Academic Boycott Debates: Palumbo-Liu vs Nelson and Brahm

201371712281331734_20David Palumbo-Liu’s  “Not so Much anti-Boycott as Pro-Israel” [symploke 23.1-2 (2015)] is comprehensive critique of The Case Against Academic Boycotts of Israel, edited by Cary Nelson and Gabriel Noah Brahm.

Palumbo-Liu, a member of the organizing committee of USACBI, writes with conviction and insight about many social justice issues. He recently published a review essay of The Case Against Academic Boycotts of Israel, where he dissects the weak logic and alarmist claims of Nelson, Brahm and the other contributors to the collection of essays. The detailed critique demonstrates that Nelson and Brahm’s volume amounts to little more than a collective defense of Israel’s violation of Palestinian rights in the face of a surging cultural and academic boycott movement that has galvanized Palestinian solidarity among artists, students and scholars.

Download a pdf of palumbo-liu Not so Much anti-Boycott as Pro-Israel.


Palumbo-Liu unmasks the disguise of pro-Israel politics in its various forms, dispelling false and exaggerated assertions that the academic boycott is antisemitic and a violation of academic freedom. He argues “first, that the anti-Semitic charge is weak, even by the authors’ own standards; second, that their advocacy of academic freedom is inconsistent and serves mostly as a pretext to fend off criticism of Israel; third, that their claims regarding the situation of academics in Israel and the Occupied Territories is contradicted by the facts of the present day.” He continues: “their implacable defense of Israel as a Jewish supremacist state is at the heart of this volume” (426).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s