Anti-Israel Academics Face Pushback by the Truth

(Wall Street Journal) Cary Nelson - At their annual meeting in Atlanta earlier this month, members of the American Historical Association voted down a factually flawed resolution condemning Israel. The resolution claimed that Israel refuses "to allow students from Gaza to travel in order to pursue higher education abroad." Opponents marshaled evidence to prove this was untrue. Egypt, not Israel, controls the Rafah crossing that Gaza students and faculty heading toward universities abroad have used for decades. After Egypt closed the Rafah crossing in October 2014, Israel increased the flow of students leaving Gaza through the Erez crossing into Israel to the north, and on to Jordan for flights abroad. But Jordan, which once issued transit visas in 10 days, now takes several months or longer because of increased security concerns about students from Gaza. The resolution also condemned Israel for an air attack on the Islamic University of Gaza during the 2014 Gaza war. But it failed to mention that the campus housed a weapons development and testing facility, a valid target under the laws of war. Activists in certain humanities and interpretive social-science fields have convinced themselves they have their hands on the levers of history and can delegitimize the State of Israel. But they are more likely instead to discredit their academic disciplines. The writer is an English professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an affiliated professor at the University of Haifa in Israel.

2016-01-29 00:00:00

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