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The Israel 'BDS' movement's moral bankruptcy

To the editor: As a college instructor in New York, I can say that Thomas Doherty is absolutely right: The American Studies Assn.'s boycott of Israel was a stupid and biased move that removed any scholarly patina from the group. ("The Israel boycott that backfired," Op-Ed, Nov. 5)

That so many people connected to the ASA recoiled from the boycott—and the group's attempts to backtrack from it whenever it made them look openly prejudiced — shows that the boycott is immoral and unpopular.

The ASA's embrace of the extremist "boycott, divestment, sanctions" movement and its obsession with vilifying Israel serves as the perfect example of how not to run a scholarly association.

Sara Miller, New York

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To the editor: Doherty makes good points about the inconsistency of the ASA's attempt to punish Israel as "singularly toxic." But I can imagine that in the history of efforts to do something about repressive regimes, the same charge could be made regarding other countries.

Since Doherty is silent on the Israeli government's theft of Palestinian land in violation of international law, I have to assume he approves or has plans to write an opinion piece on what critics should do about it.

Scott S. Smith, West Hollywood

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