Zachary Braiterman (Department of Religion, Syracuse University) writes in his blog on questions about Middle East Scholars and Librarians boycotting Israel.
As an organization, it would seem that MESA understands in sharper perspective than do the individual signatories to the boycott the purpose of its association, which would be the study of the Middle East in all its varied ramifications. With or without too much hope, my own view is that professors of Jewish Studies and Israel Studies should continue to seek common cause with those colleagues amenable to professional and personal contact and exchange. Especially given the fact that MESA as an organizational body opposes BDS, the best course of action would seem to me to be ones that isolate the phenomenon and contain the damage, to listen carefully to and when possible to heed colleagues, morally and politically. Certainly one should also push back where one thinks one should, while avoiding direct confrontation and the appearance of confrontation. Any act carries its own consequence. More often than not, the best course of action is not to act at all in an obviously hostile way. On the ground, Israel and Hamas prove again and again that each are their own worst enemies. Armed resistance against Israeli civilians has turned out to be a self-destructive act that only further isolates the Palestinian people. For its part, with the ongoing and deepening occupation of the 1967 territories, Israel does more to undercut its own moral, political, social, and national standing than any act of BDS by individual scholars who, by every measure, appear to hate the country with what can be shown to be an extreme prejudice.