Anti-Zionism on Campus

Anti-Zionism on Campus

The University, Free Speech, and BDS
Edited by Andrew Pessin and Doron S. Ben-Atar
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 03/30/2018
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 978-0-253-03407-6
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Many scholars have endured the struggle against rising anti-Israel sentiments on college and university campuses worldwide. This volume of personal essays documents and analyzes the deleterious impact of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement on the most cherished Western institutions. These essays illustrate how anti-Israelism corrodes the academy and its treasured ideals of free speech, civility, respectful discourse, and open research. Nearly every chapter attests to the blurred distinction between anti-Israelism and antisemitism, as well as to hostile learning climates where many Jewish students, staff, and faculty feel increasingly unwelcome and unsafe. Anti-Zionism on Campus provides a testament to the specific ways anti-Israelism manifests on campuses and considers how this chilling and disturbing trend can be combatted.

Author Bio

Andrew Pessin is Professor of Philosophy at Connecticut College and Campus Bureau Editor of the Algemeiner. He is author of many academic articles and books, a philosophy textbook, several philosophical books for the general reader, and two novels, including The Irrationalist: The Tragic Murder of René Descartes. Pessin's current research is focused on philosophical matters relevant both to Judaism and Israel. He can be found online at

Doron S. Ben-Atar is Professor of History at Fordham University and a playwright. In addition to publishing books and articles about early America, he authored (with his mother, Roma Nutkiewicz Ben-Atar) What Time and Sadness Spared: Mother and Son Confront the Holocaust. He has, in recent years, turned his attention to the battles over Zionism in the American Jewish community with, among other writings, his satirical play Peace Warriors.


“The single biggest crisis facing the academy is the attack against free speech, objective truth, rigorous scholarship, and campus activity--all under the pretense and guise of progressive identity politics. No other book covers the politics and strategies of BDS and the insidious motives of those who are its champions better.”
 — Thane Rosenbaum, author of How Sweet It Is!

“These essays make a huge contribution to our understanding of the deleterious impact of anti-Israel activism on contemporary academia in the United States and around the world. The breadth of these essays is breath-taking, their poignancy is heartbreaking, and their analysis is astute.”
 — Kenneth L. Marcus, author of The Definition of Anti-Semitism

Anti-Zionism on Campus is a tour de force. It accurately exposes the depth of anti-Israel bias on campuses (primarily in the U.S., but with several insightful chapters also focusing on the British, Australian, Canadian, and South African campus climate). It also underscores the high price and personal risk that comes with taking on this rising tide of anti-Zionism.”
 — Legal Insurrection

“Though these testimonials acknowledge that free academic inquiry can—and should—include criticism of any nation’s policies, the writers make a persuasive case that the BDS movement is a dangerous amalgam of speech suppression and thinly veiled anti-Semitism. . . . Recommended.”
 — Choice

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction and Overview: The Silencing / Andrew Pessin and Doron S. Ben-Atar 1

I. Scholars’ Essays

1. BDS and Self-Righteous Moralists / Dan Avnon 43

2. Consensus, Canadian Trade Unions, and Intellectuals for Hamas / Julien Bauer 58

3. Bullies at the Pulpit / Doron S. Ben-Atar 66

4. A Traumatic Professorial Education: Anti-Zionism and Homophobia in a Serial Campus Hate Crime / Corinne E. Blackmer 75

5. Slouching toward the City That Never Stops: How a Left-Orientalist Anti-Israel Faculty Tour Forced Me to Say Something (Big Mistake!) / Gabriel Noah Brahm 83

6. On Radio Silence and the Video That Saved the Day: The Attack against Professor Dubnov at the University of California San Diego, 2012 / Shlomo Dubnov 91

7. Fraser versus the University College Union: A Personal Reflection / Ronnie Fraser 105

8. If You Are Not With Us: The National Women’s Studies Association and Israel / Janet Freedman 122

9. Rhodes University, Not a Home for All: A Progressive Zionist’s Two-Year Odyssey / Larissa Klazinga 134

10. Loud and Fast versus Slow and Quiet: Responses to Anti-Israel Activism on Campus / Jeffrey Kopstein 142

11. A Controversy at Harvard / Martin Kramer 151

12. Attempts to Exclude Pro-Israel Views from Progressive Discourse: Some Case Studies from Australia / Philip Mendes 163

13. Anti-Israel Antisemitism in England / Richard Millett 174

14. Conspiracy Pedagogy on Campus: BDS Advocacy, Antisemitism, and Academic Freedom / Cary Nelson 190

15. When Did We Abandon Academic Integrity for Academic Freedom? / Denise Nussbaum 212

16. BDS and Zionophobic Racism / Judea Pearl 224

17. Friday, November 13, 2015, at the University of Texas, Austin: Anti-Zionists on the Attack / Ami Pedahzur and Andrew Pessin 236

18. Colonel Richard Kemp at the University of Sydney, Australia, March 11, 2015 / Jan Poddebsky, Peter Keeda, and Clive Kessler 253

19. “Oh! Now I’ve Got You!”: In the Sights of Anti-Israelists at the Claremont Colleges / Yaron Raviv 266

20. The Magic of Myth: Fashioning the BDS Narrative in the New Anthropology / David M. Rosen 280

21. Retaliation: The High Price of Speaking Out about Campus Antisemitism and What It Means for Jewish Students / Tammi Rossman-Benjamin 298

22. A Field Geologist in Politicized Terrain / Jill S. Schneiderman 317

23. Fanatical Anti-Zionism and the Degradation of the University: What I Have Learned in Buffalo / Ernest Sternberg 333

24. What Is It like to Be an (Assertive) Israeli Academic Abroad? / Elhanan Yakira 348

II. Students’ Essays

25. A Wake-Up Call at the University of Michigan / Jesse Arm 357

26. On Leaving the University of California, Los Angeles, Due to Hostile and Unsafe Campus Climate / Milan Chatterjee 363

27. Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions and Antisemitism at Stanford University / Molly Horwitz 366

28. On Being Pro-Israel, and Jewish, at Oberlin College / Eliana Kohn 372

29. Battling Anti-Zionism at City University of New York John Jay College / Tomer Kornfeld 379

30. Students for Justice in Palestine at Brown University / Jared Samilow 384

31. Battling Anti-Zionism at the University of Missouri / Daniel Swindell 390

III. Concluding Thoughts 32

Inconclusive, Unscientific Postscript: On the Purpose of the University, and a Ray of Hope / Andrew Pessin 401

Index 409