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Sunday, January 8, 2017

At the same time that Israel-haters were decisively defeated at the Modern Language Association convention in Philadelphia, they also lost an attempt to bypass their defeat last year at the American Historical Association meeting in Denver.

From History News Network:
The leading organization of historians in the United States won't be joining other scholarly groups harshly critical of Israel.

 A year after the American Historical Association was roiled by a controversy over resolutions that slammed Israel the Council decided not to take action on a petition filed by the same group led by historian Van Gosse.

The petition filed by Van Gosse on behalf of Historians Against War (HAW) asked the "Council to investigate the charges that academic freedom is widely violated in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories." The Council made its decision this weekend during the annual meeting of the organization.

This was the third year in a row that Historians Against War attempted to put the AHA on record against Israel's treatment of Palestinians.  The first time the group's resolution was dismissed on procedural grounds after organizers missed a deadline.  Last year a resolution was considered by the Business Meeting of the AHA and rejected in a decisive vote, 111 to 51, after a bitter fight complete with dueling advertisements in the AHA's magazine, Perspectives.

This time HAW leaders decided to bypass the Business Meeting and take the matter directly to the Council via a petition, but they met with no better success than they had in the past. The AHA has traditionally been leery of taking part in political activities not directly related to the organization's scholarly mission.
The BDSers will claim one "victory." They did help push through a statement meant to counter the Canary Mission, which publicizes academics whose anti-Israel positions turn the classroom into a platform for propaganda. But that statement did not reference anything about Palestinians.

The original statement that the anti-Israel crowd demanded was this:
The AHA upholds the right of students and faculty to engage in nonviolent political action expressing diverse points of view on Israel/Palestine issues. We condemn all efforts at intimidation of those expressing such views. Specifically, we condemn the maintenance of blacklists, such as those on the anonymous "Canary Mission" website publicizing names, photographs, and contact information for hundreds of supporters of Palestinian rights, predominantly Arab American students.”
The statement that was approved took out all specific language referencing the Canary Mission, Arabs or Palestinianism, and became this:
The AHA upholds the rights of students, faculty, and other historians to speak freely and to engage in nonviolent political action expressing diverse perspectives on historical or contemporary issues. We condemn all efforts to intimidate those expressing their views. Specifically, we condemn in the strongest terms the creation, maintenance, and dissemination of blacklists and watchlists—through media (social and otherwise)—which identify specific individuals in ways that could lead to harassment and intimidation.
I agree with the revised statement. The purpose of publicizing the names of overtly anti-Israel academics is not to harass them but to expose their views to the larger public, which potential students (and their parents) have the right to know. Publicizing their opinions, and their hate,  is not intimidation - it is the same free speech rights that they assert.

All in all, BDS movements in academia - which seemed to be unstoppable only 18 months ago - has seen many reversals and defeats in 2016 and now in 2017 as well.

And the academic associations that jumped on the BDS bandwagon early like the American Studies Association and the National Women's Studies Association look more and more like idiots.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.


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