Get unlimited digital access to baltimoresun.com. $0.99 for 4 weeks.
News Opinion Readers Respond

Boycott the boycotters [Letter]

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is a pernicious undertaking that frequently targets academic organizations pressuring them to boycott and condemn Israel.

Recently, as The Sun's editorial reports ("A chilling effect," March 10), the BDS campaign has found its way into Maryland via the University of Maryland Baltimore County and its relationship with the American Studies Association.

This ASA boycott unfairly punishes Israeli institutions and scholars for a political conflict that is out of their control and has been condemned by over 200 colleges and universities. In fact, the ASA's actions have been denounced by educational and political leaders worldwide as anti-Semitic and hostile to the concept of academic freedom.

Yet while some universities have withdrawn their membership in the ASA and despite the school's release of a public statement criticizing the ASA, UMBC's Department of American Studies has refused to withdraw from the ASA. As a public university, UMBC is using taxpayer funds to support the ASA in the form of membership fees and related travel expenses.

The bill before the legislature is not aimed at stifling debate or curtailing speech. It rather simply states that if Maryland has a Declaration of Cooperation with another country (any country, not just Israel), our public institutions of higher education may not use public funds to pay for membership, travel, expenses or reimbursement to organizations boycotting academia in that country.

Importantly, individual freedoms are explicitly protected in the legislation. But taxpayer dollars should not be used for religious, racial or ethnic discrimination.

Maryland and its academic institutions need to take a strong stand against the BDS movement. It needs to boycott the boycotters.

Abe Novick

The writer is a featured blogger with The Jerusalem Post.

-
To respond to this letter, send an email to talkback@baltimoresun.com. Please include your name and contact information.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Palestinians have more to answer for at the ICC than Israel
    Palestinians have more to answer for at the ICC than Israel

    I must respond to your recent report that the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has launched a preliminary probe into alleged Israeli war crimes in the Palestinian territories ("International Criminal Court opens probe into possible war crimes in Palestinian territories," Jan. 17).

  • Anti-Semitism on the rise in Europe
    Anti-Semitism on the rise in Europe

    The European Union just recently declared that Hamas is no longer going to be listed as a terrorist state? The majority of the United Nations member nations now also want Israel to be investigated for Geneva Code violations? What is going on, and has the European Union now gone out of their...

  • Israel's actions in Gaza were self-defense
    Israel's actions in Gaza were self-defense

    In condemning Israel for finally taking action to counter terrorist and rocket attacks, Ray Gordon ignores the history of the last nine years of the conflict between Hamas and Israel ("Hold Israel accountable for war crimes," Dec. 23). After Israel voluntarily withdrew from Gaza without any...

  • Hold Israel accountable for war crimes
    Hold Israel accountable for war crimes

    The Sun editorial, "Horror in Peshawar" (Dec.16), describes the Taliban attack in Pakistan that left 140 children dead and states, "What happened there can only be described as an atrocity committed by murderous criminals." Why didn't The Sun equally condemn the actions of Israel, which...

  • Jewish homeland bill would erode Israeli democracy
    Jewish homeland bill would erode Israeli democracy

    I was stunned to read that Israeli lawmakers had approved a Jewish "homeland" bill ("Israel's Jewish homeland proposal could further heighten tension," Nov. 23).

  • Israel's reaction to Jerusalem killings is measured, Palestinians' is disgraceful
    Israel's reaction to Jerusalem killings is measured, Palestinians' is disgraceful

    The Sun's editorial, "Tragedy in Jerusalem" (Nov. 20) about the murders of four rabbis and a policeman by Palestinian terrorists starts well: "This was an act of pure nihilism and murderous hatred that deserves the world's unequivocal condemnation and scorn..." But then comes "that said," and...

  • Sun hits a moral low in editorial on Jerusalem attack
    Sun hits a moral low in editorial on Jerusalem attack

    The recent editorial in The Sun regarding the attack in Jerusalem set a new low in moral equivalency ("Tragedy in Jerusalem," Nov. 20). The editorial board spent all of two sentences stating that there is no justification for such an attack and then went on to explain how both sides have been...

  • No statehood for murderers
    No statehood for murderers

    The cold-blooded and planned murder of four rabbis, three American and one British, in West Jerusalem by Palestinian Arabs was celebrated both in Gaza and the West Bank ("Tragedy in Jerusalem," Nov. 19). This demonstrates that there can be no permanent nor true peace between Israelis and...

Comments
Loading