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Israeli academics are being quietly ostracized by their U.S. peers, not out of principle, but out of fear of pro-boycott colleagues. I hope our challenge to BDS-by-stealth at Syracuse U will encourage more campuses to take on their boycott bullies.

Miriam F. Elman Sep 07, 2016 12:03 PM

Back in July, Ben-Gurion University President Rivka Carmi expressed concern about a “growing and worrisome phenomena”: informal boycotts of her faculty. BGU scholars were telling her of being quietly shunned by colleagues—excluded from conferences, getting their research proposals and manuscripts summarily rejected, and finding it difficult to place their graduate students into post-doctoral appointments.

Such stealth boycotts by definition operate under the radar, hidden from view. Unlike the shout-downs of Israeli guest speakers, there are no videos of intimidating behavior to post on YouTube, and it’s often hard to prove that the ostracism is occurring. But if the offenders leave an incriminating paper trail and happen to target a well-connected Israeli academic who has the wherewithal to expose the discrimination, then stealth boycotting can get the kind of media exposure that this insidious denial of rights to Israeli academics deserves.

That’s what recently happened on my campus, when Shimon Dotan—an award-winning Israeli filmmaker at New York University’s graduate journalism school—was disinvited from a Syracuse University (SU) international conference on “The Place of Religion in Film” because its SU organizer feared that by hosting him she’d be subject to “ideologically motivated retaliation” from her anti-Israel, BDS-supporting colleagues….

To get answers to these questions, and assess the magnitude of the problem, I and other SU faculty are now urging the administration to undertake a comprehensive and transparent investigation. Supported by the Academic Engagement Network (AEN), a new national organization committed to opposing BDS on campuses and to preserving academic freedom and free speech, we believe that only a full exploration as to why Dotan’s invitation was withdrawn will both lay this incident to rest and ensure that something like it won’t happen again. This inquiry shouldn’t be construed as a witch hunt, nor is it likely to reveal a campus awash in anti-Israel animus. SU is generally a welcoming place for Israeli scholars and students. An exploration of the matter may also show that Hamner panicked unnecessarily and that her fears of the “BDS faction” were overblown. But it’s possible too that the inquiry will uncover more evidence of stealth boycotting…

[Note: This was selected by Haaretz opinion editor Esther Solomon as among the most important Haartez op-eds of the week.  A complete version of the op-ed is available at Haaretz.com ]

By Ahmed Hezam Al-Yemeni
This post was originally published at Peace Direct, where he is an Insight on Conflict’s Local Peacebuilding Expert for Yemen.  Click here to read the original post.  

30 August 2016: Peace Direct’s Local Peacebuilding Expert for Yemen is Ahmed Al-Yemeni. He recently returned home after 12 months abroad. In this harrowing dispatch, he describes the trail of devastation he followed, all the way to his family village.

Following Yemen’s war from a distance is not like living it. Touching and feeling the agony and suffering of Yemenis, as well as hearing the airstrikes and visiting the areas targeted, is epic and dramatic. It is also full of blood, and the cries of those killed and injured. It is a dark portrait, with many destroyed schools, hospitals, bridges, and public infrastructure, destroyed for unclear reasons and a strategic vision that no one can understand or justify. Continue Reading »

In the eighth year of Barack Obama’s presidency the struggle over assessing the correctness of his foreign policy is understandably under way. Unfortunately, too often the struggle is waged in extreme, ill-founded terms. Many Republican leaders and pundits accuse Obama of being naïve, weak, indecisive, and even at times of pursuing non-American interests and goals. Obama himself, in his unflappable manner, ignores the wildest charges and tries to explain the rationale for the foreign policy choices that he makes. His team defends and explains the grounds for choosing the least bad option in difficult circumstances. They agree on the importance of not doing “stupid stuff.” Continue Reading »

By Kirk Emerson (University of Arizona) and Tina Nabatchi (Syracuse University), co-authors of Collaborative Governance Regimes, Georgetown University Press, 2015

You wouldn’t think it from the tenor of our current presidential electioneering, but not everyone in this country is as at each other’s throats, failing to listen to each other, or disrespecting differing views. News coverage and social media posts may be disheartening, suggesting polarized politics, incivility, and failure to address problems; however, evidence of our ability to collaborate – to work together across boundaries to solve problems and strive for the common good – is bountiful. Continue Reading »

Despite some claims that Barack Obama will be seen as a failed president in the future, the current primary election campaigns make it clear that he is likely to be viewed historically as a highly successful president. It is becoming evident that those Republicans and others who worked hard to oppose and defeat Obama’s policies have gravely damaged themselves. Their efforts to destroy his presidency have harmed the country and their own standing. This can be seen in many arenas. Continue Reading »

President Barack Obama’s foreign policies have had important successes that demonstrate creative applications of the increasingly recognized constructive conflict approach. However, Obama is widely attacked as if he were responsible for the many ongoing terribly destructive foreign conflicts. Criticisms of Obama’s administration have usually come from the political right in the United States and others committed to opposing Obama. They attack him for being naïve and insufficiently tough. Even analysts sympathetic to Obama’s foreign policies are sometimes critical of his failure to rely more on coercion and military force. Continue Reading »

By Steve Parks, Associate Professor of Writing and Rhetoric, Syracuse University

This past summer I was fortunate enough to receive a PARCC Faculty Research Mini-Grant to interview the founders of the Federation of Worker Writers and Community Publishers (FWWCP). The FWWCP began in the 1970’s, a period when the mimeograph machine had created the possibility of local writers publishing their own books. Using this new technology, working class writers began to record the history of their lives, their occupations, and their communities during a period of rapid social and political change in the United Kingdom. If fact, over a forty-year period (1970’s to 2010s), the publications of the FWWCP created a self- authorized and intimate history of the changing nature of the British working class as a result of the transition from industrial to service jobs and the shift from a predominantly Anglo-European ethnic background to one that, due to global immigration patterns, is more ethically diverse. In the process, the FWWCP also provided one of the first articulations in the UK of identity politics focused on issues of race, gender, post-coloniality, and sexuality. As such, their publications provide a unique insight into how the working class used writing to advocate for an expansive vision of collective rights during an intense period of transition. Indeed, during their history, the FWWCP circulated close to one million publications. Continue Reading »