Whether intentional or not, says a UNESCO body, the boycott of Israeli academics bears a similarity to the practice of German doctors, who were leaders in the Nazi party, of segregating out their Jewish colleagues
The American Unit of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics was formed three years ago Of all the surprising opponents of the boycott of Israeli academic institutions by the American Studies Association, perhaps the most surprising is one that has not yet received any attention. A small but official organization of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) came out with an unabashedly strong criticism of the ASA boycott in one of the very first waves of condemnations.
And, unlike most of the university presidents’ condemnations, this one aimed its spear directly at, and through, the double standard towards the Jewish State, otherwise known as anti-Semitism, that really is the foundation upon which the boycott movement in general, and the ASA’s boycott in particular, rests.
The statement comes from the Board of Trustees of the American Unit of the International Network of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics, also known as the American Bioethics Culture Institute. This diverse board was created three years ago. Its purpose is “to explore and develop materials based upon an understanding of the psychology of clinical and ethical decision making under conditions of uncertainty when there is great moral and personal hazard.” The statement was issued on Dec. 27, immediately after the ASA stated its boycott intentions. These ethical pillars did not softly and safely mumble a mere no-vote. The statement expresses the views of the group directly, succinctly and without artifice, starting with being “appalled” by the boycott as “contrary to the fundamental principles of academic freedom.” It continues:
There are critics who will reflexively leap to a particularly noxious standard response to defending Israel. That position dismissively claims that all criticism of Israel elicits a reference either to anti-Semitism or to the Holocaust. Its ridicule is meant to silence all such references, even when the comparison is apt.