Georgetown Professors to boycott Israeli academic institutions

For decades, the  Muslim Brotherhood has found American academia to be fertile ground to push it’s agenda with the Israeli/Palestinian issue frequently in the forefront.

In 2005, the Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel movement (known commonly as BDS) was started as a campaign for “the Palestinian struggle for justice“.  Critics have labled it antisemitic and linked to the terror group Hamas.   The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) is considered a key part of  the BDS movement.

On December 30, 2013, Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia had issued a statement denouncing the boycott.

A January 2014  Washington Post article noted that, “Many university leaders in the Washington region and elsewhere are denouncing a movement to boycott academic institutions in Israel” adding that,  “… presidents of several major universities in Maryland, Virginia and the District in the past two weeks have issued, co-signed or endorsed statements of opposition to a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.” 

13 Georgetown professors apparently do to not share the views of DeGioia and other DC area university heads.  On September 16, 2014,  Georgetown University’s student newspaper The Hoya  reported:

13 Professors Boycott Israeli Universities

After receiving 13 professors’ signatures, Georgetown has become the most-represented university involved in the American Studies Association’s boycott of Israeli academic institutions since the petition’s creation last month.

Georgetown professors who signed the boycott petition include Center for Contemporary Arab Studies Director Osama Abi-Mershed, Founding Director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding John Esposito, Yvonne Haddad and Judith Tucker, among other signatories.

The boycott is a part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, which aims to aid Palestinian civil society by increasing economic and political pressure on Israel. The academic petition came as a response to recent turmoil regarding the Israeli military occupation of the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

It was  noted that Tucker, Haddad and Esposito said that their involvement in the boycott will in no way affect their roles as professors at the university, yet  the Hoya article included:

The petition’s signatories pledge that they will not publish in Israeli academic journals, teach at Israeli institutions, attend conferences at Israeli universities or work on any projects with Israeli academic institutions.

Esposito said he believed the boycott could help prevent violations of Palestinian rights:

[I hope] to put pressure on and to boycott institutions that violate international law and as a result violate the rights of Palestinians,” Esposito wrote in an email. “There can be no excuse for the cycle of violence that has taken so many lives in Palestine/Israel over the years, and terrorized both Palestinians and Israelis, and most recently in Gaza, the slaughter of so many innocent civilians, especially women and children must be stopped.

The signed letter and Esposito’s involvement was highlighted by the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch in a September 8, 2014 report  noting:

Dr. Esposito has at least a dozen past or present affiliations with global Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas organizations including having served on the advisory board of the Institute of Islamic Political Thought in the UK headed by Azzam Tamimi, a leader in the U.K. Muslim Brotherhood and often described as a Hamas spokesman. Dr. Esposito has also served with global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi on the Steering Committee of the Circle of Tradition and Progress and enjoyed a close relationship with the United Association For Studies and Research (USAR), part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee and part of the Hamas support infrastructure.

The  Cardinal Newman Society has also reported on the boycott, pointing out:

Committed to increasing American understanding of the Muslim world, Esposito is no stranger to controversy and has been accused by pro-Israel groups of working too closely and in sympathy with leaders in the Muslim Brotherhood. In 2001, Stanley Kurtz of the Hudson Institute charged Esposito with believing that “the political program of Islamic fundamentalism is in fact democratic” and that it is America’s “narrow Western definition of democracy” that causes misunderstanding.

The Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, which Esposito directs, was founded in 1993. In 2005, Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal donated $20 million to the Center, which was renamed in his honor. Although Alwaleed reportedly fired a television chief for his public Muslim Brotherhood ties last year, the Prince has also been connected to the Muslim Brotherhood in the past.  In 2002, he gave $500,000 to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which has links to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, according to The Clarion Project.

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COMMENT/ANALYSIS:     For decades, the  Muslim Brotherhood has found American academia to be fertile ground to push it’s agenda with the Israeli/Palestinian issue frequently in the forefront.   We recently mentioned Dr. Esposito in, New University of Florida Islamic Center launch to feature Muslim Brotherhood supporter .

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