Friday, January 20, 2023

The new insane meme that academia is anti-Palestinian

In the wake of the Ken Roth Harvard fellowship episode, the anti-Israel crowd - led by Roth himself - has been pushing the meme that academia is anti-Palestinian and that pro-Palestinian academics must worry that their viewpoints will harm their careers.

And if anything that absurd lie has accelerated since Harvard caved!

Roth doubled down on the lie that Harvard originally caved to evil Zionist forces:

Omar Shakir, the former BDS activist who is now a Human Rights Watch researcher, tweeted:

Palestine Legal said:

Is there even a shred of evidence that "pro-Palestinian" academics are being silenced?

The Middle East Scholar Barometer has serious methodological problems, but it is a decent measure of self-selecting academics who have strong opinions on the Middle East - and it shows that they are overwhelmingly anti-Israel. They support efforts to boycott Israel. 90% describe Israel even within the Green Line as "a democratic state with deep structural inequality (61%)" or "A state akin to apartheid (29%)." 

Far more of them support holding academic workshops in Qatar (80%) than in Israel (48%), and the reason they opposed holding workshops in Israel was overwhelmingly "principled or ethical concerns." Meaning far more consider Israel illegitimate but hardly any say that about terrorist-supporting Qatar.

Middle East academia is strongly anti-Israel. And academia, at least in the social sciences, in general tends to share the same political opinions as the rabid anti-Israel crowd. 

What Roth and Shakir and Palestine Legal are really saying is that the <1% of Middle East academics who answered the question saying that Arab citizens in Israel have the same rights as Jews is still too many for them. To them, a single pro-Israel academic is too many, and evidence of anti-Palestinian bias because a university hired them. 

Here's a question that I'd love to see answered in a future survey: Ask how many academics oppose a Palestinian state that defines itself as Arab, and how many oppose an Israel that defines itself as Jewish. That will tell you everything you need to know about this fictional "Palestine exception to academic freedom."

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