Postscript to Harriet Sherwood’s ASA boycott story: Major BDS FAIL!


Though Guardian Jerusalem correspondent Harriet Sherwood consistently either ignores or plays down Palestinian terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens, she rarely misses an opportunity to provide free PR for even the most marginal BDS and delegitimization campaigns targeting the Jewish State. Indeed, in December she of course found time to write an 800 word feature on a largely symbolic boycott resolution by a small number of American academics.

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In attempting to impute significance to the motion, Sherwood wrote the following:

A prestigious US academic body has joined a growing movement to boycott Israel in protest at its treatment of Palestinians, in a move both welcomed and condemned in a bitterly divisive international arena…The American Studies Association (ASA), which has more than 5,000 members, is the most significant US academic organisation to back a boycott of Israeli educational institutions following a two-thirds majority vote.

Sherwood further contextualized the boycott motion as a victory amid the ongoing “international boycott drive against Israel”.

However, days before the ASA boycott vote was even cast, a more sober assessment on the potential anti-Israel resolution was published at this blog.  

In his CiF Watch guest post on Dec 15, Jon (from the blog DivestThis!) argued that the ASA was setting itself up for failure, and that if the vote was to pass, “it will be a vote of an organization that has discredited itself, even before the rest of the academy marginalizes them still further by pointing out that…an academic boycott is the opposite of academic freedom“.

Then, following the vote, an interesting thing occurred: A remarkably large segment of American academia indeed took steps to marginalize the ASA and stand up for the principles of academic freedom threatened by the boycott resolution.

Thanks in part to the dogged efforts of tireless activists such as William A. Jacobson, the following is a current list (per Avi Mayer) of institutions whose presidents or chancellors have publicly rejected the ASA’s academic boycott of Israel:

Additionally, the following institutions’ American Studies programs have formally withdrawn their membership in the American Studies Association (ASA) following their boycott vote:

One of the most eloquent denunciations of the boycott was issued by the President and Dean of Faculty of Trinity College in Connecticut:

To The Immediate Attention of the President of the American Studies Association:

Our Dean of the Faculty, Thomas Mitzel, and I wish to go on record renouncing the boycott of Israel on the part of the ASA.

Trinity once years back was an institutional member (we were then advertising for an open position), and apparently some members of our faculty are individual members. Were we still an institutional member, we would not be any longer after the misguided and unprincipled announcement of the boycott of the only democracy in the Middle East. The Dean and I oppose academic boycotts in general because they can so easily encroach upon academic freedom.

In this strange case, why the ASA would propose an academic boycott of Israel and not, for example, of Syria, the Sudan, North Korea, China, Iran, Iraq, or Russia escapes rational thought. Trinity has participated in the Rescue Scholar program since its inception; we have welcomed scholars from some of the most repressive countries on the planet, and it is inconceivable to us that we would ever be welcoming a Rescue Scholar fleeing Israel for political reasons.

As President of the ASA, you have tarnished a once distinguished association.

Moreover, there doesn’t seem to be a single university or major academic group in the U.S. supporting the boycott.  Indeed, anyway you parse it, if the goal of the ASA – and its anti-Zionist supporters – was to create momentum for the boycott movement, they’ve clearly failed miserably at their task.  

You can chalk this up as yet another major BDS Fail.

44 comments on “Postscript to Harriet Sherwood’s ASA boycott story: Major BDS FAIL!

  1. ” campaigns targeting the Jewish State ”

    Whilst you are of course free to call Israel “the Jewish state” you must see that calling it this in the context of her being criticised seems to be . attempting to lock any debate into a debate about anti Semitism. There is no need for such tactics ..if the boycott is wrong it is wrong on moral grounds not semantics.

    Posters here often scoff when complaints are made about equating criticism of Israel with anti Semitism…and yet here we are..

    • Oh sure Website and it’s just a coincidence that the only country against whom there is such a boycott just happens to be the only state with a Jewish majority in the world.

      • “and it’s just a coincidence ”

        I tink it is believed that Israel is the only state that may have her excesses countered by such a protest. Yes she is Jewish but you are implying anti-Semitism as the motive for protest rather than justice and potential for change. A Christian country which dynamically sits on the toe of a slumbering giant would draw the same level of protest

        The boycott will alienate rather that illuminate and instead we need to talk. However coming here and day after day being called an anti semite for cautioning peace at every turn, makes me wonder if anti Semitism would be invented if it were found that none could be proven, in any discussion.

        • Bull! There are plenty of examples around the world and I don’t need to enumerate them. The ones who voted for the boycott are certainly aware of China’s and Zimbabwe’s “excesses.” In fact, the number of Tibetans killed under Chinese occupation dwarfs that of the Palestinians. Not to mention all the Buddhist temples that the Chinese destroyed. Israel doesn’t have a policy of demolishing mosques.

          The only thing that sets Israel apart from all the other countries in the world as a target for boycott is the fact that it is Jewish and people should understand the motives behind solely targeting Israel.

          As for alienating others. There’s no hope there. Libero-fascist Israel haters look for any angle they can find to bash Israel.

    • Whilst you are of course free to call Israel “the Jewish state…
      Thank you berchmans to allow us calling our country using his name. What a beau geste… giving us the right of self determination.
      …calling it this in the context of her being criticised seems to be . attempting to lock any debate into a debate about anti Semitism.
      Criticizing Israel’s policies is not anti semitism – delegimitizing (as you and the Guardian comrades do) and boycotting it is definitely is.

      • delegimitizing (as you … do)

        What rubbish this is. I applaud the birth of Israel. I condemn the 48 attack on the infant state and I support the right of the Israelis to defend themselves against terror. I appeal for Israelis to move to the 67 lines as does the UN representing 95 % of the worlds population .

        Kindly explain how I delegitimise Israel or apologise please.

        • “Excesses.” Whenever there’s an outbreak of violence, the Palestinians entrench their human shields who inevitably get killed and Israel is accused of “excesses.”

          • ” Whenever there’s an outbreak of violence, the Palestinians entrench their human shields who inevitably get killed ”

            I look at this and wonder if you are wearing a spinning bow tie. When modern munitions are used in a congested urban area children are going to die . Thus to plan to use such weaponry is to plan to kill children .

            To point at the victims and accuse them of living with their families is an odd defence for such extreme measures.

            I am often accused of pontificating and not knowing whats going on and I concede I am swimming. I have never known such supine and servile acceptance of a narrative .

            • This crap of you shows your real support of Israeli self defence,
              Now please General Berchmans advise us what to do?
              The enemy is launching rockets at our civilian population from a densely populated area, from apartment blocks full of civilians. Should we use our swords? Spears? Arrows?
              To point at the victims and accuse them of living with their families…
              Living with them? Not to store rockets and launching them from the the same building where they are living?
              Berchmans berchmans you always were a king size version of a moron now you came out with the turbo version too.

            • Oh, I see and just what do you call firing rockets from hospitals, playgrounds, schools, and mosques? The first duty of ANY country is the protection of its own citizens. Unfortunately, the incredibly gullible like you swallow whatever narrative the Palestinians disseminate.

            • “I have never known such supine and servile acceptance of a narrative .”

              Really? I thought you read the Guardian.

        • I support the right of the Israelis to defend themselves against terror
          Oh yes. The IDF are redesigning buildings, they are the murderers of a wheelchair bound old man, just some examples from your endless support berchmans.
          I appeal for Israelis to move to the 67 lines,,,
          Your appeal has been rejected.
          … as does the UN representing 95 % of the worlds population .
          Yes berchmans the UN. You must be joking.
          95% of the world population …oh yes and representing… better. As you know the majority of the politicians sitting in the UN have been elected to represent somebody… Who? The Chinese? the Syrians? the Saudis? The North Koreans? The Cubans? Is there any upper limit of your sanctimonious idiocy? (No)
          And not 95% of the world population must live with the consequences you know. Their opinion is so irrelevant – you have no idea.
          Apologize? I never apologized from a piece of dogshit after incidentally stepped on it,

          • ,” they are the murderers of a wheelchair bound old man,”

            I support the right of the IDF to pin point and attack rocket launchers. I do not think splattering a paraplegic in a crowded plaza was what the guys who stormed the Golan had in mind for the morality of the IDF that their grandchildren would join

          • 95% of the world’s population are ignorant and don’t give a shit. But even if they did, it’s not their f___ing country.
            Webshit celebrates the Israeli’s right to do as they are told.

        • I see what the problem is. Webshit is mad that Israel will venture off the ’67 borders by a total of 3% whilst (see what I did there?) making up for that 3% of land lost with land regained in a form of land exchange.

          He’s just too smart for us, Guys. I say, we all suddenly convert to Stupidism and stop all this bickering!

          • “.He’s just too smart for us ”

            No I just haven’t lived with my head in a dark place . Your education for an ” advanced “country is the very poorest… so you cannot be blamed for being better at finding new ways to spell “shit”.. rather than being able to assess a situation with any degree of political, moral or philosophical depth.

            • Actually, Webshit, I am aware enough of the news and world around me to have stood up for Yitzhak Rabin’s quest to make peace with even that dastardly piece of shit Arafat. I supported Oslo, and I supported the 2000 Camp David accords. However, I stopped seeing how any conversations with the Palestinians could possibly bring something substantial. See, Arafat died making war and having pilfered $1 billion. It’s not a matter of fooling me once or twice, but rather I can’t take that side for real until they actually admit to the realities of this situation.

              Meanwhile, you sit in a basement all day, posting inane commentary to message chatter boards, finding new ways to complain about Jews, whine about Israel, and declare the idea that you are victim of world Jewry.

              Calling you Shit is an insult to shit, actually. Shit can serve a purpose. For example, cow shit can help make vegetables grow. But you’re a special type of shit. You’re Webshit.

        • UN don;t call to move to the 67 lines. It call to withdraw from territories not the territoires.
          pre-1967 line had only been an armistice line from 1949 and was not a final international border. Indeed, Article 2 of the original 1949 Armistice Agreement between Israel and Jordan clearly stipulated that it did not prejudice the territorial “claims and positions” of the parties since its provisions were “dictated exclusively by military considerations.”
          in 1967, Lord Caradon, clarified what the language of the withdrawal clause meant in an interview published in 1976 in the Journal of Palestine Studies: “We could have said, ‘Well, you go back to the 1967 line.’ But I know the 1967 line, and it’s a rotten line. You couldn’t have a worse line for a permanent international boundary. It’s where the troops happened to be on a certain night in 1948. It’s got no relation to the needs of the situation. Had we said that you must go back to the 1967 line, which would have resulted if we had specified a retreat from all the occupied territories, we would have been wrong.”

    • Webshit,

      While you’re pontificating about everything but the article, maybe you’ve noticed the very long list of universities rejecting the ASA’s stunt (and a minority of ASA members at that!).
      Care to comment?

      • When you lift your game and use appropriate language I will communicate with you respectfully Until then suffice to say I don’t like boycotts I prefer to talk to people even tho here they often tend to dive into piles of poop in mid conversation.

        • If you like to converse maybe you should seek some company matching your, intellect, politics and interests. I suggest you the forumforcomplete idiots.com, the aryan-nation.org and the Facebook pages of this comrade mocking Anne Frank’s memory.

  2. And they have a photo of Stephen Hawking for the article? Right. Like he’s an ASA member. Talk about pulling out all the stops.
    These guys remind one of Arab propagandists during the Six Day War, claiming one victory after another while getting their asses throughly kicked. What a creepy little cult it is.

    • “What a creepy little cult it is.”

      You should be able to argue your corner without denigrating a billion overwhelmingly peaceful people. Last week the phrase “Jewish supremacist site ” was jeered at .

      I wonder if such ridicule was premature?

      • Peaceful? Fantastic. These peaceful people promised to flood the streets of Tel-Aviv with Jewish blood. After getting their asses kicked to smithereens and left their shoes in the desert the really became very peaceful.

      • And here we have it, Folks. Just after all the talk about how Webshit really supports Israel’s right to exist, he goes off the deep end whilst (see what I did there?) designating Zionsim as a form Jewish Supremacy.

        Hold on…. Should we all convert to Stupidism just to stop this bickering?

      • “You should be able to argue your corner without denigrating a billion overwhelmingly peaceful people.”
        Quote?

        What an obtuse comment.

  3. “The American Studies Association (ASA), which has more than 5,000 members, is the most significant US academic organisation to back a boycott of Israeli educational institutions following a two-thirds majority vote.”

    Is that even true? Did over 3,335 members vote for this anti-academic freedom resolution?

      • Of course, Peter, Sherwood is simply trying to give the impression that thousands voted for censorship, oh excuse me, “academic freedom.” She’s doing her job – lying.
        But what is our intrepid Jerusalem correspondent doing reporting on events in the United States? I’m sure she hasn’t run out of terrorists to coddle.

  4. …denigrating a billion overwhelmingly peaceful people.
    A billion? Berchmans thousand of billion if we count the Martians too. But no need to denigrate these “peaceful” bunch of shitheads – they tid it to themselves. And calling them peaceful? Yes berchmans they are peaceful haters of democracy, peace and the Jews.

    • “no need to denigrate these “peaceful” bunch of shitheads ”

      I applaud your honesty and see what a principled discriminator you are . It is helpful to see the depth of venom that exists . You take care .You clearly have a heavy weight on narrow shoulders.

  5. The Guardian article should more accurately be termed propaganda than journalism. What does that say about the Guardian itself?

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