Martin Kramer: Boycott Fever at MESA

“It’s inevitable that MESA will adopt BDS,” announced Noura Erakat, Palestinian-American “activist,” to the members of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) last week. They had assembled at an open forum to discuss a boycott-Israel resolution scheduled for a vote the next day.

“The question is whether MESA will be a catalyst or latecomer…. The importance of MESA adopting this cannot be underestimated.” Her plea was greeted by a round of applause. For a moment, I was tempted to join in myself.

As an Israeli educator, I’m strongly opposed to the academic boycott of Israel, especially by American academic associations. But there’s one exception: MESA, whose conference I attended last week. You see, I’m not a member or a well-wisher of MESA. I’d be perfectly content if it were finally exposed for what it’s mostly become: a pro-Palestine political society whose members just happen to be academics.

If MESA were to decide in favor of an academic boycott, I’d have a field day, since I’ve been asserting for many years that MESA isn’t what it claims to be (a “non-political association” according to its bylaws). So I admit it: when MESA plunged into boycott politics before and during its annual conference in Washington, I figured it was a win-win.

Boycott defeated? Win for Israel and scholarly freedom. Boycott adopted? Vindication of MESA’s critics, myself included…

  • Norman_In_New_York

    Like every other college program with “studies” in their titles, Middle East studies should be abolished from the curriculum for padding tuition with rubbish.

    • Frau Katze

      They are notoriously biased, too.

      • Alain

        Yes, and so are all the other “studies” which amount to no more than propaganda and indoctrination.

    • Pete_Brewster

      I wouldn’t go quite that far. Without knowing something of Middle Eastern history you won’t understand the Bible nearly as well—much less the news.

      Not to mention that the history of God’s chosen people, unlike the misadventures of most of the tribes whose accomplishments are inflated in “multicultural studies” courses, is actually worth studying.

      Replace the ME studies departments with departments of Jewish studies. The Palis and their pseudo-history can be discussed in the course on the history of anti-Semitism.

      • Clausewitz

        All Middle Eastern history is revisionist after the 7th century.

      • Minicapt

        MESA doesn’t study “history”.