Oppose the Blacklist of Israeli Academics

by Eszter Hargittai on May 9, 2005

Jeff Weintraub has posted a petition calling on all academic and scholarly associations to join the AAUP in condemning the boycott of Israeli universities and academics. The American Sociological Association and the American Political Science Association are singled out as associations that should endorse the AAUP’s statement. You can add your signature to the petition here.



Charles Helm 05.09.05 at 3:47 pm

The Daily show recently aired short TV spots contrasting public forums with Bush in the US and Blair in Britian. It was both humorous and depressing. We don’t need any added efforts to control discourse and exchange. Boycott wine growers in the name of Chavez not two Israeli uiversities in the name of….?


Dick Fitzgerald 05.09.05 at 4:24 pm

Please explain why a state born in terrorism, that practices ethnic cleansing to perpetuate apartheid, should not be boycotted?


Sue D'Onym 05.09.05 at 5:46 pm

This sounds a bit contrary, but I wonder whether or not all this condemnation of the AUT is really going to help us lift the boycotts of Haifa and Bar-Ilan? After all, one of the anti-boycott arguments is that international condemnation just drives Israel into a corner. Do a different set of rules apply to the AUT, then?

British academics are often stubborn and cantankerous when they feel that other people are trying to tell them what to do. Don’t overlook a potential Clark County factor here – although this might be music to Sharon’s ears, of course.

NB – you might not realise it, from the context of the above post, but I’m actually trying to get the boycott overturned, even up to the point of putting my real name to some frankly dubious statements about the nature of Zionism.


David All 05.09.05 at 5:56 pm

Gee, Dick, you should not speak about Ireland in that way!
In another words, Dick, in all sincerety can you please F–K OFF!
Thank You.


David All 05.09.05 at 6:10 pm

Ireland, (dick fitzgerald version)
1) Created by terrorists who rebelled against a democratically elected government of Great Britain and who were aided by Imperial Germany. Killed or intimidated all those that supported the democratically elected govt. As an independent state, has consistently claimed the six counties with a Protestant majority, has supported terrorist attacks against those six counties and ia religious theocracy like Iran since the Irish govt recognizes the special place of the Catholic Church in Ireland and has let it dictate public social policy on abortion, divoice, birth control etec.


carla 05.09.05 at 7:10 pm

Boycotting intellectuals and scholars is cutting off your nose to spite your face.

I’m admittedly not a follower of scholarly works from Israelis, but it seems to me that the place to find the germinations of eventual peace. Not to mention that these same individuals are part of keeping the populace educated.


Noah 05.09.05 at 9:42 pm

I’m not pro-AUT boycott, but this type of ongoing idiocy does leave one rather frustrated.


abb1 05.10.05 at 2:57 am

Yes, Eszter, could you clarify your position on Israeli policies, please; it seems quite relevant here. You’re agitating for condemning the boycott; are you fully satisfied with policies of the Jewish State, and if not, to what extent?

And if you do feel that Israeli policies are ruinous (as most people do), then shouldn’t you as a Jewish (I assume) person be much more inclined to condemn and agitate against these ruinous policies, rather than modest attempts to apply pressure for the sake of changing these policies?

I just can’t understand your logic here and it’s pretty common, so would you kindly explain, please.



agm 05.10.05 at 5:51 am

Among other things, Einstein was apparently outstanding in his position that he was an academic first and a second-rate Zionist, well, second.

Seems like not too bad a precedent to use in protesting such a boycott…


lakelobos 05.10.05 at 5:53 am

The right has the gays to hate and the left has Israel.

The war in the most holy of lands has been going on for 100 years. As such, both sides commit the regular acts one sees in every war. Actually, as wars go, it is a rather mild war: no mass rape, no bombing of big cities, no major massacres, retaliation for terrible acts is always restricted to about the same terrible act. (What a sad observation.)

This war is not worse than the wars in Northern Ireland, Cypress or India-Pakistan. It’s way better than the 100 million dead that the 20th century European wars inflicted on the world (with 6 million Jews to boot). What a travesty, Europe as the epitome of morality.

Racists of the left and the right unite!!!


JR 05.10.05 at 8:07 am

Dick Fitzgerald- I will explain. Do me the courtesy of reading this in an effort to understand my position and not merely to look for imagined weaknesses.

Members of the AUT, unlike other employees, have the valuable privilege of academic freedom, which allows them to say what they believe without fear of censure. They exercise this freedom because the society at large believes in the value of scholarship, not because people with advanced degrees are somehow special. Academic freedom permits people with a high level of expertise to explore our natural and social world. It is not intended to permit them to implement their own personal political beliefs in areas where their expertise is no greater than the ordinary voter.

If members of an ordinary union decided on a boycott like this one- say, that members should not interact with persons holding certain religious beliefs – they would be fired. There would be no talk of whether the boycott was justified, or whether the homeland of those people was a force for good or ill. It would be understood that the workers were interfering with the operation of their enterprise. In just this way, the AUT boycotters are interfering with the operations of their universities in a way that conflicts with their obligations as members of their faculties.

The AUT boycotters, however, feel so comfortable in the protections offered by academic freedom that they have lost sight of its purpose. They are abusing it by wrapping themselves in its protections, even as they step well outside their areas of expertise and attempt to highjack the public trust they have been given in order to implement their own personal political views.

This is an act of hubris where humility is in order. It is also an act of stupidity. For if academics believe that they can discriminate against other scholars to further their own politics, who is to say that governments cannot do so as well? And if a university chair can decide to discharge someone based on his national origin, who is to say that a cabinet minister cannot order him to do so? The AUT boycott does violence to academic freedom, and is recklessly jeopardizing the privileged position of the university in society.


nero 05.13.05 at 5:44 am

I’m admittedly not a follower of scholarly works from Israelis, but it seems to me that the place to find the germinations of eventual peace. Not to mention that these same individuals are part of keeping the populace educated.

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