Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sports a combover as impeccable as anti-boycott logic. (IsraelInUSA)
When a vocal minority (sneakily consisting of actual minorities) forced the American Studies Association (ASA) to approve a boycott of Israeli academic institutions against the protestations of an oppressed majority, they did something completely abnormal and unprecedented in the honorable history of professing. (For the sake of brevity, I’ll ignore the academic boycotts of Arizona, hotel chains, South Africa, TIAA-CREF, science journals, Texas textbook publishers and Russia.)
This deviant action, notwithstanding its dozens of forebears, is deeply unjust, and I’d like to explain why using my favorite type of rhetorical technique, the tu quoque defense. If you take the time to read my list, I think you’ll agree that my logic, like Bibi’s combover, is simply impeccable:
Israel is a democracy; we can’t be screwing that up by giving basic rights to Palestinians.
Analysis of state-sponsored violence is central to the field of American Studies and should be analyzed and contested, except when state-sponsored violence is carried out by the United States’ biggest and most aggressive client.
I am against academic boycott on principle and I shall exercise that principle by boycotting the ASA.
The ASA is singling out Israel. Zionists, with their intense dedication to maintaining a juridical system of discrimination based on biology, would never do anything as terrible as rebuffing people based on arbitrary discourses of racial belonging.
The entire ASA process, especially the part about accommodating opponents who insisted on a vote, was deeply undemocratic; the proper response to the resolution is to destroy the ASA.
The ASA is undermining the reputation of American Studies as a scholarly enterprise; the organization’s lack of state-funded trolls, race baiters and crybabies proves it.
The “browning” of American Studies thoroughly violates the true spirit of our exceptional nation.
The ASA’s secret goal is to destroy Israel; when we actually did destroy Palestine, at least we were open about it.
Boycotting a nation-state is totally wrong, so why don’t people leave Israel alone and go boycott China or Cuba or something.
The ASA resolution is the single worst and most impactful thing ever to happen in the history of academe; thank goodness the ASA is completely irrelevant.
Clearly the ASA boycott is hypocritical. I urge its supporters to put more thought into the lunacy of their political commitments.