Home
Search
עברית
Board & Mission Statement
Why IAM?
About Us
Articles by IAM Associates
Ben-Gurion University
Hebrew University
University of Haifa
Tel Aviv University
Other Institutions
Boycott Calls Against Israel
Israelis in Non-Israeli Universities
Anti-Israel Petitions Supported by Israeli Academics
General Articles
Anti-Israel Conferences
Lawfare
Anti-Israel Academic Resolutions
Lectures Interrupted
Activists Profiles
Readers Forum
On the Brighter Side
Photographs
How can I complain?
Contact Us / Subscribe
Donate
Boycott Calls Against Israel
Confusion of the AAUP Committee on Academic Freedom: Rejecting and Endorsing BDS


27.06.18

Editorial Note


The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has held its annual meeting on June 16, 2018.  While it claims to oppose all kinds of academic boycotts, in reality it has endorsed the right of academics to call for the boycott of Israel. Confusing? Yes, indeed. 


The importance of the AAUP can not be overestimated. It has helped to shape American higher education by developing the standards and procedures to maintain quality in education and academic freedom since 1915.  The AAUP defines professional values and standards, advance the rights of academics pertaining to academic freedom and shared governance, and promotes the interests of higher education teaching and research.  


The AAUP is certainly highly regarded globally. Even IAM has endorsed principles set out in 1940: "When College and university teachers speak or write as citizens they should remember that the public may judge their profession and their institution by their utterances. Hence they should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate that they are not speaking for the institution". And that "Teachers are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subject, but they should be careful not to introduce into their teaching controversial matter which has no relation to their subject".  


But things took a surprising turn during a June meeting of an AAUP standing committee, the Academic Freedom and Tenure (Committee A). Committee A issued a report endorsing the right of faculty to advocate an academic boycott of Israel. 


The report states that:   

At its June meeting the committee also discussed two troubling developments related to the academic boycott of Israel. The committee continues to oppose all academic boycotts, including such a boycott of Israel, as inconsistent with principles of academic freedom. At the same time, however, we defend the right of faculty members to advocate such a boycott. In that light we were deeply troubled by the action of the state of Israel in denying entry to Columbia University law professor Katherine Franke. When Professor Franke sought to visit Israel solely on academic business, Israeli officials denied her entry because of her alleged advocacy of a boycott, apparently determined by her listing on a notorious blacklist. A Committee A subcommittee is in process of preparing a letter to the Israeli government indicating our concern and pointing out that this action undermines the efforts of those who seek to oppose academic boycotts, since it would appear that the Israeli government has in this case imposed its own academic boycott.

In a similar vein, the committee discussed legislation in as many as seventeen states criminalizing support for the BDS movement. As a result, some public universities in those states have begun to ask that external speakers invited to campus and others who contract with these universities, such as external reviewers of tenure and promotion materials, sign a statement pledging that they do not now, nor will they in the future, endorse BDS. Specifically, we are deeply alarmed by reports that Arizona State University and the University of Houston require speakers and other academics to certify that they are not involved with the BDS movement and that the University of Houston has even extended the requirement to its own faculty and students. A subcommittee is currently preparing a statement opposing such practices that will be released this summer.


The report was presented to the AAUP annual meeting in Virginia, on June 16 and will be published in the annual AAUP journal Academe later this summer. 

While it is clear from the report that the committee continues to oppose the boycott of Israel, which was already stated in 2006, in an AAUP publication of recommendations on academic boycotts which determined:

1. In view of the Association’s long-standing commitment to the free exchange of ideas, we oppose academic boycotts. 
2. On the same grounds, we recommend that other academic associations oppose academic boycotts. We urge that they seek alternative means, less inimical to the principle of academic freedom, to pursue their concerns. 
3. We especially oppose selective academic boycotts that entail an ideological litmus test. We understand that such selective boycotts may be intended to preserve academic exchange with those more open to the views of boycott proponents, but we cannot endorse the use of political or religious views as a test of eligibility for participation in the academic community. Similarly, it was repeated in 2013 "AAUP Statement on Academic Boycotts."  The AAUP insisted that Academics can do as they please privately, it ended its statement by saying "However, an organized academic boycott is a different matter and we are disappointed by the resolution of the Association for Asian American Studies and would instead urge that organization and its members to find other means to register their opposition to Israeli policies."

Now, the committee defends the right of faculty members to advocate such a boycott.  This seeming contradiction stems from an incident involving Professor Katherine Franke from the Columbia University Law School. In late April, Professor Franke was detained at the Israeli airport and was denied entrance because of her involvement with the BDS movement.  She is a leader of the Jewish Voices for Peace, a group dedicated to promoting BDS.  To explain its position, the committee inserted a link to an op-ed by Roger Cohen in the New York Times. Cohen described the airport incident, "she was detained last Sunday, interrogated, accused of lying, and, upon expulsion, told she could never return," and described Franke as "the  kind of tough critic a free and democratic society should welcome. Any healthy society is defined by its ability to accommodate civilized debate, not by cries of “traitor” directed at dissenters." For him, sending her back to America was a "measure of how far Israeli political culture has closed." Cohen can hardly be described as a neutral observer when stating that "President Trump’s gift for unleashing the worst in people has found no more fertile ground than the Holy Land," or that Israel "has carte blanche from the Trump administration to do what it will: view the West Bank as Israel proper, overreact at the Gaza fence, pass a 2017 law banning boycott supporters from the country. Habits of violent intolerance absorbed through a 50-year exercise in policing the lives of others no longer meet any semblance of American censure. Unbridled, Israel lurches rightward.”   

The use of this particular op-ed to justify the position of the AAUP is even more troubling when considering Cohen’s other writings. In 2009, Cohen wrote in the New York Times about a trip to Iran.  The glowing description of the country was even more pointed when Cohen, a Jew himself, wrote that the “Jewish community in Iran “was living, working, worshipping in relative tranquility.”  The article created a firestorm especially in the Jewish and Baha'i communities in the United States.   Some compared his article to the infamous glowing reviews of the “road trips” which American academics and journalists took in the Soviet Union at the peak of Stalin’s Gulag era.  Cohen himself subsequently admitted that he used the services of a government minder/ translator when he was interviewing the Iranians.  That the AAUP should use Cohen’s article to support its position on Professor Franke makes mockery of its claim to objectify.  At best, the committee did not do its homework, at worst, it chose to insert a profoundly biased piece of writing.

The committee failed to do its homework when it explained that Professor Franke was detained because of her “alleged advocacy of boycott.”  The committee should have checked its facts on what is the connection between Franke and the BDS movement, before suggesting these are mere allegations.  

A number of events show direct ties of Professor Franke to the BDS movement: 

In May 2012 Franke has made a public declaration supporting the Palestinian call for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions on Israel when she decided to boycott the "Equality Forum" in Philadelphia where she was scheduled to speak. The annual conference chose a nation to highlight and discuss its culture and policies toward LGBTQ individuals and that year’s selected country was Israel. 

Franke was a panelist in February 2016 at the “Israeli Apartheid Week” for the Columbia University and Barnard College faculty and students, hosted by Columbia/Barnard Jewish Voice for Peace and Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine, discussing the book “The Case for Academic Boycott.” The entire book and event called for the boycott of Israel.  

Franke has been signatory number 10 of the July 2016 “Faculty Petition” supporting Columbia University Apartheid Divest’s statement, "calling upon the University to take a moral stance against Israel's violence in all its forms. We demand that the University divest from corporations that supply, perpetuate, and profit from a system that has subjugated the Palestinian people for over 68 years."  

Her personal University page lists her as a member of the Executive Committee of the Center for Palestine Studies at Columbia University and her writings which include "Why We Boycotted the Equality Forum: Gay Rights Become a Tool in Israel's Rebranding Campaign." and "PFLAG Holds Israeli Pinkwashing Event." 

The committee acknowledged that the Israeli Knesset has passed in 2017 the Boycott Law preventing BDS activists from entering Israel which the global media widely publicized.   But they failed to mention that Franke should have known before traveling that she could be denied entry.   By choosing to use the link to Cohen's article, they also gave credence to Professor Franke’s own obfuscations.  Cohen wrote about Franke's reaction to the airport incident, "Franke told me: 'They were not interested in why I was there. They already had a story. I was a leader of Jewish Voice for Peace. I was there to promote the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement — all this untrue'."  

To explain the confusion of the AAUP one needs to evoke the old metaphor of trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.   It is the obligation of the AAUP to uphold standards of academic freedom, but there are certain ideas that the academy and for that matter the caviled world cannot tolerate.  One of them is anti-Semitism, a phenomenon which the EU described as using double standards to judge the Jews as opposed to others.  This is not to say that criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic; to the contrary, it is a legitimate form of expression to which every academic should be entitled.  The point is that vociferous critics such as Professor Franke are quick to condemn Israel but are silent on all other issues, a classic manifestation of double standards.   IAM has repeatedly documented such one-sided bias in the academy.  Umpteen conferences are devoted to how Israel mistreated the Palestinians, IAM has yet to see a conference about the Islamist treatment of minorities and women in the Middle East.  In addition, IAM did not come across any conference about the treatment of gays by the Palestinians or other Muslim countries where gays are being hanged from cranes in pubic space or thrown off rooftops.  When confronted with the fact that in Israel gays enjoy broad-range of rights and host one of the largest gathering of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ), the answer of Franke and others is “Pinkwashing.”  According to this view, Israel’s liberal approach to LGBTQ is a public relations ploy to cover up the “sins of the occupation.”   

By pretending that radical critique of Israel is legitimate, a notion that goes against the EU definition of antisemitism, the AAUP is defending two incompatible positions and creating confusion in the process.  But there is more to this story, the  AAUP shows moral cowardice.  The guardian of objectivity and balance has become an extension of the “politically correct” academy, promoting the narrative that the Jews cannot do anything right and the Palestinians cannot do anything wrong.  





Committee A Report to the 2018 Annual Meeting

BY HANK REICHMAN      2018/06/20

The following is the report of the AAUP’s Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure, presented to the AAUP annual meeting in Arlington, Virginia, on June 16 and to be published in the annual AAUP Bulletin issue of Academe later this summer.

Introduction

In the past year Committee A published several policy documents that address emerging issues affecting academic freedom and tenure, reviewed important cases and case reports of investigations, monitored developments at censured institutions, and formulated recommendations on censure and censure removal.

Imposition of Censure

At its spring meeting, Committee A considered one case that had been the subject of an ad hoc investigating committee report published since the 2017 annual meeting. The committee adopted the following statement concerning this case, the Council concurred, and the 2018 annual meeting voted to impose censure.

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln. The report of the investigating committee concerns the administration’s action to suspend from her teaching responsibilities a sixth-year doctoral student with a part-time appointment as lecturer for the entire academic year. At the beginning of the fall semester, the lecturer had protested an on-campus recruitment table for Turning Point USA (TPUSA), a conservative organization that opposes what it views as the liberal agenda in US higher education. TPUSA maintains the Professor Watchlist website. Her protest, which was video recorded by the undergraduate student staffing the table and widely disseminated online, generated significant attention, leading to threats against her and the university. The administration initially removed the lecturer from her teaching responsibilities, allegedly for her safety, but then refused to reinstate her, even in the subsequent semester, thus extending this suspension to the end of her term of appointment.

Under AAUP-supported standards, an action to separate a faculty member from ongoing academic responsibilities prior to demonstration of stated cause in an appropriate proceeding is deemed a suspension, and a suspension that is not followed by either reinstatement or the opportunity for a hearing is considered a summary dismissal in violation of academic due process. The AAUP does not regard continuation of salary as having any bearing on these positions. Although the administration took the position that the action taken against the lecturer was neither a suspension nor a dismissal, the chancellor’s announcement that “she will not teach at our university going forward because of [her] inappropriate behavior” left little doubt as to its actual nature. Thus, the investigating committee deemed the action of the UNL administration to be tantamount to a summary dismissal. Although the administration offered the lecturer a grievance process to contest that its action was tantamount to dismissal, it refused to afford her a hearing on the substantive grounds for her dismissal.

The committee found that political pressure on the university was “in some sense…at the very heart of [the case].” State legislators maintained that her conduct toward the student staffing the recruitment table was representative of a campus climate hostile to conservative views and called for her dismissal, and the Nebraska Republican Party filed open records requests for e-mail correspondence related to the case. The investigating committee’s report states that “[t]he conclusion seems inescapable that the basis for [the lecturer’s] dismissal was related to the political content of her speech and thus may have violated her academic freedom, a conclusion that stands unrebutted absent the affordance of a dismissal hearing.”

Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure recommends to the 104th annual meeting that the University of Nebraska–Lincoln be added to the Association’s list of censured administrations.

Removal of Censure

Committee A adopted the following statement recommending removal of Stillman College from the Association’s list of censured administrations. The Council concurred in the statements, and the annual meeting voted its approval.

Stillman College (Alabama). The 2009 report of the investigating committee dealt with the dismissal of a tenured assistant professor toward the end of his twenty-eighth year of service on grounds of his having violated the faculty handbook proscription of “malicious gossip.” The investigating committee concluded that the administration’s dismissal of the professor on the stated grounds violated the academic freedom to which he was entitled under the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure and that the administration, in suspending and then dismissing him, disregarded basic requisites of academic due process as set forth in the 1940 Statement of Principles and the Statement on Procedural Standards in Faculty Dismissal Proceedings. The investigating committee further concluded that the policies and practices of the college administration had “created a climate that is inimical to the exercise of academic freedom.”

With the installation of a new president in 2017, the Stillman College administration responded to the Association staff’s annual inquiry by indicating an interest in resolving the censure. The case of the dismissed faculty member was settled some years ago, and the faculty member is now deceased. The main outstanding issues for the removal of censure therefore concerned institutional regulations. The staff reviewed those regulations and recommended several changes, including the removal of the proscription of “malicious gossip,” in order to bring them into closer conformity with AAUP-supported standards. The administration adopted all of the changes proposed by the staff. In May, a representative of the Tennessee conference visited Stillman College to assess the climate for academic freedom and met with representatives of the newly-formed Faculty Organization and with faculty at an open forum. She reported that “[f]aculty emphasized, and my observations confirmed, that Stillman College is on an upward trajectory with regard to academic freedom and shared governance. The culture at Stillman College is changing and the administration seems committed to continuing these changes.”

Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure recommends to the 104th annual meeting that Stillman College be removed from the Association’s list of censured administrations.

Other Committee Activity

At its October 27–28 meeting, Committee A approved National Security, the Assault on Science, and Academic Freedom. The report, which was endorsed by the Council in November and published online in December, is printed in this issue of the AAUP Bulletin. It documents “troubling threats to academic freedom in the physical and natural sciences in two different areas. In the area of international scientific exchange, Chinese or Chinese American scientists have been targeted and charged with espionage. The second area, the field of climate science, has been subjected to vicious attempts to discredit its validity, which have intensified significantly since Donald Trump took office.” If you have not yet read this timely report, I urge you to do so. I want to thank the other members of the subcommittee that prepared the report for their work—Joan Wallach Scott and Michael E. Mann from Committee A and Temple University physicist Xiaoxing Xi, himself a target of an unfounded national security investigation.

At its June 1–2 meeting the committee successfully concluded its long discussion—extending over multiple meetings—of Regulation 13 (“Part-Time Faculty Appointments”) of the Recommended Institutional Regulations on Academic Freedom and Tenure (RIR), about which I have previously reported. I am pleased to report that the committee agreed to streamline the language of that regulation and to make other changes elsewhere in the RIR that together provide greater clarity to what has always been the Association’s policy on the rights of part-time faculty members, namely that—as new language added to the regulations makes clear—”There should be no invidious distinctions between those who teach and conduct research in higher education, regardless of whether they hold full-time or part-time appointments or whether their appointments are tenured, tenure-track, or contingent. All faculty members should have access to the same due-process protections and procedures.” Because these changes confirmed rather than altered existing AAUP policy, Council approval was not necessary. However, we feel strongly that these clarifications will facilitate assistance to part-time faculty members facing challenges to their academic freedom or job security. Committee A member Don Eron deserves special thanks for his outstanding and persistent work on this issue. Don will be offering a session at the Summer Institute on the rights of contingent faculty members that will provide advice on how this regulation may best be utilized by activists.

At its June meeting the committee also discussed two troubling developments related to the academic boycott of Israel. The committee continues to oppose all academic boycotts, including such a boycott of Israel, as inconsistent with principles of academic freedom. At the same time, however, we defend the right of faculty members to advocate such a boycott. In that light we were deeply troubled by the action of the state of Israel in denying entry to Columbia University law professor Katherine Franke. When Professor Franke sought to visit Israel solely on academic business, Israeli officials denied her entry because of her alleged advocacy of a boycott, apparently determined by her listing on a notorious blacklist. A Committee A subcommittee is in process of preparing a letter to the Israeli government indicating our concern and pointing out that this action undermines the efforts of those who seek to oppose academic boycotts, since it would appear that the Israeli government has in this case imposed its own academic boycott.

In a similar vein, the committee discussed legislation in as many as seventeen states criminalizing support for the BDS movement. As a result, some public universities in those states have begun to ask that external speakers invited to campus and others who contract with these universities, such as external reviewers of tenure and promotion materials, sign a statement pledging that they do not now, nor will they in the future, endorse BDS. Specifically, we are deeply alarmed by reports that Arizona State University and the University of Houston require speakers and other academics to certify that they are not involved with the BDS movement and that the University of Houston has even extended the requirement to its own faculty and students. A subcommittee is currently preparing a statement opposing such practices that will be released this summer.

This spring executive director Julie Schmid, on the recommendation of the staff committee on investigations, approved an academic freedom investigation at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas. Two tenured associate professors, who happen to be husband and wife and who were instrumental in founding an AAUP chapter, had their appointments terminated—allegedly for “unprofessional and disruptive behavior,” but really, they charge, for having questioned the administration’s efforts to exert control over their department. An investigating committee has been appointed, a visit has been scheduled, and we look forward to receiving its report in the fall.

Throughout the year, the Committee A staff has been reporting to the committee about developments at institutions on the list of censured administrations. Given positive movement at several of these institutions, the staff and the committee are optimistic that Committee A will be bringing before next year’s annual meeting several recommendations for removal.

Finally, I want to mention that the committee heard reports on the growing and horrific trend of targeted online harassment, against which the Association has been campaigning; on the Committee on Government Relations’ recent report on so-called “free speech” legislation, which I commend to you; on the April global congress of Scholars at Risk, which the AAUP Foundation supported financially and which executive director Julie Schmid attended; and on the situation at European University of St. Petersburg, which I visited this spring courtesy the U.S. State Department to speak about academic freedom and the work of the AAUP. The committee also in June discussed at great length a thought-provoking memorandum from staff member Joerg Tiede on the history of the AAUP’s support for extramural expression as a key element of academic freedom.

Conclusion

A year ago I reported on the addition of Cheryle Adams to the AAUP staff as program coordinator in the Department of Academic Freedom, Tenure, and Governance. While Cheryle, unfortunately, accepted a position elsewhere earlier this year, I am happy to report that long-time AAUP staff member Debra Hanible has stepped into this gap on a part-time basis with enthusiasm and her usual diligence. Debra organized our successful June meeting with grace and aplomb, and we look forward to working with her in this new role.

Lastly, I want to thank the members of Committee A for their tireless work on behalf of the principles of academic freedom, our profession, and the AAUP. I would also like to thank the members of the Department of Academic Freedom, Tenure, and Governance, as well as other members of our devoted and hard-working national staff, for their support of the committee and for their tireless efforts on behalf of academic freedom, shared governance, and the common good throughout higher education.

HENRY REICHMAN (History), chair
California State University, East Bay


=========================================


AAUP Committees
AAUP standing committees work on a variety of topics of importance to higher education and to faculty. Special committees are occasionally appointed to address a specific issue. The president of the Association serves as an ex officio member of all committees.
A description of each standing committee follows, along with a list of committee members. Members are appointed to committees by the president of the Association. The date of appointment expiration is given after each name. Members of the national AAUP staff are assigned to assist the committees in their work. The Constitution provides that the president shall be ex officio a member of all committees.

Academic Freedom and Tenure (Committee A)
Promotes principles of academic freedom, tenure, and due process in higher education through the development of policy documents and reports relating to these subjects and the application of those principles to particular situations that are brought to its attention. The staff is authorized to receive, on behalf of the committee, complaints of departures from these standards and, where appropriate, to undertake formal investigations. Such investigations may lead to a recommendation from the committee to the Association’s national council and annual meeting that the administration of an institution be censured for failure to adhere to the principles of academic freedom and tenure as endorsed by the AAUP and hundreds of other professional and educational organizations. Read Committee A reports or investigative reports.

Committee A Members
Henry Reichman (History) California State University, East Bay, chair, 2018
Michael F. Bérubé (English) Pennsylvania State University, 2018
Don M. Eron (Writing and Rhetoric) University of Colorado Boulder, 2018
Jeffrey R. Halpern (Anthropology) Rider University, 2018
Marjorie Heins (Communications) New York, NY, 2018
Ibram X. Kendi (History and International Relations) American University, 2020
Michael E. Mann (Meteorology) Pennsylvania State University, 2018
Walter Benn Michaels (English) University of Illinois at Chicago, 2019
Debra Nails (Philosophy) Michigan State University, 2018
Robert C. Post (Law) Yale Law School, 2020
Joan Wallach Scott (History) Institute for Advanced Study, 2019
Donna Young (Law) Albany Law School, 2018
Risa L. Lieberwitz (Law), ex officio as general counsel Cornell University, 2018
Julie M. Schmid, ex officio as executive director 
Irene T. Mulvey (Mathematics) Fairfield University, liaison from the Assembly of State Conferences, 2018
Gregory F. Scholtz, staff



===============================================================



AAUP Statement on Academic Boycotts

On Friday, May 10, 2013 this AAUP issued the statement below.

The recent decision by noted physicist Stephen Hawking to call off plans to attend a major conference in Israel out of deference to an academic boycott advocated by some pro-Palestinian groups and the vote in late April by the membership of the Association for Asian American Studies to endorse such a boycott have again raised the issue of whether such boycotts violate the principles of academic freedom.

The American Association of University Professors, as an organization, neither supports nor opposes Israeli government or Palestinian policies, although many of our members certainly have strong beliefs on one side or the other.  However, the AAUP does stand in opposition to academic boycotts as a matter of principle.  Our position was fully enunciated in the 2005 report of Committee A, "On Academic Boycotts."  This report established the following principles:

  1. In view of the Association’s long-standing commitment to the free exchange of ideas, we oppose academic boycotts.
  2. On the same grounds, we recommend that other academic associations oppose academic boycotts. We urge that they seek alternative means, less inimical to the principle of academic freedom, to pursue their concerns.
  3. We especially oppose selective academic boycotts that entail an ideological litmus test. We understand that such selective boycotts may be intended to preserve academic exchange with those more open to the views of boycott proponents, but we cannot endorse the use of political or religious views as a test of eligibility for participation in the academic community.
  4. The Association recognizes the right of individual faculty members or groups of academics not to cooperate with other individual faculty members or academic institutions with whom or with which they disagree. We believe, however, that when such noncooperation takes the form of a systematic academic boycott, it threatens the principles of free expression and communication on which we collectively depend.
  5. Consistent with our long-standing principles and practice, we consider other forms of protest, such as the adoption of resolutions of condemnation by higher education groups intended to publicize documented threats to or violations of academic freedom at offending institutions, to be entirely appropriate.
  6. Recognizing the existence of shared concerns, higher education groups should collaborate as fully as possible with each other to advance the interests of the entire academic community in addressing academic freedom issues. Such collaboration might include joint statements to bring to the attention of the academic community and the public at large grave threats to academic freedom.
  7. The Association recognizes the right of faculty members to conduct economic strikes and to urge others to support their cause. We believe, however, that in each instance those engaged in a strike at an academic institution should seek to minimize the impact of the strike on academic freedom.
  8. We understand that threats to or infringements of academic freedom may occasionally seem so dire as to require compromising basic precepts of academic freedom, but we resist the argument that extraordinary circumstances should be the basis for limiting our fundamental commitment to the free exchange of ideas and their free expression.

In light of these principles the AAUP recognizes the right of individual scholars, including Prof. Hawking, to act in accordance with their own personal consciences.  No scholar should be required to participate in any academic activity that violates his or her own principles.  In addition, faculty members have to right to organize for or against economic boycotts, divestment, or other forms of sanction.  However, an organized academic boycott is a different matter and we are disappointed by the resolution of the Association for Asian American Studies and would instead urge that organization and its members to find other means to register their opposition to Israeli policies.

Publication Date: 

Friday, May 10, 2013
=====================================================

Opinion
Israel Banishes a Columbia Law Professor for Thinking Differently
By Roger Cohen
Opinion Columnist

May 4, 2018

This is a column about Israel’s appalling treatment of a Columbia University professor, Katherine Franke, detained for 14 hours at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv and then deported, but before I get to that a few observations about the incandescent situation in Israel-Palestine. President Trump’s gift for unleashing the worst in people has found no more fertile ground than the Holy Land.

I wrote three months ago that it’s time for Mahmoud Abbas to go; it’s still time. The Palestinian leader has now veered into anti-Semitic tropes worthy of a beer hall in late 1930s Berlin. Jews as usurers is not the stuff on which a state of Palestine will be built.

The Trump administration’s foray into the Israeli-Palestinian imbroglio, set to culminate May 14 with the opening of the United States Embassy in Jerusalem but yet to yield a plan, has been a fiasco. America’s embrace of Israel has been so total that the term “occupied territories” tends to be discouraged in official references to the West Bank. Greater Israel is O.K. in the White House.

Abbas is a bitter old man. He has no feel for the struggle of young Palestinians, like those demonstrating along the Gaza border in marches organized by Hamas. More than 40 Palestinians have been killed, shot by Israeli snipers over the past month. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that the United States is “fully supportive” of Israelis’ “right to defend themselves.” Yes, Israel has that right, but not the right to use lethal force against mainly unarmed Palestinian civilians, who also have rights, including to liberty and opportunity.

Here is where we return to Katherine Franke, who is a Columbia Law School professor and was co-heading a delegation of American civil rights leaders when she was detained last Sunday, interrogated, accused of lying, and, upon expulsion, told she could never return.

Israel displays such high-handedness in part because it has carte blanche from the Trump administration to do what it will: view the West Bank as Israel proper, overreact at the Gaza fence, pass a 2017 law banning boycott supporters from the country. Habits of violent intolerance absorbed through a 50-year exercise in policing the lives of others no longer meet any semblance of American censure. Unbridled, Israel lurches rightward.

Franke told me: “They were not interested in why I was there. They already had a story. I was a leader of Jewish Voice for Peace. I was there to promote the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement — all this untrue. It quickly ramped up to where the guy was yelling at me for lying. He Googled my name and came up with right-wing trolling sites like Canary Mission or AMCHA that push out ugly stuff about faculty held to be enemies of Israel.” How is it, Franke asked, that “Israel delegates to right-wing trolls the job of determining who should be admitted to Israel?”

Franke has visited Israel a half-dozen times before. She supervises dissertations by graduate students there. She had meetings scheduled with civil rights advocates. She has worked on the Academic Advisory Council of Jewish Voice for Peace and generally she supports its aims but is not a leader of it. A critic of Israel’s human rights record, she has boycotted conferences paid for by the Israeli government, but has participated in other academic conferences in Israel. Faculty members at Tel Aviv University and Hebrew University have told her they are going to write to express their outrage.

In other words, she’s the kind of tough critic a free and democratic society should welcome. Any healthy society is defined by its ability to accommodate civilized debate, not by cries of “traitor” directed at dissenters. Sending her and Vincent Warren, the executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, back to America was a measure of how far Israeli political culture has closed.

Franke told me the reaction from Columbia had been “disappointing.” Although she informed the law school dean and the provost of her detention, no one asked whether she got out the country safely, and no statement was issued from the university. The law school dean’s chief of staff informed her, she told me, that “because there are pro-Israeli centers at the law school” the school “would not get involved in defending” her.

When I contacted Columbia, Lee Bollinger, the President, sent this statement to me: “I think it is wrong for a country to deny entry to a visitor because of his or her political beliefs. I strongly disagree with the idea of boycotting Israeli academics and institutions …but I also think that the government of Israel should not deny academics or others access to the country simply because they hold and express that viewpoint. The future of academic freedom is best secured through exchange of people and ideas, not by establishing barriers.”

Bollinger was in Israel just before Franke. Columbia is in preliminary talks to establish a Global Center in Tel Aviv. It has opened others in Istanbul, Amman and Mumbai, among other locations. The Tel Aviv project should hinge on Israel’s commitment to the open “exchange of people and ideas,” and its rejection of the nationalist intolerance Franke encountered and that Trump’s carte blanche has encouraged.


===========================================================


FEB 29
The Case for Academic Boycott: a panel conversation with Nadia Abu El-Haj, Katherine Franke, and Neferti Tadiar
Public · Hosted by Columbia/Barnard Jewish Voice for Peace and Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine
Monday, 29 February 2016 at 18:30 EST
304 Held Auditorium, Barnard Hall
80 went · 84 interested
Details
Join Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine and Barnard/Columbia Jewish Voice for Peace for our first event of Israeli Apartheid Week 2016 as we discuss the case for the Academic Boycott of Israel. 

The call for Academic boycott is situated within the BDS movement and recognizes the role that academic institutions and representatives play in upholding Israel as a colonial and apartheid power and often are directly complicit in the violation of Palestinian human rights. Historically, the international community of scholars and intellectuals who have shouldered the moral responsibility to fight injustice have played a crucial role in putting and end to the South Africa apartheid regime. Academic institutional collaboration implicates Columbia University in support of Israeli military projects and the occupation. Come learn about why we believe it is our ethical responsibility to push for academic boycott on Columbia’s campus! 

Panelists: 
Katherine Franke is the Sulzbacher Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, where she also directs the Center for Gender & Sexuality Law and is the faculty director of the Public Rights/Private Conscience Project. She is among the nation's leading scholars writing on law, religion and rights, drawing from feminist, queer, and critical race theory. Her most recent book, Wedlocked: The Perils of Marriage Equality (NYU Press 2015), considers the costs of winning marriage rights for same sex couples today and for African Americans at the end of the Civil War. In addition to her work at Columbia she works regularly in Palestine, most recently serving as an academic mentor for the human rights faculty at Al Quds University. She also chairs the Board of Directors of the Center for Constitutional Rights, based in New York City.

Nadia Abu El-Haj is professor in the Departments of Anthropology at Barnard College and Columbia University, and Co-Director of the Center for Palestine Studies. She is the author of Facts on the Ground: Archaeological Practice and Territorial Self-Fashioning in Israeli Society (2001), and The Genealogical Science: The Search for Jewish Origins and the Politics of Epistemology (2012), both published by the University of Chicago Press.

Neferti Tadiar is a professor in the Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Barnard College, and the Director of the Program in American Studies. Professor Tadiar's work examines the role of cultural practice and social imagination in the production of wealth, power, marginality, and liberatory movements in the context of global relations. She is the author of Things Fall Away: Philippine Historical Experience and the Makings of Globalization (2009) and Fantasy-Production: Sexual Economies and Other Philippine Consequences for the New World Order (2004), which was awarded the Philippine National Book Award in Cultural Criticism for 2005. Tadiar is also the Co-Editor of the international cultural studies journal, Social Text. 

Cosponsored with No Red Tape
Check out the full lineup of events from Monday 2/29- Saturday 3/5 for #IsraeliApartheidWeek2016 here


=========================================================


Columbia prof Katherine Franke joins academic boycott of Israel and will not speak at the Equality Forum

In a statement and video published on the Gender and Sexuality Law Blog of Columbia Law School, Professor Katherine Franke has made a very public declaration of solidarity with Palestinians and support for the Palestinian call for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions on Israel.

Specifically, she is boycotting Equality Forum happening now in Philadelphia where she was scheduled to speak. This annual conference chooses a nation to highlight and discuss its culture and policies toward LGBTQ individuals. This year’s selected country is Israel. Michael Oren is the keynote speaker.

Professor Katherine Franke, Director, Columbia Center for Gender & Sexuality Law, Joins Academic Boycott of Israeli-Government Sponsored Conference

New York, May 4, 2012—Responding to the call from a wide coalition of Palestinian civil society organizations and joining more than 700 U.S. academics who support a boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions, Katherine Franke will boycott the annual Global LGBT Summit, organized by the Equality Forum in Philadelphia, at which she is scheduled to speak today. Instead, she has recorded a video explaining her decision to boycott the summit, and asked that it be shown in lieu of her attendance. Her video statement will be available here at 4 p.m. EDT today. A transcript of her remarks are here.

“To uncritically celebrate Israel at a conference organized around notions of equality and liberty, and have Michael Oren, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, serve as the keynote speaker at the ‘international equality dinner,’ is taken as a slap in the face by our queer brothers and sisters in Palestine as well as by the queers within Israel who are actively seeking a just resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” said Franke. “By avoiding any programming that offered a balanced view of the human rights record of its ‘featured nation,’ the Equality Forum lost an important opportunity to be a leader in the international gay human rights movement, and instead allowed itself to be used as a part of Israel’s larger efforts to deflect criticisms of its human rights record.”

Franke, along with Columbia Professor Kendall Thomas, was a member of a first delegation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer academics—together with artists and community leaders—who traveled to Israel-Palestine this past January to learn firsthand how the struggles for sexual rights are being worked out as part of the larger Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “Our trip convinced us that we have a responsibility to share with our U.S.-based LGBTQ communities what we saw and heard so that we can do more together to end the occupation,” said Franke.

Rabbi Rebecca Alpert who was scheduled to speak on a panel about religion, and Pauline Park, who was also a member of the January delegation and was slated to speak on transgender rights, have also decided to boycott the Equality Forum’s global summit this year due to its selection of Israel as its “featured nation.”

In her statement, Franke highlights “Palestinian Queers for BDS” for organizing solidarity from LGBTQ communities internationally.

While it may seem natural for gays to side with Israel, after all they have such good gay rights laws, this support reflects a major weakness of so many human rights movements that tend to prioritize their own struggles without considering the ways in which all forms of discrimination are linked. In Israel/Palestine gay rights and human rights more broadly are necessarily connected to one another, and treating one domestic minority well does not excuse or diminish the immorality of the state’s other rights-abridging policies. Had South Africa enacted good gay rights laws during the Apartheid era no one would have seen that as excusing their treatment of black and colored people. For this reason I have chosen to honor PQBDS’s request that we boycott the Equality Forum.



Back to "Boycott Calls Against Israel"Send Response
Top Page
    Developed by Sitebank & Powered by Blueweb Internet Services
    Visitors: 217938932Send to FriendAdd To FavoritesMake It HomepagePrint version
    blueweb