◆ Israel is most visible on college campuses when it is being blackballed. But there is quiet pushback from serious scholars.
The anti-Israel movement is known at “BDS,” which stands for “Boycott, Divest, and Sanction” Israel.
It means boycotting not only Israeli products, but severing cooperation with Israeli universities and the faculty who teach there. The goal is to delegitimate the Jewish state, and it is pushed non-stop by Palestinian students and their allies among activist Muslims and student leftists.
◆ Comment: BDS has largely failed. The movement has garnered plenty of attention, but it has failed in its more ambitious goals, at least in the US. (In Europe, the picture is grimmer. Anti-Israeli sentiments and full-blown anti-Semitism have risen to toxic levels, on both left and right.)
In the US, the BDS movement has gained some traction among left-wing students and faculty in the humanities and some social sciences, as well as Muslim activists. These groups constantly harrass pro-Israel students, demonstrating whenever there is an “evil Zionist speaker,” a benign Israeli birthday celebration, and so forth. Beyond that, the movement has accomplished little. They embrace defeat and futility as marks of honor. Every spring on college campuses across America, they hold “Israel Apartheid Week” and attempt to build broader opposition to Israel.
They are not gaining much support beyond the committed left and self-proclaimed Social Justice Vigilantes.
- No universities or corporations have agreed to boycott investments in Israel.
- Corporate investments in Israel are very strong, especially in the high-tech areas where Israel is a global leader.
- Many universities have also increased their collaboration with Israeli counterparts.
◆ Beneath the surface, there are also important signs of rising civic and academic cooperation between the US and Israel. A recent report shows a dramatic rise in collaboration between US and Israeli scholars, particularly in biomedicine and the physical sciences. (Times of Israel) The study, led by Dr. Daphne Getz, looked at academic papers with co-authors from both Israel and the US.
The highest number of joint U.S.-Israel publications are in the field of Medicine, followed by Physics and Astronomy, Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology, Computer Sciences, Mathematics, Engineering, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Social Sciences, Material Sciences and Earth and Planetary Sciences. –study by Dr. Daphne Getz of the Samuel Neaman Institute
There is also extensive cooperation in information technology and cyber-security, fields where Israeli scientists are among the world’s leaders.
The study also shows a 78% increase in the number of American students attending Israeli universities between 2004 and 2014.
The leading Israeli research universities are
- Technion: Israel Institute of Technology
- Hebrew University of Jerusalem
- Weizmann Institute of Science
- Tel Aviv University
- Bar-Ilan University
- University of Haifa
Comment: The rising numbers of research collaborations and international co-authorships reflect the strength of Israeli academic institutions and much lower costs of communicating among co-authors around the world. They also show that street demonstrations by aggressive anti-Israel activists mask a rising connection among serious scholars.
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