George Orwell remarked in 1984 that “if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.” Orwell’s aphorism describes the strategy of today’s proponents of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement on college campuses against Israel. They see their movement as a way of protesting Israel’s alleged mistreatment of Palestinians, its efforts to defend itself in a dangerous neighborhood and its purported colonialism. Yet their rhetoric corrupts the language of human rights and expropriates the words historically used to demean the Jew, focusing instead on the Jewish state. The strategy, as Rabbi Jonathan Sacks has stated, is to accuse “Israel of the five cardinal post-Holocaust sins: racism, apartheid, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and attempted genocide.”
AEN in the News
(JNS.org) A newly formed network of academics will work to support Israel and oppose the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against the Jewish state on American college campuses.
Launched this week, the Academic Engagement Network (AEN) says its group of faculty members and administrators will “anticipate and address anti-Israel and anti-Semitic activities as they arise, counteract the BDS movement, and maintain constructive ties with those on other campuses who are confronting similar challenges.” Additionally, AEN members intend to facilitate “reasoned discourse about Israel on campuses, while protecting and nurturing the exercise of academic freedom and freedom of expression.”
The phrase “connect the dots” originally referred to a children’s game in which a bigger picture was revealed by drawing lines among the points. In adult lingo it became a metaphor for teasing out salient relationships often overlooked by the less subtle. The boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, moving to integrate itself with nearly every progressive campus cause, has put the metaphor on steroids.
NEW YORK – Enlisting faculty members at American colleges and universities as allies in the fraught battle against the BDS…
There is a clear line between non-violent protest and planned disruption of university academic events.
At a recent Israel Institute seminar at the Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, Palestinian Solidarity Committee (PSC) members purposefully crossed that line. They invaded the event, refusing either to sit and listen or to leave, confronted audience members, and shouted slogans, “Free Palestine,” and “Long Live the Intifada.” They blocked the lecturer to deliver their own view of the talk before it began and also demeaned the speaker. They justified their action as an “intervention.” Now, on the basis of a doctored video of the event, these same students are cynically pressing charges against the faculty member, Ami Pedahzur, head of the Israel Institute, for responding to their provocation.