CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Leading scholars and public intellectuals reflect on the social and political forces in contemporary culture that advocate severing ties with Israeli universities in a new volume of essays titled "The Case Against Academic Boycotts of Israel."
Thirty wide-ranging essays provide differing perspectives on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which aims to ban Israeli scholars and universities from the global academic community.
Photo courtesy MLA Members for Scholars' Rights
In the wide-ranging collection, writers from Britain, Israel and the U.S. provide diverse perspectives on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which seeks to pressure Israel to create a state with a Palestinian majority. The book examines the movement's repercussions on discourse and political life in academia.
English professors Cary Nelson of the University of Illinois and Gabriel Noah Brahm of Northern Michigan University co-edited the book of 30 critical essays, which include explorations of the origins of the BDS movement and prominent academic institutions' and organizations' responses to it. Authors also discuss the history of Israel, the experiences of a faculty member teaching there, and concepts such as academic freedom and anti-Semitism.
Additionally, the volume provides a listing of online resources and Web-based communities with differing perspectives.
According to Nelson, who contributed two chapters, co-wrote a third and wrote the introduction, the book is intended as a resource for people seeking informed analysis and historical and political context on the movement.
"There is no one place to go to find the most relevant information that should inform contemporary discussion," said Nelson, who is an emeritus faculty member and the Jubilee Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Illinois. "We offer this book to bring reason, history and sound information to campuses confronting the BDS agenda."
Nelson is a past president of the American Association of University Professors and a current co-chair of The Academic Advisory Council of the Third Narrative, a group of scholars promoting peaceful solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The book was published by MLA Members for Scholars' Rights, a voluntary organization supporting academic freedom, and is distributed by Wayne State University Press.