Thursday, January 29, 2009

U.S. campaign for academic boycott of Israel

There is now a U.S. Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel, alongside the British one that the UCU was forced to halt because it broke UK anti-discrimination laws. See this article in Inside Higher Ed for information on the campaign. This is in addition to a group called Teachers Against Occupation, which recently formed, and which publicized an open letter to President Obama written by David Lloyd (USC) and signed by about 900 academics. For the text of the letter and the signatories, see article in the Daily Star (Lebanon), also available here.

It's a very dispiriting letter, placing the entire blame on Israel, accusing it of committing "one of the most massive, ethnocidal atrocities of modern times." The last paragraph says that, "Almost certainly, the only hope of a lasting solution is a single state in Israel/Palestine, committed to the civil and human rights of all peoples within its boundaries, irrespective of religion or ethnicity. That is, after all, the standard to which we hold all other states in the world, Israel alone excepted."

What do they mean by a single state - what would happen to the Jews living in this single state once they are a minority in it? How can the Jews of Israel and Hamas live together in a single state without an even worse state of war than the one that exists right now? I'm not defending what Israel has done in Gaza - I think I've made it clear in this blog that I think that Israel should not have attacked Gaza, that negotiations are the only way to peace, that Israel should be talking to Hamas.

A single state is not the way to peace, it is the way to perpetual war. It is the way to worse atrocities than the ones we have just seen committed.

Even more dispiriting to me personally is that I know some of the people who have signed this letter.

Update: Haaretz today (1/29/09) has a good article on this boycott attempt.


  1. the ethic cleansing of palestine in 1948 was one of the worst crimes committed in modern history, and should be seen as such. it is also the reason why this conflict will not end. israel must recognize this fact and not celebrate it. the two state solution is unworkable because of the illegal settlements and the 'jeruselum question'.if the jews don't like the single state solution thy can always go back to their original homeland. for centuries the jews mixed peacefully with the arab majority of palestine until zionism changed all that by provoking the arab world and its racist immoral policies. zionism can never survive

  2. Hmm, where to start with the problems in your comment. "One of the worst crimes committed in modern history" - since modern history includes such crimes as the Holocaust, the Rwanda and Cambodia genocides, the massive deaths that occurred when India and Pakistan became independent, the civil war in Sri Lanka which has killed over 70,000 people, not to mention the 5 million who have died in the Congo in the 1990s and 2000s - I think that you've overstated your case even if I accept everything else you've said (which I do not, of course).

    And so where are "the Jews" (such a nice anti-semitic touch there) supposed to return to? The several hundred thousand Jews who came to Israel from the Arab countries - do you think that Morocco, Libya, Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, etc. will accept them back? No, I didn't think so.

    For further refutations, see Z-Blog or Harry's Place.

  3. Rebecca, I thought it interesting when you made reference to Jews and "Hamas" sharing a single about we refer to the Jews as "Likud" so let's say Hamas and Likud sharing a single state. There, now it sounds toxic!
    I agree with sassinfras that there can only be a single state solution. As for the Jews becoming a minority...did your immigrant parents ask the same question in regards to the Palestinian Arabs (Jews, Christians and Muslims) ? Anyway, you Israeli will be outnumbered in your Jewish state soon enough. Remember, Israel is in the Arab world, the Arabs are home. Where the Israelis call home is just a temporary colony implant. There are no roots and Israel can't exist on it's own. Doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand the future for Israel. If I were an Israeli I would start making friends with my neighbors and soon to be fellow citizens of Palestine. :-)

  4. No, I am not referring to all Palestinians as "Hamas" - since they clearly are not all members of Hamas or agree with Hamas! I was, in fact, referring to the political/military movement called Hamas.

    Hmm, you assume I live in Israel - where do you get this assumption from? I live in the United States, as you might have figured out if you had read the blog a little more carefully.

    As I said in the post, which you seem to have ignored, at least 50% of the Israeli Jews are from the Middle East or North Africa or are descended from Jews from those places. How are these people not living "at home"? Why do you regard them as not having roots?

    Is it because you've fallen victim to the myth that Jews are "rootless cosmopolitans," that anti-Jewish stereotype beloved of the Soviet Union?

  5. Any Arab be they Jewish Christian or Muslim is "at home" in the Middle East as they are semites. The rest need to come to the U.S. (let's see what the Americans want to do with them) or back to Europe. With the Europeans out I am sure the Arab Jews will have their pick of the Middle East and will be happy for it. Arab Jews never did and never will need the protection of the Zionists. They were doing pretty darn well before the European invasion.
    I referred to you as an Israeli because you are speaking for them. Just flip that over to the anglo Jews specifically no need to get offended.
    If you make a referrence to Hamas you have to include the whole Arab world and even extend it to Iran. Just like Zionism is not separate from Zionists.

  6. So, Planet Michelle, I take it that you believe that "semites" are a distinct race that Arabs belong to. Is there any evidence at all that such a race exists? In fact, the whole idea that there is such a thing as a semitic "race" is an invention of 19th-century European Jew-haters.

    Really, they'll have the pick of the Middle East? Have you ever spoken to any Jews from Arab countries or read anything they've written about the difficulties of life for Jews in Arab lands even before the advent of Zionism? (I'm not claiming that Jewish life in Arab lands was unending misery - far from it - but it certainly was not lived on terms of equality).

    "Because I am speaking for them" - so if I decide to support something that the British government does, does that make me British? What a dubious principle.

    I don't understand your point about Hamas at all. Hamas is not coextensive with all the Palestinian people, much less all the Arabs in the Middle East. My original point was that I could not imagine how Hamas and its supporters could possibly live together peacefully with Israelis in one state.

  7. The term Semite means a member of any various ancient and modern people originating in southwestern Asia, including Akkadians, Canaanites, Phoenicians, Hebrews, Arabs, and Ethiopian Semites. The term "anti-Semitic" (or "anti-Semite") refers to Jews only. It was coined in 1879 by German journalist Wilhelm Marr in a pamphlet called, "The Victory of Germandom over Jewry".
    The so-called white man is a Gentile now he is in Israel calling himself a Jew. Read (Luke 21:24)
    The point I make is that the Zionists are not the chosen Jews of God. They have no *historical* claim to the Holy land.
    Now regarding the Arab Jews. You can read all the Zionist propaganda you want but the Arab Jews are against Zionism. The religious Jews denounce it. Zionism is secular and political, it was and is a power plot. Israel is not and was never a haven for persecuted Jews. European Jews were forced to go to Palestine, Palestinian Arab Jews were victims of the Zionists.
    Have you ever heard of the documentary called "Occupation 101?" The folks going from campus to campus showing the film to students follow it up with speakers and discussion. Who are these folks? They are Israelis.
    There is no such thing as a Muslim who accepts Israel, so who does Hamas represent? Israel was created by a foreign band of European fascist terrorists and is maintained by terrorists and is the sole nuclear power in the Middle East. And you are talking about Hamas as though they were dangerous thugs! Am I a thug if I vow to take my house back from the thief who murdered my family to get it? if you are not an anglo Jew or Zionist or Israeli then you have no [valid] reason whatsoever to defend Israel. They are murderous lying thieves, a band of thugs and not your friend! You are goyim which is equal to a bag of dung!

  8. You don't appear to be aware that the whole concept of a "Semitic race" is a creation of European racists of the 19th century.

    Zionism is not based on the idea that the Jews are "chosen by God." It's a secular nationalist movement (much like the secular nationalist movement the Palestine Liberation Organization).

    Who are the "Arab Jews" that you're talking about? About half of the Israeli population either comes from Arab countries or is descended from Jews who left Arab countries. Most of them are distinctly to the right of the descendants of European Jews in Israel - and definitely Zionist.

    There are no Muslims who accept Israel? Actually, there are many Muslim citizens of Israel who do accept it - what they want is equal rights as Israeli citizens.

    Goyim, by the way, is the plural, not the singular.

    And by the way, your argument would be much strengthened by losing the invective and the Jew-hatred.