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In “Applause for the academic boycott of Israel” (Perspective, Jan. 30), George Bisharat, a professor at the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law, is trying to have it both ways — exercising his own academic voice while silencing other voices. The American Studies Association’s outrageous vote to boycott Israel is antithetical to the fundamental ideals of education. Academia thrives on talking about issues and engaging all sides. You can’t do that if you choose to boycott a portion of your colleagues.

The ASA boycott vote aims to silence cooperation with scholars in the only democracy in the Middle East — one with academic freedoms that are the envy of much of the world. If the aim of academia is to debate, discuss and enlighten, a boycott has the opposite effect.

The Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement comes in many forms, but its mission is the same: Organizers grasp at ways to delegitimize Israel. BDS supporters hide behind the myth that they are aiming for openness when, in fact, their methods are disingenuous.

— Allan J. Jacobs, president, B’nai B’rith International, Washington