Israel Under Fire Over 'Restrictions' on Palestinian Academics — But What Is Truth?

MLA and ASA Resolutions Bash Jewish State

Noam’s Drama: Linguist Noam Chomsky was turned away by Israeli border guards when he tried to teach at a Palestinian university. How common is his experience?
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Noam’s Drama: Linguist Noam Chomsky was turned away by Israeli border guards when he tried to teach at a Palestinian university. How common is his experience?

By Hody Nemes

Published January 17, 2014.
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“Universities try to be cosmopolitan, and it doesn’t serve our students well that they are educated only by Palestinians,” Khalil Hindi, president of Birzeit University, told Right To Enter. “We’re thwarted in that effort of inculcating cosmopolitanism by the uniformity of our faculty.”

Critics of the MLA resolution say that, even supposing the worst, that’s hardly Israel’s fault alone. Their leaflet at the MLA cited a 2007 report by Education International that blamed the Palestinian Authority for restricting academic freedom.

Shamas lamented that the battle around the MLA resolution had become “a food fight” within the larger Palestinian-Israeli conflict. “My concern is that it not become stupidly polemicized,” Shamas said, referring to the specific issue of Israeli travel restrictions on scholars. “Unfortunately, things like this, when you raise them, they become a football.”

Contact Hody Nemes at nemes@forward.com and on Twitter, @hodifly


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