A recent study found that one out of every six Israeli academics hides his or her national identity when submitting drafts of research papers in order to avoid being a victim of the academic boycotts fueled by the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
“These are the new hidden Jews, the new anusim (forced converts) within Israeli academia,” said International Freedom of Research Center (IFRC) Director Sharona Goldenberg, who presented the study’s findings at a Tel Aviv conference on anti-Semitism and the BDS movement. “By putting them into a situation where they need to hide their identity, the boycotters are breaching their basic rights.”
The IFRC study, conducted last month, surveyed 500 Israeli academics who live in Israel and abroad. Israeli academics, according to the study, sometimes use only part of their name or a different name when they first submit proposal drafts. At other times, scholars will not use Israeli subjects in survey samples or data related specifically to Israel.
Goldenberg decided to conduct the survey based on her own fear to be identified as an Israeli.
“I had done a study on work hours in Europe and asked a Jewish colleague from overseas if he would have a look at it,” said Goldenberg. “The first thing he asked me was why I was only writing about Europe and not about Israel. I told him that I was afraid to be identified as Israeli, and that’s when I got the idea to do this study.”
In the United States, the Association for Asian American Studies and the American Studies Association have approved proposals to boycott Israeli universities. The American Anthropological Association passed a similar boycott resolution and is awaiting a vote by its membership to approve or reject the measure.