The Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa (ASMEA) is an organization devoted to the academic study of two of the world’s most important regions. Uniquely for an academic organization, it is predicated on the belief that the US and Israel are forces for good in the world. ASMEA’s parent, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME), is an international network of over 40,000 scholars devoted to the cause of peace and tolerance.
With Israel under attack the very concept of peace has been shouted down on North American college and university campuses and beyond. Students and faculty who are pro-peace or Jewish have been threatened, abused, and even assaulted by Hamas supporters on campus. Faculty members have been shouted down and marginalized, while university administrators offer weak condemnation of Hamas’ terror, or worse, even-handed condemnations of ‘all violence.’ Hundreds of faculty members, including Jewish studies professors, have even signed open letters accusing Israel of provoking Hamas’ butchery through “structural apartheid.”
The rapid spread of misinformation regarding the origins and nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continue to be a key battlefront here in North America. Too many academics have wrapped their hatred of Israel in trendy terms, such as ‘intersectionality’ and ‘decolonization.’ These are intended to disguise the brutal nature of Hamas and its goals. As we recently highlighted,
Decolonization dissolves fundamental categories of combatants and civilians, it legitimizes everything including the abuse of corpses, and demands our acquiescence in the name of “resistance” and “liberation.” It renders international law meaningless except to bend it over backwards as a tool of violence. Decolonization is thus an explicit license for ethnic cleansing and genocide, provided it is done by, and against, the proper people. Not surprisingly, “decolonization” increasingly dominates university courses and academic discourse.
Fortunately enlightened university donors have finally begun pushing back against institutions that have let antisemitism in the guise of antizionism run wild. But an uphill battle remains to be fought on the faculty front. Together SPME and ASMEA support faculty members who now find themselves under attack in new ways. The resources we provide, including training materials, briefings, webinars, and the moral support of a large network, are more important than ever. ASMEA’s academic conference is also a unique setting where those who believe in open discourse can assemble to learn and exchange ideas as well as show our friends and colleagues in Israel that we are here to support them.