Nazi regime, due to the threat of Soviet invasion and conquest of West Berlin, and by extension Western Europe.

Read more at Kohelet

More about: Gaza Strip, Gaza War 2023, International Law, Israeli Security