Like any other democracy, Israel’s is imperfect and therefore open to reasonable criticism. There is certainly no a priori reason for suspecting the critics of Israel of unworthy motives. On the other hand, we do know that there are people who, under color of universal human values, criticize Israel because, not to put too fine a point on it, they don’t like Jews. So it is often a bit of a quandary to figure out, in any given circumstance, the preponderant motivation of the critic.
To solve this quandary, if only in the case of a single initiative by a group of Israel critics, we now have the ingenious work of Fred Gottheil, a University of Illinois economist. Gottheil contacted the 675 professor who signed an anti-Israel petition (a statement alleging human rights violations, and all the rest). Without making reference to their petition, he asked each of these signers to endorse a protest against human rights violations in Muslim countries. The result: of the 675 scholars he contacted, only 27 would endorse his proposed protest. So it appears that, at least in this case, fully ninety-six percent of the academic criticism of Israel was hypocritical. Except for a small minority, the signers did not appear to be moved by universsal human values at all. They don’t like Israel, pure and simple.
Gottheil’s project was carried out with sophistication and care, but of course, like any study in the social sciences, it has its limitations and cannot give an absolutely definitive answer to the questions it poses. But the results came back so clear-cut that they certainly constitute very strong evidence for the conclusion: this particular anti-Israel effort was 96% hypocritical.