Hundreds in academic world sign anti-BDS petition


(JTA) — More than 620 people from scores of universities have signed an online petition opposing academic boycotts of Israel.

The petition, for professionals working in academia, says the undersigned “vigorously support free speech and free debate but we oppose faculty or student boycotts of Israel’s academic institutions, scholars and students.”

Launched on Sept. 15, the petition criticizes the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, saying it “violates the very principle of academic freedom.” It also criticizes the BDS movement for basing its “accusations and narratives” on “overstatements, cherry picked evidence, outright falsehood” or “disputed or highly biased data.”

Among the signatories are Alan Dershowitz, an emeritus professor at Harvard Law School; Eric Alterman, a City University of New York journalism professor and columnist for The Nation; Judea Pearl, a UCLA computer science professor and father of slain journalist Daniel Pearl; and Deborah Dash Moore, director of the Frankel Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan.

Most of the signatories are affiliated with universities in North America and Israel.

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