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Friday, June 10, 2016

Israel Boycott Has Staying Power

Israel Boycott Has Staying Power

By Steven Salaita   June 08, 2016

The American Anthropological Association resolution pledging to honor the academic boycott of Israel just lost a membership vote by 2,423 to 2,384. The closeness of the tally illustrates how acutely the issue divides scholars inside and beyond the United States. It is also clear that academic boycott, and the broader boycott, divestment, and sanctions, or BDS, movement, is now established on campuses.

Even though the resolution won’t go into effect, in November its organizers persuaded 88 percent of voting members at the business meeting of one of the world’s larger scholarly organizations to formally consider boycotting Israeli academic institutions. Then they achieved a virtual tie in the actual referendum. An unprecedented 51 percent of AAA members participated. Academic boycott, even the possibility of it, compels us to pay closer attention to things we might otherwise find tangential to our daily lives. That’s a good thing.

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