Friday, June 10, 2016

(Some) Religious Studies scholars issue pro-BDS statement

I just found the first public pro-BDS statement by scholars of religious studies - Religious Studies Scholars Statement of Solidarity with BDS. It is sponsored by Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP: Religious scholars statement). The statement itself is very much like other pro-BDS statements. It's unclear to me if it is explicitly calling for the academic boycott or not.
Affirming our own right to work for justice in Palestine, and remembering the power of non-violent social change in the U.S. civil rights movement and the international campaign against South African apartheid, we support the broad-based call of Palestinian civil society to boycott, divest from, and sanction the institutions--not the people--of the State of Israel until it meets its obligations under international law by: 
  1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall;
  2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
  3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.
I am surprised and disappointed by some of the signatories, whom I know from the AAR and SBL: Naomi Goldenberg (U Ottowa), Mary E. Hunt (Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual; I knew her when I was a graduate student and met her through AAR feminist sessions), and Ann Pellegrini (NYU) (we were graduate students at Harvard at the same time).

It is always so discouraging to find people that I know and respect have decided to support the dismantlement of the state of Israel, which is the goal of the BDS. You may not think this is true, but read the last demand - that Palestinian refugees be permitted to return to Israel. If all of the people who are currently classified as Palestinian refugees by the UN were to return to Israel, the Jews of Israel would immediately become a minority. Contrary to the fantasies of those who support the one-state solution, this would not result in a peaceful multi-ethnic and multi-religious country, but in an immediate civil war.

Other supporters are more expected, like Cornel West (Union Theological), Rebecca T. Alpert (Temple), Daniel Boyarin (UC Berkeley), John Esposito (Georgetown), Rosemary Radford Ruether (who has a long history of anti-Israel writing and activism).

My question is: when will these scholars try to pass a pro-BDS resolution in the American Academy of Religion or the Society of Biblical Literature? Will it happen this year?


  1. Nothing like a little honesty to pull down the façade of Jewish exceptionalism. Israel has already admitted the right of return for all Palestinians dispossessed by invading Jews in UNGA Res. 194, which also covers “compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.” (Article 11)

    Israel is a criminal entity and more and more Jews are facing the inevitable. No amount of your denial can change that.

  2. You're very selective in your reading of UN resolutions. The UN approved the partition plan on November 29, 1947, thus authorizing the creation of both a Jewish and an Arab state. The Zionist movement accepted the plan, while the Arab States opposed it. During the subsequent war, the Arab States were only so eager to grab whatever parts of mandatory Palestine they could get their hands on, namely the West Bank and Gaza. Israel was admitted to the UN. You may hate Israel, but since it was created under UN auspices, it is hardly a criminal entity.

    Why do you go by a pseudonym rather than your real name? Are you ashamed for other people to know your opinions?