In an unprecedented move, a group of American university professors launched a national campaign calling for an academic and cultural boycott of Israel.
Analyst Robert Ivker noted in the winter 2007 edition of inFOCUS Quarterly that British academics have for years tried to impose similar boycotts against Israel. However, analyst Mitchell Bard notes that unlike in Britain, Israel enjoys a positive image and strong support in America, which will prevent the boycott from growing into a mass movement. Middle East scholar Martin Kramer also adds that an academic boycott would backfire because it is a gross violation of academic freedom and smacks of McCarthyism.
Still, the boycott underscores the dangerous admixture of academics and politics now rampant on U.S. college campuses, particularly in the field of Middle Eastern Studies. For more on this growing problem, see the most recent issue of inFOCUS Quarterly.