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Gender studies is hotbed for anti-Israel BDS activism among faculty: report

Two-thirds of anti-Jewish actions at institutions where BDS supporter was invited

The boycott, divestment and sanctions movement has a stronghold in Middle East Studies departments in American colleges and universities, but its impact is actually the greatest in a surprising academic discipline.

Gender Studies departments were 12 times more likely to sponsor anti-Israel BDS events if one or more faculty members supported BDS, the most of any field examined in a new study by the AMCHA Initiative, which fights antisemitism in higher education.

The more BDS supporters in a Gender Studies department, “the greater the likelihood of BDS-supporting speaker-events,” said the report, which detailed how BDS initiatives on college campuses create a culture of hostility toward Jewish students.

It did not provide data on how a department chair’s support for BDS affected the likelihood of departmental sponsorship for BDS events.

The next most impactful academic discipline for BDS is also not Middle East Studies, but rather Ethnic Studies, where departments are “10 times more likely to sponsor events with BDS-supporting speakers than units with no faculty boycotters,” the study said.

Here, it provided data on how a department chair’s BDS support affects its activities, and the effect was less strong: only five times more likely to sponsor BDS-supporting events.

While the AMCHA Initiative found that ethnic, gender and Middle East studies faculty make up the majority of pro-BDS college professors, Middle East Studies departments were somewhat surprisingly the least impacted by faculty BDS activism.

They were five times more likely to sponsor BDS events if one or more faculty member supported BDS, and four times more likely if the department head supported it.

AMCHA reviewed 557 academic units in the three academic disciplines at 100 schools, finding that 137 of those units at 52 school sponsors 324 “Israel related events” in 2015 and 2016. Nearly two-thirds of the events (208) included “BDS-supporting speakers.”

The report detailed numerous instances of faculty members boycotting school initiatives in support of Israel, the most common of which was petitions demanding the shutdown of study-abroad programs in Israel.

In 2009, 130 faculty members at the University of California signed a letter petitioning the school to shut down the UC Education Abroad Program in Israel. Similarly, in the California State system, 85 faculty members signed a letter asking CSU to shut down its Israel study-abroad program.

The Middle East Studies departments at several Ivy League schools hosted the most events with a pro-BDS speaker. Topping the list was Columbia University, whose Center for Palestinian Studies hosted 41 BDS-supporting speakers and its Middle East Institute, another eight in 2015 and 2016.

No other Ivy League school had more than 17. Brown University’s department hosted 14 speakers, Yale hosted 7, and Harvard 6.

The report said 98 percent of “acts that targeted Jewish students for harm” in 2015 and 2016 occurred at schools where there had been “one or more incidents of students’ anti-Zionist expression.” Sixty-eight percent occurred at institutions where a BDS-supporting speaker had been hosted.

“There is a very strong association of BDS supporting speaker-events with students’ anti-Zionist expression, which in turn is very strongly associated with acts of anti-Jewish hostility,” the report said.

Thus, BDS activism by American faculty “harms not only its intended target” of Israel’s academic institutions and scholars, but “also directly and substantively harms students and faculty on U.S. campuses by violating their own academic freedom.”

The report was clear to point out that it’s not advocating for pro-BDS events to be banned, which would violate academic freedom. But it voiced concern that certain academic disciplines were becoming “politically corrupted, controlled by, and dedicated to anti-Zionist and anti-Israel beliefs.”

Advocacy for an Israel boycott “as part of” departmental sponsorship of a pro-BDS event “is significantly associated with acts that target Jewish students for harm, including assault, harassment, destruction of property, and suppression of speech,” the report said.

The “inevitable consequence” of such advocacy is to “actively suppress individuals, including Jewish students, who would express views or engage in actions sympathetic to Israel on campus.”

IMAGES: paintings/Shutterstock, Khairul_Effendi/Shutterstock

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About the Author
Jeremiah is a junior at Franciscan University of Steubenville, where he is majoring in journalism and minoring in human life studies. He has served on the student government as a senator. A fluent Spanish speaker, he also regularly contributes to Red Alert Politics, The Rouser and toddstarnes.com.

Add to the Discussion

  • Dr. Donny

    Gosh, I’m shocked! The know-nothings from the crap majors of gender and ethnic studies are actually anti-Semitic. The reason, of course, is jealousy at the high achievement and success of Jews. Since Jews are busy becoming successful in professions like law, STEM, and medicine, they don’t waste their time in wimp majors like gender, ethnic studies, and similar dumpy majors. I would be interested in seeing a study of the percent of Jews in these wimp majors – bet it is miniscule. As for me, I am a half-Jew who is a high STEM achiever from a top school. I laugh at the noisy children in the pretend majors that favor community college dropouts. Cheers.

    • Rights For Whites

      Eh, there are a lot more Jews in finance, which, like law, is a profession with many dishonest people.

      • Dr. Donny

        Yes, there are also a lot of Jews in business and finance which are professions I did not mention. However, you claim finance and law have many dishonest people without providing any evidence, implying the number is relatively greater than other professions. Although you are using ill-defined terms such as ‘many’, I would be interested in any evidence you have that these professions have a larger percent of convicted lawbreakers than other professions.

        • Rights For Whites

          Now you’re sounding like a sneaky person yourself, or at least someone who is willing to rationalize away bad behavior on the part of others just because they belong to your group. A trial lawyer who sues people over bullshit may not technically be breaking the law, but he’s a parasite nonetheless. This is why the Right has supported tort reform for years. As for finance, the whole system is built on the fractional-reserve banking scam of the Federal Reserve, which is why rightwing people from Pat Buchannan to Ron Paul to Rand Paul have called for the FED to at least be audited and preferably replaced with an honest, gold-backed currency. As you probably know, none of the bankers who exacerbated* the 2008 economic crisis ever faced criminal sanctions for their dishonesty, and many of their banks got bailouts from the taxpayers. (CEOs of bailed-out banks were still allowed to collect massive bonuses!)

          • Dr. Donny

            I am not rationalizing anything or anyone. I simply am asking for facts, without which statements are merely opinions. We all have our opinions, the validation of which require rational argumentation or critical thinking. You seem to be mixing facts, opinions, and profanity which demeans your credibility to the conservative community of which I am also a member. Peace.

    • JooWeinstein

      Good goy,

      Hers a shekel.

  • mtbfan

    Are there a lot of jobs for gender study grads?

    • Jon Carry

      Actually yes. Teaching at colleges and universities, the diversity coordinator at a college near me makes $250,000. Sickening.

    • beachmike

      The regime of Barry Soetoro aka Barack Hussein 0bama had hundreds of worthless “diversity coordinator” jobs that payed $100K+ all over the federal government. I hope President Trump has shit-canned this total waste of money.

  • benfivel

    Hating Jews is fine and cool. You get to feel superior to every one. Yea hate.

  • Jon Carry

    “Humanities”? Are there more than one “humanity”? Shouldn’t the little snowflake student take an English class, or is that racist now?

  • Robert What?

    I find this hysterical considering that Jews overwhelmingly support Leftist / SJW causes. Now it comes back to bite them on the ass.

    • Rights For Whites

      Strictly speaking, the gender-confused freaks of this program don’t pose a threat to Jews at all. If anything, they only serve to make anti-Israel activism look really bad and disgusting. Could that be design?

  • Tatiana Covington

    What a bore people’s genitals are! I have an excellent idea about where everyone can put their damned genitals: unfortunately, it can’t be done in R3. Klein bottles and all that.

  • JooWeinstein

    Thus, BDS activism by American faculty “harms not only its intended target” of Israel’s academic institutions and scholars, but “also directly and substantively harms students and faculty on U.S. campuses by violating their own academic freedom.”


    Talk about Joo’ish doubletalk.

    israel is your friend goy.