Philosophy Professor Nir Eisikovits, writing for Cognoscenti, WBUR’s ideas and opinion page, argues that the American Studies Association boycott of Israeli academic institutions is wrongly directed at some of the most active critics of Israel’s policies in the West Bank and Gaza.

In his article, “The ASA Boycott of Israeli Universities Misses the Point,” Eisikovits says that the ASA assertion “that ‘Israeli institutions of higher learning are a party to…policies that violate human rights’” is vague.

“What they must have meant, rather, is that Israeli universities are doing something wrong. … But Israeli universities. … are the staunchest holdouts of Israeli liberalism. Most of the internal criticism of the Jewish State’s policies in the West Bank and Gaza originates in its universities. Israeli scholars overwhelmingly use tenure and other academic protections to rail against the exact injustices that the ASA is concerned with. And the ASA’s counter argument, that the resolution is not aimed at particular scholars but rather at the universities that employ them, is nonsense. The two are inseparable. …”

Eisikovits directs the University’s Ethics and Public Policy graduate program. The full text of his article is available online.