“Academic Freedom and the Boycott of Israeli Universities: On the Necessity of Angry Knowledge”

In this essay, Conor McCarthy reviews four recent books discussing the pros and cons of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.  As he concludes, “these four books contain a wealth of ideas and information and a range of opinion that will enlighten anyone with even a passing interest in the matters of academic freedom and the politics of education  relating to Israel and Palestine. Equally it must also be said that the sheer bulk of such material must not be allowed to obscure some facts so basic as to be too often overlooked: boycott is a tactic not a principle; it is non-violent; it has the potential to frustrate academic researchers, their careers and projects, and their institutions, but it can in no way be said to do serious practical damage to them. …   In the context of the failure and discrediting of the Middle East “peace process” and the pol9781844674503_Case-for-sanctions-max_221-58cc5d95b449e5a06f638e7d75bc68e2itical elites (Palestinian, Israeli, American) involved in it, and of the unrelenting Israeli assault on Palestinian rights, land, economy, and life, boycott and BDS offer a firm but civilized form of pressure on Israel and of support for the Palestinians.”  McCarthy’s essay was first published in College Literature 43.1 Winter 2016, and is reproduced here by kind permission of the editor.

Click this link to download a pdf of Conor McCarthy’s review essay: McCarthy AcademicBoycott CLT43.1

Books discussed in the review essay:
Dawson, Ashley, and Bill V. Mullen, eds.  Against Apartheid: The Case for Boycotting Israeli Universities. Chicago: Haymarket, 2015.
Nelson, Cary, and Gabriel Noah Brahm, eds. The Case Against Academic Boycotts of Israel. Chicago: MLA Members for Scholars’ Rights, 2015.
Lim, Audrea, ed. The Case for Sanctions Against Israel. London: Verso, 2012.
Bilgrami, Akeel, and Jonathan Cole, eds.  Who’s Afraid of Academic Freedom? New York: Columbia University Press, 2015.

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