I am writing in response to the article “Boycott Sparks Debate on Role of Academic Group” published Jan. 13, 2014. As a student at Pitt who has visited the Middle East on various occasions and has entered into both Jewish and Arab neighborhoods, I would like to shed some light on the atrocity of the Academic Studies Association boycott and the ‘detrim’ent it will bring to the student body at any university.
Professor Mazin Qumsiye~ parallels his trip through Israeli checkpoints effect on interregional academic integration with the ASA boycott of Israeli academic institutions. The ASA boycott is unparal- leled. It is based on an ideology of false condemnation of a sovereign people. Checkpoints were implemented beginning in 2000 to prevent terrorists (i.e. suicide bombers) from entering heavily populated Israeli neighborhoods. When traveling from Bethlehem to Jerusalem, my passport was checked routinely by an Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) soldier. No harm was done and I was grateful for the service of the IDF in halting terrorism across the Green Line.
Additionally, he comments that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel is analogous to the human rights fight in Apartheid-era South Africa. Human rights exist in Israel. Ramallah, Palestine, is a gorgeous city with constant imports of Israeli produce. According to online economics news source Trading Economics, 70 percent of all Palestinian imports are from Israel.
I am grateful to attend an academic institution that enables me to study freely in Israel and allows other students to grow academically while abroad in various countries. Every student at every American university should be provided with this opportunity.
Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences Campus Fellow, Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America