BDS is petty: professors hope to alter world affairs by denying letters of recommendation to their students

Academic culture is supposed to be a model of cooperation that transcends political, cultural, national conflicts. I’ve worked on joint collaborations that included American, Iranian and Israeli researchers, all working together with common professional goals. It’s supposed to be a demonstration of what we can accomplish through positive engagement. But then something like BDS comes along and tries to derail the whole project, putting political conflict ahead of academic values. The results are petty, damaging, and ultimately ineffectual. These professors are trying to change the world by withholding letters of recommendation from students who want to study in Israel. This is simply an act of sabotage against young people who depend on them but don’t share their views. Just nauseating.

Why Evolution Is TrueWhy Evolution Is True wrote the following post Wed, 10 Oct 2018 09:15:17 -0600
Discipline for University of Michigan prof who wouldn’t write a letter for a student to study in Israel; but another UM teacher refuses to write a similar letter on anti-Israel grounds
Well cut off my legs and call me Shorty! (Is that ableist?) You may remember the fracas about John Cheney-Lippold, a University of Michigan (UM) cultural studies professor who refused to write a letter for a student, Abigail Ingber, who wanted to study in Tel Aviv for a semester. (See my four posts on it […]
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#BDS #israel #CriticalTheory #activism
Hashtag “hijacking” of #HimToo

I’ve always thought hashtag activism is dubious, especially when ad hoc social movements start to imagine they have some kind of collective IP ownership of their preferred hashtags. They are, after all, just arbitrary descriptors people individually and spontaneously attach to their personal posts. It’s double-dubious when movements imagine they have a claim against opposition hashtags that they perceive as undercutting their own visibility. As far as I’m concerned, there is no viable theory of hashtag etiquette or ethics.

The story of #HimToo is traced in the short article linked below. It evolved through various uses, recently taking on brief meanings: male victims of sexual assault; then male perpetrators of sexual assault; then males falsely accused of sexual assault; now it marks support for Kavanaugh. The story shows the inherent weakness of hashtags as tools for social organizing. I think we need to just accept that these little index labels are ephemeral and under no ones’ control. If we can accept that, then there are plenty of good uses for them.

How #HimToo Became the Anti #MeToo of the Kavanaugh Hearings


HimToo has meant many things over the last three years. The latest is a hashtag hijacking, like #AllLivesMatter, spawned as a sexist rebuttal to Christine Blasey Ford.

#MeToo #HashTags #activism #SocialMedia #SocialJustice