Indiana Stands Up
Evidence continues to amass that 2013 was the year the left went a step too far.
Along with near-universal defiance of ObamaCare's various "mandates" and the belated but effective blowback against the gay thought police occasioned by Phil Robertson's GQ homily, we now have Indiana University cutting ties with the American Studies Association (ASA) over the organization's submission to anti-Semitic BDS policies.
On Monday, December 23rd, university president Michael McRobbie announced IU's immediate withdrawal from the ASA over the organization's announcement of an academic boycott against Israel.
The ASA's announcement was yet another step in mainstreaming the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions movement, an effort to rally international support for Palestinian demands against the Israeli government. Lofty in rhetoric but sleazy in execution, the BDS movement attempts to reduce Israel, a Western democracy in the classic European mold, to the level of the former authoritarian South African apartheid regime. The movement follows a blueprint set down by Palestinian activists, strongly suggesting that the ASA has allowed itself to be weaponized by the Palestinians for use in their lengthy war against the existence of the Jewish State.
Ironies in this situation are myriad. Perhaps the most stinging is the fact that the direct target in this case, Israeli higher education, is the center of intellectual leftist opposition to the government, particularly as regards its Palestinian policies.
In rejecting the ASA, President McRobbie took the stance that BDS is a serious blow to academic freedoms:
Boycotts such as these have a profound chilling effect on academic freedom, and universities must be clear and unequivocal in rejecting them. Indiana University strongly endorses the recent statement on this matter by the Association of American Universities and the long-standing position in this area of the American Association of University Professors.
Indiana University values its academic relationships with colleagues and institutions around the world, including many important ones with institutions in Israel, and will not allow political considerations such as those behind this ill-conceived boycott to weaken those relationships or undermine the principle of academic freedom in this way. IU stands firmly against proposals that would attempt to limit or restrict those important institutional relationships or this fundamental principle.
IU and McRobbie must be applauded. Such an action is nearly unheard of from a university, particularly a state institution. (We should also admire the effective tactic of announcing the move just before Christmas, followed by two weeks of winter break when the campus will be effectively empty.) Other universities should heed McRobbie's call and join Indiana in standing up for academic freedom and the values of the West.