NYU Department Boycotts NYU Tel Aviv for Hypocritical Reasons
This is from NYU’s Department of Social and Cultural Analysis:
Faculty and student members of the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis seek at all times to uphold this university’s basic principles of non-discrimination and equal opportunity in our relationships with other NYU departments and programs. We feel that these principles, set forth in the Code of Ethical Conduct, are being effectively violated in the operation of NYU’s study abroad program in Tel Aviv. Access to the program is clearly being obstructed by Israel’s long-standing discriminatory policies (as acknowledged by the State Department) of barring entry to Palestinians or persons of Arab descent and Muslim heritage, and by the recent amendments to its Law of Entry, which advocate for the exclusion of persons on account of their political speech. Moreover, the Israeli government routinely prevents Palestinian students from enrolling in higher education institutions outside of the West Bank and Gaza.
The NYU administration has indicated its disagreement with the Israeli state’s policy of barring entry based on political speech. However, in noting that “no NYU student has been prevented from going to Israel,” the administration fails to take into account the Palestinian members of the NYU community from the West Bank and Gaza who are unable to enter Israel, in addition to those with American citizenship who have been banned based on their Palestinian heritage and political activity. Participating in the program while members of our own department are barred entry to their homeland and sites of research serves to reproduce the racial inequalities of Israel’s policies in our own workplace.
We pledge non-cooperation with the Tel Aviv program until (a) the Israeli state ends its restrictions on entry based on ancestry and political speech and (b) the Israeli state adopts policies granting visas for exchanges to Palestinian universities on a fully equal basis as it does to Israeli universities.
We urge other departments to pass similar resolutions in the spirit of abiding by NYU’s Code of Ethical Conduct and opposing racial and religious profiling on campus.
**According to the amendment, the excluded groups include
American Friends Service Committee, American Muslims for Palestine, Code Pink, Jewish Voice for Peace, National Students for Justice in Palestine, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, and the BDS National Committee. [emphasis added]
Does the State Department page they link to say that Israels bar people of Arab descent or Muslim heritage? Not at all.
Some U.S. citizens of Arab or Muslim heritage (including Palestinian-Americans) have experienced significant difficulties and unequal and hostile treatment at Israel’s borders and checkpoints. U.S. citizens who have traveled to Muslim countries or who are of Arab, Middle Eastern, or Muslim origin may face additional questioning by immigration and border authorities. U.S. citizens should immediately report treatment by border officials that they believe is discriminatory or hostile to the ACS unit of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem (JerusalemACS@state.gov), the ACS unit of the Embassy Branch Office in Tel Aviv (TelAvivACS@state.gov) or the Consular Office of the U.S. Consulate. [emphasis added]
This is true. People who might be related to terrorists are subject to additional screening. This is true in every country on the planet — for example, in France, some 1,000 people were refused entry in a mere two-week period in 2015 because of suspicion of terror ties. That’s far more than Israel ever has barred. The vast majority of people detained at Israel’s airport are ultimately allowed in, and no student who wants to study in Israel has been stopped as far as I can tell. (One was denied entry and the decision was reversed.)
What about denying entry to people based on their political beliefs? The UK does it all the time. Wikipedia has a page of people refused entry to the UK for their political beliefs, from Pamela Geller to Louis Farrakhan.
Needless to say, this NYU department isn’t boycotting the UK or France.
The real hypocrisy comes from the fact that the only people Israel bans are people who support BDS — and any supporter of BDS from NYU would be duty bound not to visit NYU Tel Aviv anyway! This means that the Israeli restrictions do not stop a single NYU student from studying in Tel Aviv, and the entire argument that Israel is discriminating against some percentage of NYU students is false — as NYU itself observed.
Moreover, NYU has a Travel Advisory page for students visiting its campuses in Abu Dhabi and Sydney as well, and notes travel restrictions on students to those countries (those with Israeli passports cannot go to Abu Dhabi; NYU Sydney has a bunch of Australian visa rules to deal with, meaning that — just like Israel — some people have to jump through hoops before ultimately being allowed in).
Needless to say, this NYU department is not boycotting the Sydney or Abu Dhabi campuses. The hypocrisy of the BDS crowd is as bad as it ever was.