The Volokh Conspiracy
Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent
The NYU Review of Law and Social Change has voted to endorse and enforce Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel. This includes a stated refusal to publish even "balanced" articles about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Think I'm exaggerating? The law review's statement says that it will boycott "Academic activities, projects, or publications "based on the false premise of symmetry/parity between the oppressors and the oppressed or that claim that both colonizers and colonized are equally responsible for the 'conflict' . . . .'8 We find such efforts to be 'intellectually dishonest and morally reprehensible forms of normalization' that must be boycotted."
Now, I believe that the bulk of the fault regarding the conflict lies with the Palestinian side, and its persistent refusal to acquiesce over many decades to an independent Jewish presence in the historic land of Israel, or even to a bi-national state. But apparently, and wildly inappropriately for a purportedly academic journal, the Review of Law and Social Change would not publish an article by me or anyone else that argued even that both sides were equally to blame.
NYU and its law school have strongly criticized the law review for its stance, but it's not clear if there will be any consequences; I don't know whether the law review's announced policies violate any NYU regulations.
It would be easy at this point to get caught up in the question of whether BDS is antisemitic. To me, it's irrelevant, because it's worse than mere antisemitism; unlike most antisemites, most supporters of BDS are ok with genocide.
Here is how the law review itself describes BDS:
The N.Y.U. Review of Law & Social Change ("RLSC") expresses our firm commitment to the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions ("BDS") movement and our solidarity with Palestinians collectively struggling towards liberation.
BDS is a Palestinian-led movement that urges action to pressure Israel to end its occupation and colonization of Palestinian land, discrimination against Palestinian citizens, and denial of the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes.
Anyone who knows the BDS movement knows that "Palestinian liberation" the "right of return," and stopping Israel's "occupation and colonization of Palestinian land" are code phrases for the destruction of Israel and its replacement with a Palestinian Muslim state. As things stand at the moment, the emergence of such a state would almost certainly result in most of the Jewish population of Israel either being killed or forced to become refugees. If there are any supporters of the destruction of Israel who include a caveat that they would withdraw such support if it became clear that these would be the consequences, I have yet to happen upon them. Even the late suave intellectual Edward Said could only muster the hope that the Jewish community would be safe in a future Palestine, but it was ultimately irrelevant to his commitment to a Palestinian state replacing Israel.
So the NYU students in question, whether are not they are complicit in antisemitism, are presumptively okay with my family in Israel, along with the rest of Israel's seven million Jews, being murdered or expelled. Again, they are ok with genocide. And if they don't realize that this is what their support for Palestinian "liberation" means in practice, then maybe they need to rethink it.
The student editors took a vote on BDS, and I don't know how many dissented, and how vigorously. But for now, in the absence of any resignations or public statements of dissent, the staff members are presumptively okay with genocide. And they are also okay with boycotts. But they may not like the upshot of the combination.
In the absence of my knowing about any internal opposition or further efforts by internal opponents, I think it would be unfair at this point to memorialize all the members of the journal. But for now, I think it's fair to hold the editors in chief, Amelie Daigle and Andrea Green, and the managing editors, Johari Menelik Frasier and Emily Truek, responsible for their law review endorsing genocidal Palestinian nationalist fantasy, though I would be happy to correct this post if they are publicly opposed to the law review's policies.