Ohio State’s decision to oppose the boycott against Israeli higher education only signals a stance against justice and human rights for Palestinians.
According to the American Studies Association, the boycott was put in place because of Israel’s human rights violations against the Palestinians.
“As with South Africa, Israel’s system of racial discrimination, at all institutional levels, constitutes apartheid as recognized by international law under the 2002 Rome Statue of the International Criminal Court,” according to the ASA website.
Academic freedom is essential in allowing growth and inspiration among all learners, but the concept needs to be applied fairly in the case of Palestinians and Israelis.
OSU released a statement on the decision in December.
“The principle of academic freedom includes the unfettered capacity to partner with other scholars and students around the world, and this proposed boycott is the antithesis to academic freedom,” the statement read. “Put simply, we believe that to limit the exchange of ideas is to limit human potential. As a public research and land-grant university, Ohio State was founded with a fundamental and abiding commitment to free and open inquiry, and our opposition to this proposed boycott underscores that commitment.”
While OSU has said it opposes the boycott because of academic freedom, the statement gives a clear double-standard against Palestinian rights for their own educational liberties.
The ASA website said Palestinian academic institutions are prevented from attending various academic dialogue and events because of restrictions placed upon them by the Israeli government.
Furthermore, Israeli academic institutions have reenforced the unjust policies implemented by the Israeli government, according to the ASA website.
Despite emphasizing academic freedom, OSU needs to look at the bigger picture of what is truly happening in an area where people’s rights are being restricted and taken away every day.
Palestinians are placed under strict residential laws and some are prevented from traveling to certain areas according to a CNN article by Yousef Munayyer, the executive director of the Palestinian Center and the Jerusalem Fund for Education and Community Development.
Although these unjust acts are evident, opponents will raise the obvious question, what about the terrorizing acts committed by the Palestinians?
The ASA website says the U.S. is one of the biggest supporters of Israel, and has provided most of Israel’s military and foreign aid.
The U.S. has provided more than $118 billion of aid to Israel since World War II, according to a Congressional Research Service report by Jeremy M. Sharp a specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs.
Israel has the military capability and support from the U.S., which places the Palestinians in a situation where they have to use weapons, which come from neighboring countries, according to an Al-Akhbar article by Hassan Illeik.
During the 22 day strike against Gaza in 2009, more than 1,300 children were killed along with 5,400 injured. The war also caused 13 Israeli citizens to be killed, according to a CNN article.
Through these statistics, there is a perspective I feel is missing in what is considered to be honest and realistic.
Regardless of the political differences of each side, the inhumane and unjust treatment of a group of people should not be disregarded.
We as students dedicate a part of our lives to enrich our minds, and no one should be deprived of that right.
Furthermore, obvious practice of injustice should be something that no university should stand for, and OSU has unfortunately turned their backs to those seeking their basic human rights.