Amid calls for boycotts of Israeli products, institutions and the many minds behind them, and with increasing instances of American academics and writers being muzzled, a new initiative seeks to introduce some intellectual and moral clarity.
As reported by the JTA and other outlets, and sponsored by the progressive Zionist group Ameinu, 50 North American academics have signed on to form the Academic Advisory Council, opposing academic boycotts and promoting efforts to reach an Israeli-Palestinian two-state solution. The council will advise the Third Narrative project, an already-launched web-based forum to discuss a progressive approach to Israel/Palestine.
I am one of the 50 academics on the advisory council. (Disclosure: I also sit on the board of Ameinu.) I am aware that the link between opposing academic boycotts and pushing for a two-state solution is no longer universally self-evident. In examining the space between the two positions, though, some deeper insights about this tragic conflict are revealed.
In short, the council’s mandate spans a principled view over both scholarly process and political outcome. How do we, as scholars, think it appropriate to ply our public trade? And which policy outcomes to the Israel/Palestinian conundrum do we think are best?