July 4, 2018
Last month, the University of California at Berkeley hosted the annual conference of the Association of Israel Studies. The fact that the professional meeting of Israel scholars was held there is a testament to the Berkeley faculty, who have built one of the premier Israel Studies programs in the country. What they have done demonstrates that campuses can and do change with the proper motivation and funding, and that analyses of the campus climate toward Israel that ignore these positive developments are misleading the Jewish community.
Many people who talk about the BDS movement and antisemitism, and claim the situation today is worse than ever have no historical memory. The battles on campus did not begin with Students for Justice in Palestine or the divestment movement. In fact, they have been going on since the 1960s, and Berkeley has long been considered ground zero for Israel’s detractors.