Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Israel boycott: update

Here is my Boston Globe column on the move by British educators and Canadian public employees to boycott Israeli institutions.

IN THE 1980s, there was a concerted movement to make South Africa a pariah state because of its policy of racial apartheid. Today, a similar effort is directed at the state of Israel. A week ago, the anti-Israel campaign achieved two significant victories. Britain's National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education, one of the country's two leading educators' associations, voted for a boycott of Israeli academics and colleges unless they take a stand against Israel's "apartheid policy." On the same day, the Ontario division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the largest labor union in Canada, voted for a boycott of Israel because of its treatment of Palestinians.

The British Foreign Office condemned the teachers' boycott as "counterproductive and retrograde." The reaction from Israel was even stronger. The chairman of the Knesset Committee for Science and Technology, Zevulun Orlev, asked the British parliament to "decry the anti-Semitic and racist decision."

Anti-Semitic or not, the movement to boycott Israel is hypocritical, sanctimonious, and quite simply wrong. It is a shocking example of selective outrage. Yes, Israeli policies are a legitimate target for criticism, and even most of Israel's supporters will admit there has been ill-treatment of Palestinians. Yet no one is demanding a boycott of Russian academics over Russia's occupation of Chechnya, and the accompanying atrocities (which dwarf Israel's human rights abuses in the occupied territories). No one wants to boycott China because of the occupation of Tibet, the persecution of religious minorities, and other abuses by the Chinese regime. No one wants to boycott Saudi Arabia because of its misogyny and religious intolerance.

Partly, this double standard is rooted in the familiar leftist mentality that strenuously condemns bad behavior by Western or pro-Western governments while turning a blind eye to the far worse misdeeds of communist and Third World regimes. But the movement to boycott Israel is especially repulsive for several reasons.

Apartheid-era South Africa, whose pariah status also reflected a double standard, was at least a truly repugnant regime intent on preserving white supremacy. Israel is a flawed democracy intent on preserving itself in the face of forces intent on its destruction.

What's more, the anti-Israel boycott combines this anti-Western, anti-democracy bias with an element of "picking on the little guy." The British professors and the Canadian public employees are not boycotting American institutions because of the occupation of Iraq. Obviously, such a boycott would cripple any institution's ability to function. But lashing out at Israel as a proxy for America is something that can be done with minimal inconvenience.

Nor should anti-Semitism be discounted. British scholar Mona Baker, a leading champion of the boycott, has written that while other countries are guilty of abuses, singling out Israel is appropriate because "Zionist influence [that is, Israeli influence] spreads far beyond its own immediate areas of dominion, and now widely influences many key domestic agendas in the West. . . This is particularly obvious in the case of the United States, where Zionist lobbies are extremely powerful with both Congress and the media." An international Jewish conspiracy: a sadly familiar tune.

Maybe American institutions should consider responding to such anti-Israel boycotts with their own boycotts. So far, the American Federation of Teachers has sent a letter to Britain's National Association of Teachers strongly condemning the move. The American Association of University Professors, which has generally taken a stand against academic boycotts, has remained quiet. * see clarification below

Jonathan Knight, who directs the American Association's program in academic freedom and tenure, told me that the issue is moot because the British group no longer exists as an independent body. On June 1, it merged with the British Association of University Teachers into a single group, the University and College Union, which is still deciding which policies of the two original organizations it will follow. The British Association of University Teachers previously approved a resolution to boycott Israel's academic institutions, but then rescinded it after an outcry.

Right now, while the decision is being pondered, would be a good time for the American Association to make a strong statement against this boycott. But this raises the issue of just how strongly the US group is committed to the anti-boycott cause. Its planned conference on academic boycotts came under fire for giving eight of the 22 speaking slots to strong supporters of the Israeli boycott -- and then collapsed after the revelation that the conference packet inadvertently included an anti-Semitic article from a Holocaust-denying magazine.

The American Association should now stand up and be counted. A boycott of Israel would be the shame of academe.


Not much to add to this at the moment; but for more of the history of the AAUP conference fiasco, see this article at Inside Higher Ed. See, also, this earlier article, and particularly the comments section for the posts by Joan C. Scott, chair of the AAUP Committee on Academic Freedom and one of the conference organizers. Scott blames

a carefully orchestrated campaign to abort the conference by a lobby of people (pro-Israel occupation)who believe that any representation of a point of view other than theirs is ananthema (sic)


Here come the tentacles of that Zionist conspiracy again! As one of the other commenters point out:

Joan Scott should say whether she is for an academic and cultural boycott of Israel or not; she should say whether she thinks that Israel has the right to exist within the 1967 borders or not. It shouldn’t be necessary to ask, but these days, it is.


After this fiasco, the AAUP's silence on the British vote becomes more significant, and more depressing.

More: Having re-read my column, I realized that I did not make it clear that the AAUP did issue a statement last year criticizing the AUT's vote endorsing a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.

However, as I said, the AAUP's subsequent behavior (the handling of the conference on the boycott and the silence on the latest NATFHE vote) does call into question the strength of its commitment to the anti-boycott cause.

33 comments:

michael schrage said...

i will confidently bet the aaup will not formally come out against an academic boycott of israel...why? not because the group is anti-semitic, anti-israel or cowardly but simply because the group doesn't care enough to institutionally confront the issue...

...as we have seen throughout campuses nationwide, the principle of 'academic freedom' has devolved into self-indulgent 'self interest' rather than an interest and concern of academe in general...
this principle of self-interest uber alles is what governs faculty, administrators and regents alike...and since it is difficult to imagine how an israel boycott by british academics will undermine american academic self interest (as they perceive it), it is thus equally difficult to imagine why the aaup will bother to intervene....aaup's attitude will be 'wait & see'...

Duke of DeLand said...

Is there any significance to the fact that the AAUP's initials, when spoken, seem to sound like the proverbial Southern "Aye-Yup"?

The comparison, unfair to true Southerners as a quite undeserved slap, can give quiet substantiation to the apparent single-minded determination by these elitist educators to pursue the liberal/socialist agenda while successfully ignoring facts.

Duke

Goesh said...

You make some excellant points. How utterly safe and mundane to pick on Israel. Oh the rot of the Left....

Cousin said...

Some Israel critics here have attacked the "hypocricy" claim (i.e., that nobody is boycotting the Arab League for Sudan, Russia, etc.) by arguing that two wrongs don't make a right and these other nations sins don't excuse Israel's.

I realized why that's so offensive. If policemen only ticketed African-American speeders while allowing white drunk drivers to swerve down the highway, that's by far the bigger societal problem. It's offensive to say that taking immediate corrective action against the police is supporting speeding.

Larry said...

We have the same problem in the Presbyterian Church USA where our leadership started a divestment process in 2004.

What you wrote, "Anti-Semitic or not, the movement to boycott Israel is hypocritical, sanctimonious, and quite simply wrong. It is a shocking example of selective outrage." also applies to the PCUSA.

There are groups in the PCUSA fighting against the leadership who is pushing the anti-Israel agenda.

Our website is
http://concernedpresbyterians.net/

Daniel in Brookline said...

Cousin's comment is astute. Just as in that example, the perceived human-rights abuses of Israel are insignificant, in severity and in number, to human-rights abuses elsewhere.

(They're also easily debatable, where others are not. We can argue, if you like, about whether long lines at Israeli checkpoints constitute human-rights abuses; but Iraqi mass graves, Sudanese machete-wielding mobs, and widespread starvation in North Korea don't leave much room for argument.)

If someone ignores a hundred large indisputable tragedies per day in one part of the world, but zeroes in on a handful of small debatable misfortunes per day in another, what does that say about a person's priorities?


In re the AAUP: Jews have long been the canaries in the coal mine for Western civilization, and Israel plays a similar role among the nations. If today we can boycott Israeli academics for the policies of their government, tomorrow we can boycott British academics -- or American academics -- who did not speak out strongly enough against the Iraq War.

This is no time for moral cowardice; this is not the time for standing on the sidelines. Academics can support the boycott of Israel or protest it, as they please; but they must not pretend that it won't affect them. It does, and it will.

respectfully,
Daniel in Brookline

MikeinSC said...

Some Israel critics here have attacked the "hypocricy" claim (i.e., that nobody is boycotting the Arab League for Sudan, Russia, etc.) by arguing that two wrongs don't make a right and these other nations sins don't excuse Israel's.

I realized why that's so offensive. If policemen only ticketed African-American speeders while allowing white drunk drivers to swerve down the highway, that's by far the bigger societal problem. It's offensive to say that taking immediate corrective action against the police is supporting speeding.


But, Cousin, I'm not sure your example is apropos here.

Let's say there is a massive epidemic of, say, speeding. And let's say the police simply target ONLY blacks for "special consideration" in this regard.

Would anybody not have a significant problem with police targeting ONLY blacks?

Israel is the ONLY country condemned. Them and them alone. At what point can one no longer deny that the condemnation is not due to "human rights violations" (of which Israel ALWAYS has a significantly smaller problem with than anybody else in that part of rhe world and most of the world as a whole) but simply due to the fact that they are Jews.

That A LOT of academia --- far moreso than any comparable group (in terms of political clout, job security, and money) --- is rather anti-Semitic only makes the problem more pronounced.
-=Mike

Revenant said...

It is times like this when I'm thankful that the academic establishment has little influence on public sentiment or government policy.

Anonymous said...

I'd be tempted to pass an anti-anti-semitism law denying non-U.S. citizens entry into the U.S. if they are members of "Nazi parties, neo-Nazi organizations, or any organization engaged in collective punishment targetted at Jews", with an explanatory clause in the law specifying that these Israel boycotts count as Jew-targetting collective punishments.

It's a bit of a blunt hammer, and would certainly provoke howls of outrage. But then, it would be intended to provoke outrage.

Revenant said...

I'd be tempted to pass an anti-anti-semitism law denying non-U.S. citizens entry into the U.S

I think that would be a horrible idea, both because it would show contempt for freedom of speech and because it would be counterproductive to US interests.

dick said...

michael schrage ,

Strikes me that if the AAUP doesn't care enough to take a stand against this issue, then it is implicitly approving the issue. Is that really what you think the AAUP should stand for? Remember that first they came for.... example.

I am wondering if the Israelis should in retaliation just refuse to allow the Brits to use anything developed in Israel. That would knock out a lot of their computer software and their medical devices. Guess then they would have some idea of the relative investment the Israelis have made in the West vs the investment the Palis have made in the West. I doubt if they would even believe that though because it would go against all their core beliefs and God forbid someone dare to challenge their misguided bigoted beliefs. Makes me wish I could deny my Anglo background that these asshats can do this and get people to support the, especially considering the terrorist attacks in Europe lately. What are these people thinking - or is that an oxymoron.

Anonymous said...

As noted by commenter "gr" over on the Volokh blog, the AAUP issued a rejection of the boycott over a year ago:

Link

Anonymous said...

...thus furthering my thesis that any university professor possessing a "degree" in any fuzzy studies does not deserve to be regarded with any more respect that we would give a pimp. Oops, the pimp actually provides a service. Sorry, all you pimps out there. No sorry at all to the jokesters possessing wimpy, mushy, "degrees" in the non-sciences. Babble on...nobody cares except your fellow wimipy, mushy students...and journalists.

Cathy Young said...

Just to clarify:

The AAUP has issued a statement against the boycott a year ago, and has taken a stance against academic boycotts in general. However, it has yet to speak out against this vote.

Anonymous said...

Revenant --

I said I was tempted. Temptations are impulses for resisting, not indulging; they go against your better judgment. That is why they are called temptations, not inspirations.

So, yes, I already said it was a horrible idea.

However, note a boycott is not speech, but an unenumerated right, and membership in a body is not speech, but another unenumerated right. The tendency to name certain unenumerated rights improperly as enumerated rights tends to assist in the denial and disparagment of other unenumerated rights not so easily associated. The result puts the house of liberty in greater peril, as solid timbers are shifted from portions of the roof that are already weakly supported to where the roof already has strong beams.

Anonymous said...

I oppose the Israeli boycott. Israel's human rights violations are nowhere close to severe enought o justify it. Punishing Israeli academics, many or whom have worked hard to minimize the destructive policies of the Israeli gov (settlements, etc.) is especially egregious. Academics from any country should be the last people boycotted, because the free exchange of information is so important to preventing human rights abuses.

Having been in academia for several years, however, I find the charge that there are large numbers of anti-semites laughable, particularly since their are many Jewish academics representing all of the various hues of political opinion.

Finally, one reason that western nations are boycotted is because boycotts might actually have some effect on them because they are in some sense accountable to their citizens who suffer from the boycotts. Castro or the Saudi royal family does not care and cannot be made to care by their subjects.

Bill Capehart said...

"The AAUP has issued a statement against the boycott a year ago, and has taken a stance against academic boycotts in general. However, it has yet to speak out against this vote."

Yes they have

http://www.adl.org/Israel/Letter_aaup.asp

As far as AAUP not crying it from the mountaintop now (despite the ADL letter exchange which was pretty darned explict), they may be waiting for UCU to rule on it. The AUT (which slapped it down the last time) along with its "sister" union NATFHE (which pulled the lasted stunt) have just merged to make the UCU and the leadership sees this as a major liability to the new union. The current call for a boycott is also being condemned by many NATFHE/AUT/UCU members who oppose the boycott as it was pushed through by a rather undemocratic method and, like the AUT stunt, did not represent the rank-and-file membership. Only the most fanatic of the true believers are considering it to be binding. Everyone against the boycott is telling them to get stuffed.

In short, the people pushing the boycott, though they are getting "good press," are burning through their karma, the patience of their fellow union members, and their bridges at an astounding rate.

Revenant said...

anon,

A few points:

(1): "I'm tempted to do X" does not imply that you think X is a bad idea. In English usage, it implies you're considering X but haven't decided yet.

(2): The boycott is protected under the rights of speech (choosing not to talk to or quote Israelis), press (choosing not to publish their results or cite their results), and assembly (choosing not to associate with them). All of these rights are enumerated (in the same amendment, even).

(3): It is ironic that you express concern about unenumerated rights but have no problem suggesting the government use unenumerated *powers*. Nothing in the Constitution explicitly gives Congress the right to screen who may enter the country.

Anonymous said...

i'm getting an impression that many of you believe that this is an act by every single Briton, otherwise just what would an 'anti-anti semitism law' mean.

-canuck- said...

the Moonbats run the show

David said...

See Self-selection: anti-Semitic academics face extinction

nike said...

Rubber. Rubber is widly used in the outsole of the athletic shoes.
cheap puma shoes
cheap sport shoes
discount puma shoes
It has the advantages of durable, skipproof, flexible, elastic, extensive, stable and proper hardness.
But the rubber is weighty and easy to be frosting, nonrecoverable.
nike shox torch
nike tn dollar
cheap nike shox
PU. PU is a kind of macromolecule polyurethane materials
cheap nike shox shoes
nike shox r4
puma mens shoes
Sometimes, it is also used in the outsole of casual shoes.
PU is durable, strong hardness, upstanding flexbility and more important,
cheap nike max
discount nike shox
cheap puma ferrari shoes
The disadvantage is also outstanding. Strong hydroscopic property, go yellow easily,
EVA. Ethylene –Vinyl Acetate Copolymer
nike mens shoes
nike shox nz
discount nike running shoes
which is usually used in the midsole of the running shoes and casual shoes.
EVA is quite lightweight, elastic, flexible and suitable to a variety of climates.
discount nike shoes
nike shox shoes
cheap nike shoes
Just as the rubber, it is also nonrecoverable and go dirty easily.
PHYLON. Phylon is the product of the EVA after the second processing.
nike sports shoes
puma running shoes
puma sneakers
The midsole of running shoes, tennis shoes and basketball shoes in the world is made of the PHYLON.
nike air max tn
puma cat
puma shoes
The upstanding hardness, density, traction and extension make it favorite by the manufacture.
Besides, the lightweight and good flexibility could prolong the life of the shoes.
nike running shoes
wholesale nike shoes
nike shoes
Just as a coin has two sides, Phylon is nonrecoverable and easily shrink under high temperature.
nike shoes kids
nike women shoes

nike said...

You will never find swimsuit more excellent than in Ed Hardy!
ed hardy ugg boots
ed hardy love kills slowly boots
ed hardy love kills slowly
We provide you with the sexiest swimwear at present. Wanting to be bright on beach in this
ed hardy polo shirts
ed hardy love kills slowly shoes
ed hardy wear
Abandoning traditional concepts on sexy swimwear, Ed Hardy adds tattoo upon, which is meaning
how your outline if only you like now! Genuine material admits you to throw your whole worr
ed hardy love kills slowly shirts
ed hardy trousers
ed hardy jackets
It seems that ed hardy mens shoes was difficult to be able to let you exist out in swimwear, the
just fold, flouncing, bow and swim suits, Ed Hardy has been widely worn in open.
ed hardy t shirts sale
ed hardy womens t shirts
ed hardy boots
In the trunks term, the Panerai candy-flush has mainly took the Louis Vuitton Speedy purpose
I fondness ed hardy womens Swimwear shirts, and other printing of
ed hardy womens clothes
ed hardy womens shirts
ed hardy clothes
swimwear in an austere tone proposal combines the exclusive tailoring,
wimwear this summer to become the mainstream trend. Cool down, sunshine fair,
ed hardy outerwear
ed hardy womens
ed hardy womens jeans
green MOISTURE, attractive red no other elements,
together with the unique thwart-buckle create worn, immediately show a charming beauty.
ed hardy bags
ed hardy winter boots
ed hardy t shirts
Whether it is sexy bikini, or cross-quantity g-star
trunks intended to reach new heights with this dynamic.Enjoy yourself on Ed Hardy Bikini Swimsuit please!
ed hardy bags
ed hardy winter boots
ed hardy t shirts
The desired redden of this type
of bag, but once again the label that ed hardy and the Christian Audigier Brand Manage
Louboutin at MAGIC in August 2009.
ed hardy t shirts for men
ed hardy mens jeans
ed hardy mens shoes
The total spectrum of Audigier Brand Management lifestyle brands and crop will be
including ed hardy shirts, Christian Audigier, SMET, Crystal Rock, C-Bar-An and R
ed hardy mens shoes
ed hardy womens hoodies
ed hardy mens tees
food ranging from ment and woment garb, accessories, footwear.

aiya said...

Office 2010
Microsoft Office 2010
Microsoft word
Office 2007
Microsoft Office
Microsoft Office 2007
Office 2007 key
Office 2007 download
Office 2007 Professional
Outlook 2010
Microsoft outlook
Microsoft outlook 2010
Windows 7

Peter said...

nice share thanks a lot :)

download free pc games
affiliate review

Friday said...

All the inexpensive christian louboutin heels and louboutin heels for retailing within our shop may be to provide options of first-class quality. The christian louboutin evening total excellent offer could possibly be the good and trendy one.They consider spot in fascinating pattern and layout and trendy appearnce.The colourway also is pretty popular. These christian louboutin pumps are luxury and noble. The christian louboutin peep toe display formal, a total excellent offer additional display its gorgeous gloss and honour. maintain into some mysterious alluring taste! This pairs of christian louboutin 2011 sandals attributes a pretty considerable element for women's fabulous complete program figure, display their fabulous figure and trendy gesture. Louboutin heels is really a superior selection for you, welcome to our Christian louboutin store!

Friday said...

The christian louboutin outlet heels can help you become sexy and elegant. Cheap christian louboutin sandals are regarded since the symbolic representation of attractive and elegant.Christian Louboutin Ankle BootsIt is especially suitable for the women who wear theChristian Louboutin Collection 2011 shoes at the first time.These Christian Louboutin Heels 2011 combine top quality, reasonable price and fashional design, which is your best choice Artist who promoted his collection of luxury women's Christian Louboutin Peep Toes in earlier 90s. No 1 can disregard the existence in the style world, World-famous red-colored soles and Christian Louboutin Pumps Sale are shaped features. However, you can by no means overlook the beautiful. You do not even need to go inside environment, as well as your slim, gorgeous and graceful legs may be effortlessly discovered in people's eyes! Welcome to our louboutin mall to buy discount louboutins heels.

atom said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6E0Ajxm2q4c

Bob_Alfredo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob_Alfredo said...

Nice information, many thanks to the author. It is incomprehensible to me now, but in general, the usefulness and significance is overwhelming. Thanks again and good luck!!

Internet Marketing

Admin said...

Nice article, I am a big time fan of your site, keep up the nice work, and I will be a frequent visitor for a very long time.


Imaging Logo

justin albert said...

You have a very good blog that the main thing a lot of interesting and useful!
Applications Development

Mia Smith said...

It's really amazing work, I am inspired by your work and obviously this blog. Amazon Promo Codes
American Eagle Promo Code
AutoZone Coupons
Barnes & Noble Coupon Code
Barneys Warehouse Coupons
bebe Coupon Codes
Bed Bath and Beyond Coupon
Best Buy Coupons
Bluefly Coupon Codes
Groupon Promo Codes
Haggar Coupons
JcPenney Coupons
Kohls Coupons
Light In The Box Coupons
Macy's Coupon
Next Day Flyers Coupon Codes
Overstock Promo Codes
Sears Coupons
SmartBargains Coupons
Target Promo Codes
Walmart Coupon Codes
Woot Coupon Codes