Letter to the Editor | Reject BDS movement on campus

By Amelia Peterson

In recent weeks, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has re-emerged on campus, leaving me to wonder where its boundaries lie. This movement would have the University single out Israel for boycott, divestment and sanctions.

To completely sever the University’s tie with Israel would not only affect students’ relationships with quite a few influential companies, but the implications of a total divestment run far darker.

If BDS is targeting Israeli companies, why wouldn’t it extend to the publishing industry? The logical conclusion to this movement’s line of thinking seems to be a boycott of all books and journals published out of Israel.

As a student of library and information science, I find intellectual freedom to be incredibly valuable; in an academic setting, censorship of publications would be disastrous for dialog and debate.

A significant portion of research in many fields comes out of the state of Israel. If BDS is implemented at the University, would the library no longer purchase access to these publications?

If the University wishes to remain a highly-regarded research institution, then this suggestion is absurd. Even if BDS is only calling for a boycott of Israeli companies outside of publishing, the results will be equally disastrous.

The companies they wish to divest from are part of the research network in Israel and are therefore essential to the larger research community world-wide. Many produce breakthroughs in technology essential to areas such as health, defense and agriculture, and quite a few of these companies have accepted graduates of the University as employees.

Does the University really want to turn its back on these partnerships? As someone who appreciates this University’s high academic standing, I say we ought to unequivocally reject BDS on this campus.

Amelia is earning her masters in Library and Information Sciences.

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