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  • The Case Against Academic Boycotts of Israel ed. by Cary Nelson and Noah Gabriel Brahm
  • David B. Levy
Cary Nelson and Noah Gabriel Brahm (Editors). The Case Against Academic Boycotts of Israel. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 2015. 550 pp. Paperback: $27.95. ISBN: 978-0-9903316-0-5

When the state of Israel was declared on May 15, 1948, she was invaded by six Arab armies who tried to destroy her. Following their failure, the Arab league tried to destroy Israel economically. They declared an economic and political boycott of the new born Jewish State. While Egypt and Jordan have since signed peace treaties with Israel, other Arabs states and the Palestinians have yet to make peace with the idea of Israel’s existence. Israel is still subject to military attack from time to time. Economic war against her has similarly continued on and off since 1948.

Ten years ago, on July 9, 2005, a collection of 170 Palestinian activists and organizations decided to pick up where the Arab League boycott left off and launched a call for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) from Israel.

The book shows that BDS is not only about economic boycotts. BDS’s agenda in the long hall is an attempt to erase 1948 Israeli Independence from history, marking the end of an Israeli state.

The book makes a positive contribution by exposing aims of the movement to boycott, divest from, or sanction Israel. Books by Babbin (2014), Pollack (2011), Chesler (2003), Foxman (2003), and Gerstenfeld (2007) and articles by Bensoussan-Burstein (2014, 2015), Fishman (2011), and Sher (2014) also defend Israel from acrimonious BDS attacks of what is called the “new anti-Semitism.” However, this book uniquely outlines and raises a balanced case against the BDS movement. It provides 34 scholarly essays by an international group of distinguished scholars from the United States, Britain, and Israel in 500 plus pages that analyze, debunk, and critique the Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions (BDS) Israel movement. It unmasks BDS as anti-Semitic in essence. It shows that holding Israel to a higher double standard than other nations with worse civil rights records by subjecting Israel to greater scrutiny, singled out attack, and pressure is unfair. Thirdly, this book contributes by revealing how the aim of BDS is to delegitimize and stigmatize the existence of Israel and thus exposes the BDS’s denial of Israel’s right to exist motivated by deep seated hatreds. The book demonstrates that the aim of the BDS movement is to delegitimize and stigmatize Israel. The BDS movement like the original boycott declared by the Arab league, aims at the destruction of Israel by first delegitimizing her right to exist.

The Case against Academic Boycotts of Israel unveils the BDS as an anti-Semitic movement. It demonstrates that many of BDS proponents act out of conscious hostility to the Jewish people. BDS encourages anti-Semitism at campuses all over the U.S. “Kill the Jews” is often heard at BDS rallies with the same passion it were heard in the streets of Paris “morts les Juifs” during the Dreyfus Affair. The student government at UCLA under BDS influence wanted to reject a most qualified candidate because she was Jewish and active with a Jewish pro-Israel student organizations.

The Case against Academic Boycotts of Israel argues that the BDS movement perverts the facts when it comes to Israel. It holds Israel to a higher standard than any other nation. For example, contributor Martha Nussbaum, drawing on her expertise on the Indian state of Gujarat in which thousands of Muslims were slaughtered, pogrom style, in 2002, shows that nothing comparable to the boycott of Israeli Universities was ever initiated in that atrocity. The book points out that BDS activists are also silent in the face of the mass killings in Syria and Iraq and the denial of human rights in Iran. BDS is also similarly silent regarding the use of human shields by Hamas in Gaza and its bombardment of Israeli cities with missiles in the war between Israel and Gaza.

The book tackles the role of anti-Semitism that calls for the abolition of the Jewish state. This hatred...


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pp. 628-631
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