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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preserving academic freedom and free speech, we believe that only a full exploration as to why Dotan’s invitation was withdrawn will both lay this incident to rest and ensure that something like it won’t happen again.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 ]

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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. (more…)

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Political Subjectivities and Local Nationalisms in Postwar Bosnia and Herzegovina

 

By Azra Hromadzic  

One of the most commonly heard “complaints” about postwar Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), made by policy-makers and academics alike, is that “ordinary Bosnians” vote for nationalists and, in that way, allow them to stay in power. While it is true that the nationalist parties have been dominating the political scene in postwar BiH, these facts and statistical data are used to make two very important and problematic claims: The first argument is that since Bosnians and Herzegovinians massively support the nationalist parties that started the war, this must mean that the majority of Bosnians and Herzegovinians are themselves nationalists (for an insightful critique of this position see Kurtović 2011). The second assertion is that any broader, cross-ethnic political and social articulations of common Bosnianhood are apolitical, nostalgic, invented and over-romanticized visions of Bosnianhood and/or are reflections of “impaired insights” on the side of “subjective” academics (see Hayden 2007).  These two claims problematically accept statistical data as “true” reflections of political and social beliefs. Furthermore, these positions rest on a primordial, essentilizing and totalizing view of Bosnian and Herzegovinian “ethnic groups rooted in ethnic territories” (for a powerful critique of this rigid vision of multiculturalism, see Campbell 1999; Chandler 1999, and Gagnon n.d.). (more…)

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On Budget Battles and the US Institute of Peace

March 2, 2011

By Bruce W. Dayton

These are tough times for discretionary spending programs in the US government.  Among those looking at the axe is the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) which faces the prospect of closure thanks to a successful US House of Representatives amendment to the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2011. That amendment seeks to eliminate all funding for the US Institute of Peace for the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year.

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This blog offers thoughts about conflict and collaboration from noted thinkers, scholars and practitioners. (more…)

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