New network of academics to provide resources for opposing BDS on campus

"Israeli Apartheid Week"—an annual anti-Israel and pro-BDS showcase—in May 2010 on the University of California, Irvine campus. Credit: AMCHA Initiative.

( A newly formed network of academics will work to support Israel and oppose the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against the Jewish state on American college campuses.

Launched this week, the Academic Engagement Network (AEN) says its group of faculty members and administrators will “anticipate and address anti-Israel and anti-Semitic activities as they arise, counteract the BDS movement, and maintain constructive ties with those on other campuses who are confronting similar challenges.” Additionally, AEN members intend to facilitate “reasoned discourse about Israel on campuses, while protecting and nurturing the exercise of academic freedom and freedom of expression.”

The network’s first project will be the publication of a resource guide titled “Academic Freedom and BDS: A Guide for University Presidents and Administrators,” slated to be released next month.

“In the face of activities aimed at vilifying Israel, AEN members aim to stir robust discussions relating to Israel on campus, promote and protect academic freedom and freedom of expression, stand for human rights for Arabs and Jews, and engage colleagues and students to better understand complex issues,” Mark G. Yudof, president emeritus of the 10-campus University of California system and chairs the AEN board of advisors, said in a statement.

“College students as well as faculty and administrators are often uncertain how best to respond to BDS efforts,” added Ken Waltzer, AEN’s executive director. “Network members will have access to advice, materials, resources, and best practices elsewhere to assist them to respond constructively to BDS and related initiatives on campus.”

Posted on December 10, 2015 .