Judith Butler, a leading analyst of the philosophical underpinning of the academic and cultural boycott of Israel, insists that the boycott be consistent with academic freedom—as do most of us academics, many Jewish, who support the boycott. As Strenger himself writes, “Butler has argued that Israeli academics should be allowed to publish in journals and participate in conferences and other academic activities, but only as long as no Israeli government funds are used to pay for these activities. This would put pressure on Israeli universities to take a clear stance against the occupation without harming individual Israeli academics’ freedom of speech.” Strenger argues that the prohibition against Israeli government funds negates that freedom and makes Butler’s case incoherent. How are Israeli academics going to pay to participate in the global academic village if they can’t tap into departmental travel funds or even their own paychecks? But stop! Clearly Butler doesn’t consider an Israeli scholar’s personal funds to be “government funds,” even if they ultimately come from a government paycheck. I don’t know what her position on departmental travel funds is, but Strenger’s Talmudic disputation should not be allowed to obscure the underlying principle: that the boycott is directed against speech and performance that is manifestly delivered on behalf of Israel institutions, including universities, that are complicit in apartheid.
Magnitude 6.1 quake hits Panama-Colombia border (Reuters)
from the article: The problem with boycotting Israeli universities