February 18, 2009
A fledgling group calling itself the U.S. Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel now lists 193 faculty members and several student groups at American colleges as endorsing its call for a boycott.
David Lloyd, a professor of English at the University of Southern California who serves as a spokesman for the group, said its supporters were being urged to encourage colleges to divest from companies that provide weapons and weapons systems to the Israeli military. “This is going to be a grass-roots movement,” Mr. Lloyd said in interview. “Local groups will take whatever actions they think is appropriate.”
Mr. Lloyd, who is a member of the group”s organizing committee, said he saw Israel”s recent military actions in the Gaza Strip as “having a catalytic effect” in the formation of his organization last month. But, he said, the group”s efforts on behalf of the Palestinian people are for the long-term, and not in reaction to day-to-day events, such as military raids or cease-fires.
British faculty activists have pushed for several years to impose an academic boycott of Israel, but such efforts have been stymied. Last month a similar effort in Ontario was quickly enveloped in charges of anti-Semitism. –Peter Schmid