government official received a message instructing him to abstain from a BDS vote because of his connection to the “ Jewish agenda .” Damningly , one recent study found that the strongest predictor of anti-Jewish sentiment on campus was the presence of a BDS campaign .
There has also been a surge in attempts to mount academic boycotts of Israel . BDS activists have been testing the waters and forming relationships within academic associations for years . The American Anthropological Association ( AAA – 11,000 members ) and the National Women ’ s Studies Association ( NWSA – 2,000 members ) passed BDS resolutions , though the AAA ’ s full membership narrowly voted down the resolution in an online vote .
What does this portend ? The academic boycotts do not add up to a whole lot . The American Studies Association ( ASA – 5,000 members ), which voted to boycott Israel in 2014 , has been plagued by internal squabbles about how to implement the boycott . And when push comes to shove , it ’ s very difficult to keep Israeli academics from attending conferences , despite the boycotter ’ s original intentions . Nevertheless , these boycotts send a powerful message to professors and students that Israel ’ s legitimacy is somehow suspect .
The true battle on campus is to ensure that America ’ s next generation understands Israel , empathizes with its struggles , and appreciates the value of the U . S . - Israel relationship . That ’ s a battle we must win .