Middle East studies in the News
Internet Hunt: Where's "Waldo" (Anti-Israel Academic Boycotters Boycotting Turkey)?
The Turkish purge of academia, which has been ongoing long before the recent failed coup, has accelerated since the coup attempt.
Over 1500 university Deans were dismissed, travel for faculty restricted, and faculty abroad ordered home.
On Saturday, July 23, 2016, President Erdogan expanded the purge, as we reported earlier.
The Christian Science Monitor further reports:
President Tayyip Erdogan tightened his grip on Turkey on Saturday, ordering the closure of thousands of private schools, charities and other institutions in his first decree since imposing a state of emergency after the failed military coup....
The first decree signed by Erdogan authorizes the closure of 1,043 private schools, 1,229 charities and foundations, 19 trade unions, 15 universities and 35 medical institutions over suspected links to the Gulen movement, the Anadolu agency said....
Turkey shuts down 15 universities, 934 schools, 104 foundations, 109 dormitories, 35 hospitals, 1,125 associations, 19 unions today.
Turkish government seizes properties of all these schools, universities and private institutions that were shut down in a massive crackdown.
Turkish authorities arrest 7 academics, including Sedat Laciner and his brother, as part of a purge against critical academics.
When the academic purges began, I asked the question, Will anti-Israel academic boycotters now also boycott Turkish universities?:
Turkey a test case whether leftist professors will boycott universities in majority-Muslim countries, or just the majority-Jewish one.
As I made clear in that post, I don't support academic boycotts:
I'm against academic boycotts for reasons I have articulated many times at Legal Insurrection and during my public appearances. In addition to the many reasons expressed by University Presidents and associations in response to the ASA boycott, I draw upon my own experience studying in the Soviet Union. That experience showed me that academic interaction even with the most repressive regimes was a lifeline to those struggling for freedom.
I would be against a boycott of Turkish Universities, but the anti-Israel boycotters should not have the luxury of boycotting just Israel and still claim to be acting on principle and not because of implicit if not explicit anti-Semitism.
The Turkish academic purge raises a test for the anti-Israel academic boycotters. Will they devote themselves this coming academic season to an academic boycott of Turkish Universities, in addition to other majority-Muslim nations where minorities are repressed and academic freedom stifled?
Will they, as Curtis Marez said, start but not end with Israel? Or as Alan Dershowitz said, will the boycotters start and stop with the only majority-Jewish nation on the globe?
Since then, I've only been able to find the slightest hint that the anti-Israel boycotters recognize their dilemma.
The Israel-boycotting American Studies Association told me that some members are "discussing"a possible boycott among other measures, but could not provide details. Robert Warrior, the ASA's President and a supporter of the Israel boycott, did not respond to my email requesting details.
Other than that, I can't find any evidence that Israel academic boycotters are organizing a boycott of Turkish universities. I've checked the Twitter timelines and Facebook pages for many of the usual suspects, and nothing. I've Google-searched, nothing.
Both Twitter and Facebook searches for "academic boycott Turkey" pull up moslty posts by Israel-supporters mocking the failure of Israel-boycotters to boycott Turkey, as well as some petitions condeming Turkey but not calling for an academic boycott. I signed this one.
I did find a statement from the group which came close to getting the American Anthropological Association to boycott Israel, but it was just a condemnation not a boycott call, Anthropologists for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions
Anthropologists for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions expresses its solidarity with scholars in Turkey who have been persecuted for demanding an end to state violence against Kurds and a return to peace negotiations.
Earlier this month, the American Anthropological Association's Committee for Human Rights (CfHR) wrote to Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu concerning the recent crackdown, especially against signatories to the statement entitled "We Will Not Be a Party To This Crime" ["Bu Suça Ortak Olmayacağız"]. We echo the CfHR's demand for an end to all punitive actions against the signatories of this statement as well as for the Turkish state's adherence to international human rights standards and to norms of academic freedom.
The cause of academic freedom is indivisible and must be unequivocally defended, whether in Palestine/Israel, Turkey, or the United States.
We will continue to consult with colleagues in Turkey on how best to support their struggle.
Several organizations (including ASA and AAA) signed onto a letter condemning the purge, but no boycott call.
I can't categorically say that all the anti-Israel academic boycotters are copping out on boycotting Turkish universities, because some of those discussions could be taking place off line or in non-searchable forums. But usually — or should I say when it comes to Israel — the activity is out in the open with petitions and other social media organizing.
So, help me out here. Let's try to find "Waldo" — that is, anti-Israel academic boycotters calling for an academic boycott of Turkish universities in light of the purge.
Surely they are out there. We just have to find them.Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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