To the editors:

For the second time in as many weeks, Orient contributors have published articles as agents of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a movement that has called for an “academic and cultural boycott of Israeli institutions.”

Israel is not a perfect nation, and there are certainly aspects of its domestic and foreign policy that are open to criticism and debate. But make no mistake, the “Petition for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel” that has been circulated by SJP, is deeply anti-Semitic and should be labeled as such.

I make this claim within the framework of our State Department under former Secretary Clinton and President Obama who adopted the “Three Ds” test for identifying twenty-first century anti-Semitism

1. Demonization: SJP and its agents consistently and unfairly demonize Israel and compare its “genocidal practices” to those of the Nazis during the Holocaust or South African apartheid.  Such comparisons are, of course, illegitimate and false.

2. Double Standards: The petition notes “Israel’s systemic violation of fundamental human rights.” The multitudes of nations with significantly worse human rights records than Israel (China, Russia and Saudi Arabia to name a small few) are left unmentioned.

3. Delegitimization: The petition questions Israel’s fundamental right to exist as a Jewish state and SJP’s agents label Zionism (the movement articulating the principle of Jewish self-determination) as racist.

SJP and their boycott petition fail the test.

In 2011, the State Department’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Hannah Rosenthal said, “When all academics and experts from Israel are effectively banned or their conferences boycotted, or individual Jews are held responsible for Israeli policy—this is not objecting to a policy—this is anti-Semitism.” 

Rather than boycotting Israel, Bowdoin should strive to invite those from all viewpoints to campus and expand debate towards the shared goal of a peaceful two-state solution.


Alex Linhart ’06