A new report by the grassroots Zionist group Im Tirtzu on Thursday exposed the leading role played by top Israeli academics in promoting the BDS boycott movement - which includes an academic boycott of Israel aiming to harm research in the Jewish state.
The report focuses on the Israeli Anthropological Association as a case study so as to reveal just how involved Israeli academics are in encouraging the international movement pressing for an academic boycott of Israel, which would consequently harm Israel's economy.
What Im Tirtzu found is that leading Israeli professors who receive salaries funded by Israeli taxpayers legitimize and often promote boycott efforts - including those that directly harm the institutions where they work.
Those actions come despite the fact that the Israeli Council for Higher Education back in 2012 passed a resolution explicitly rejecting academic boycotts targeting Israel coming from Israeli academics.
The Israeli Anthropological Association was examined in the report, which exposed its growing involvement with efforts for an academic boycott of Israel that particularly escalated after the American Anthropological Association (AAA) in 2013 began discussing such a boycott.
A vote on whether or not to boycott Israeli academic institutions will be held by the AAA's 10,000 members on May 31 this year, targeting all institutions in Israel regardless of whether or not they are over the 1949 Armistice line.
Undermining BDS opposition
In response to the growing resolution, the Israeli Anthropological Association back in August 2014 wrote to AAA, protesting against the boycott.
But even as the association fought the boycott, a group of 20 Israeli anthropologists - many of whom teach in public institutions - wrote to the AAA praising the effort and urging passage of the boycott resolution.
Later in 2015 the AAA sent a task force to create a biased report on the situation in Israel, which repeatedly quoted anonymous Israeli academics to give a veneer of legitimacy to its distortions and accusations.
The report was published in July 2015 - several months after the Israeli Anthropological Association had sent another letter to the AAA in which it capitulated to the boycott pressure by criticizing Israel for its "occupation," even while calling for the AAA not to level an academic boycott.
Once again, a group of 22 "anonymous" Israeli anthropologists wrote their own letter to AAA shortly after the Israeli Anthropological Association letter, and again they called to boycott Israel, writing, "we urge all members of the AAA to join in supporting the academic boycott resolution on the spring ballot."
"Cutting off the branch they sit on"
Im Tirtzu in its new report reveals that all of the anthropologists who called for the boycott in the first letter are members of radical leftist organizations, which receive huge foreign funding and work against the state from within.
Furthermore not all of the Israeli academics currently live in Israel, with many of them directly connected to foreign organizations or the international BDS movement.
Matan Peleg, CEO of Im Tirtzu, condemned the radical minority for operating from within Israel in order to impose international pressure on it.
"Decision-makers and presidents of Israeli universities look to combat the international BDS movement, but completely ignore the boycott phenomenon from within Israel that is being led by Israeli academics," said Peleg.
"It is sad to see that those leading the boycott are cutting off the branch on which they are sitting and are working behind the scenes in order to mortally wound the future of Israeli academia."
Touching on the motives of the boycott movement, he said, "the BDS movement is driven by blind hatred towards the State of Israel and is equipped with tremendous resources. Faced with the consistent attempt to harm the Israeli public, we as citizens need to mobilize against it. The State of Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, and the only country in the region that preserves human and civil rights."
"The Im Tirtzu movement will continue to use all the tools at its disposal to fight against this theater of absurdity in which Israeli academics are playing the leading role."