A Reply to Mohammed Abed

A Reply to Mohammed Abed

As before, I shall not debate the specific facts concerning Israel and Palestine; this must be left to those whose expertise lies in that area. As my article went to press, however, the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education (NATFHE) in Britain has voted to boycott Israeli universities and academics, and I shall discuss this case, because it illustrates several points in my argument.

I am very grateful to Mohammed Abed for the commitment to civil dialogue that he has shown throughout our exchange, which began last year at the American Philosophical Association. Let me begin by addressing his constructive proposal; I shall then turn to his counterarguments.

Abed’s proposal has two parts: first, that American and European academics might refuse to take part in academic activities inside Israel; second, and most centrally, that they should work together on creating dialogue by sponsoring events in Palestinian universities that “put Israeli, European, and American academics face-to-face with each other and with the appalling conditions in which Palestinians—academics included—are forced to live.” I find the latter proposal a wonderful idea, and I hope to join Abed in organizing such...

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