Ilan Pappe confirms what we learnt from events at SOAS: the ‘institutional’ boycott is really an exclusion of Israeli academics

“I think what’s really important,” says Pappe, diplomatically, “is that
a growing number of individual academics feel they can no longer
tolerate co-operating with their Israeli counterparts, except for those
who oppose current government policies.”

He also supports, therefore, a political test for Israelis before they are allowed to be part of the global academic community.

Here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2009/jan/20/interview-ilan-pappe-historian

See Steve Cohen on the political test here.

See Jon Pike on the myth of the Institutional boycott here.

21 Responses to “Ilan Pappe confirms what we learnt from events at SOAS: the ‘institutional’ boycott is really an exclusion of Israeli academics”

  1. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    Interesting person, Pappe. We have Arnot saying “Yet in 2005 and 2006, this Israeli son of German-Jewish emigrants found himself in the eye of a storm that would lead him to leave the country of his birth and seek sanctuary in the english west country.” – note the use of the word “sanctuary” – as though Pappe was actually under the same sort of physical threat (except for the implication that it wasa personal) as the inhabitants of Sderot.

    Then again a little later: “Having backed down from dismissing him through a disciplinary court, the university authorities barred him from participating in seminars or conferences.” This, of course, justifies Pappe in calling for a boycott of Israeli academics: if they can do it to me, I can do it to them.

    However, as those of us who have been reading Engage since its start, or a little after, know full well, Arnot has failed to do his homework and has taken his subject’s word as gospel (hardly good journalism – but this is the Guardian we’re talking about). Pappe had tenure at Haifa, he was not barred from anything, in fact, Haifa defended his academic freedom to attack the academic freedom of others (in calling for a boycott of Israeli academics). We know that Pappe complained about one of his courses being located in a small lecture room, but he conveniently forgets (and Arnot fails to discover) that this was because only a few students had elected to take this course. Ipso facto!

    Then there is the coy reference to his “German-Jewish emigrant[.]” parents. Unless my memory is failing faster than I thought, they were Holocaust survivors: a very different category of person. If it was Pappe who relayed this to Arnot, this puts Pappe squarely into Anthony Julius’s category of those who are not self-haters, but “love themselves. It’s their parents they hate.”

    Tell me, is there any evidence that Pappe actually _did_ receive death threats, or is this a product of his fevered imagination?

  2. Mira Vogel Says:

    political cleansing?

  3. academe Says:

    Does Engage support the baning of Moshe Feiglin from Britain?

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/962850.html

    Last update – 18:05 11/03/2008

    Britain bans Likud’s Moshe Feiglin from entering country

    By Nadav Shragai, Haaretz Correspondent

    Tags: Feiglin, Israel, Britain

    Moshe Feiglin, leader of the Likud’s Jewish Leadership faction, was recently notified in a letter from British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith that he has been banned from entering the U.K.

  4. Observer Says:

    “An exile” – in is dreams!
    Can anyone tell me which Israeli University fired him?
    Thanks

  5. James Mendelsohn Says:

    Observer,
    He was based at the University of Haifa, I believe he left of his own volition rather than being fired.
    See

    http://www.meforum.org/article/897

    http://www.ee.bgu.ac.il/~censor/katz-directory/01-11-22gelber-pappe.pdf

    http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=2&x_outlet=38&x_article=1299

    And let’s not forget that last year Pappe granted an interview to a neo-Nazi newspaper; this seems to have done his standing in anti-Zionist circles no harm:

    http://www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/article.php?id=1856

  6. Lynne T Says:

    Observer:

    From Wikepedia:

    After years of political activism, Pappé supports economic and political boycotts of Israel, including academic boycott. He believes boycotts are justified because:

    “The occupation is a dynamic process and it becomes worse with each passing day. The AUT can choose to stand by and do nothing, or to be part of a historical movement similar to the anti-apartheid campaign against the white supremacist regime in South Africa. By choosing the latter, it can move us forward along the only remaining viable and non-violent road to saving both Palestinians and Israelis from an impending catastrophe.”[18][19]
    “If it is possible Israel’s conduct in 1948 would be brought onto the stage of international tribunals; this may deliver a message even to the peace camp in Israel that reconciliation entails recognition of war crimes and collective atrocities. This cannot be done from within, as any reference in the Israeli press to expulsion, massacre or destruction in 1948 is usually denied and attributed to self hate and service to the enemy in times of war. This reaction encompasses academia, the media and educational system, as well as political circles.”[20]

    As a result, University of Haifa President Aharon Ben-Ze’ev called on Pappé to resign, saying: “it is fitting for someone who calls for a boycott of his university to apply the boycott himself.” He said that Pappé would not be ostracized, since that would undermine academic freedom, but he should leave voluntarily.[21] In the same year, Pappé initiated the annual Israeli Right of return conferences, which called for the unconditional right of return of the Palestinian refugees who were expelled in 1948.

  7. Observer Says:

    Although I cannot speak for Engage, it seems to me two questions are involved here, “academe”.
    1. is this guy’s politics?
    They are, of course, disgusting and repulsive.
    2. Should the the state have a right to stop people (Farrakhan, Feiglin) coming in?
    I am not sure I am comfortable with that regardless to my answer to question 1.

    What’s your view on this matter?

  8. Bundist Says:

    More Ad Hominem attacks on a brave man – par for the course here at Engage.
    Banning the racist Likud fair enough for the party of Begin the terrorist.

  9. Gil Says:

    Hi Bundist,

    Why is Pappe a ‘brave man’? Is he in any danger?

  10. Saul Says:

    Would be that the Begin who, although on the right, made peace with Egypt – what a bastard!

    And, good to note your support of the British state’s power of exclusion.

    And this is what passes for left thinking!

    Oh, and as to the ad hominem attack, are you saying that Pappe did not say,
    “I think what’s really important,” says Pappe, diplomatically, “is that
    a growing number of individual academics feel they can no longer
    tolerate co-operating with their Israeli counterparts, except for those
    who oppose current government policies.”?

    Since you support the British state’s arbitrary power to exclude, maybe you would support those who would exclude him because he is a foreigner and a political activist? Whoops, that’s a position of the far-right…….easy mistake to make.

    Is the following a wrong interpetation,
    “He also supports, therefore, a political test for Israelis before they are allowed to be part of the global academic community.”

  11. Saul Says:

    And, is this statement not true?
    “And let’s not forget that last year Pappe granted an interview to a neo-Nazi newspaper”;

    or this statement,
    “this seems to have done his standing in anti-Zionist circles no harm”?

    But, I am sure you can explain that one away………..he didn’t know? He was new to the country? He merely thought they were “anti-Zionists”? He was busy and didn’t do his research.

    Or, maybe, like so many, and I can think of at least two leading “anti-Zionists” in UCU alone who has made the same “mistake”……Surely, a coincidence? What else could it be? Surely not an inability to distinguish his own politics on Israel from those of the far-right?

  12. Richard Says:

    Pappe was never disciplined , he wasn’t discriminated against by Haifa university. Pappe was so in love with hinself that he couildn’t accept that people had a right to disagree with his politics.
    There’s nothing brave about Pappe and accusing people of ad hominem attacks as Bundist does is the tactic of someone who isn’t able or willing to construct an actual argument.
    It’s a while ago now but it was really enjoyable to see David Hirsh run rings round Pappe in a debate between the two at Birmingham University and Pappe did himself no favours when he lost his rag and turned on the audience.Sue Blackwell looked rather disappointed at the end of the debate.

  13. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    That would have been worth the entrance fee alone, to see “Sue Blackwell look[ing] rather disappointed at the end of the debate.”

  14. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    More importantly, and flippancy aside, the posters confirm the points that Pappe wasn’t fired or disciplined or banned from conferences (though Haifa U might have decided that they weren’t going to fund his travels to them) nor personally threatened. Haifa U might have been delighted when he decided to leave, but that’s another story.

    Re the point on funding for conferences, etc, most Unis expect at least an attempt at justifying the expense on the grounds of career development (I know mine did). Given that James Mendelsohn’s links demonstrate Pappe’s scant regard for scholarly research, logical argument, or even _evidence_, if they did refuse his junkets to conferences, it’s quite understandable.

    And despite Bundist’s unsubstantiated claims, I see no _ad hominem_ attacks on Pappe, but plenty of evidence of his cavalier approach to scholarship. Nor do I see any evidence of threats to Pappe’s person. Again, what’s the connection with Feiglin? And how is a nation-state’s banning of an individual (which it is entitled to do, and arguably doesn’t do often enough in certain cases) suddenly equated with boycotts of a whole nations academics?

    Do enlighten us “academe” and “Bundist” (where has the latter been hiding these 8 decades?).

  15. Inna Says:

    Correct me if I am wrong but isn’t Pappe an Israeli currently employed (and thus not boycotted) by a British university? If so and if he supports “a political test for Israelis before they are allowed to be part of the global academic community” and if he has not tendered his resignation then he must have taken and “passed” such test. I would be curious to know what that test was.

    How was it administered? Who judged it? What was the content of the test? How was the content presented (eg., was it multiple choice or written answers)? What was the test intended to measure? Was there a study done to ensure that it did, indeed, measure it?

    These are the kinds of questions we would ask of any academic test. It therefore seems fair to ask it of this one too.

    Regards,

    Inna

  16. zkharya Says:

    Is there any account, audio or video available of the Pappe-Hirsh debate?

  17. Bill Says:

    Inna,

    “These are the kinds of questions we would ask of any academic test. It therefore seems fair to ask it of this one too.”

    D’ya think the Boycotteers will hide behind the UK equivalent of FERPA on this one? Grade confidentiality and all that jazz is very important especially when you’re being rabidly inconsistent, don’t cha’ know… Gosh, I’d hate to be the chair of their accreditation committee when time comes ’round again! All the paperwork, all the sudden transparency, all the questions!

  18. Alan Says:

    Inna: neither Ilan Pappe’s university (Exeter) nor any other British academic institution operates a boycott of Israeli academics or Israeli academic institutions. So there is nothing requiring explanation in the fact that he is “employed (and thus not boycotted) by a British university”. Your questions, however, would be very much to the point if directed at those individuals who do claim to operate such a boycott.

  19. Inna Says:

    Bill–

    I am just saying that as an Israeli employed by a British institutions who has called for a political test of Israelis and who has not rendered his resignation, Pappe must surely have taken and passed this examination.

    He is therefore in an unique position to tell us what this examination is: to answer my questions and others, in short. I feel we should use him as a resource as I do not know of anyone (else) who knows what goes into this test, how it’s judges, etc..

    Do you feel I am being unreasonable?

    Regards,

    Inna

  20. Bill Says:

    “Do you feel I am being unreasonable?”

    Not at all! Makes perfect sense to me. The people who insist that the boycott doesn’t target Jewish faculty and investigators, however, would be scraping the bottom of the barrel to find any protection they could their RRA when faced with such nagging and pesky questions. They want their discrimination and perks of academic freedom in the same tasty bite. It doesn’t work that way.

  21. Bill Says:

    Hi Alan:

    Inna need not be talking about a hypothetical future boycott here. Consider Mona Baker’s “Boycott” and those of others who have individually said they won’t work with Israelis and have worked to be true to their words. Boycotts-Of-One’s are already happening. The question she asks is very much valid and relevant in the here-and-now. The difference between these singular boycotts is that now they can be hidden very slightly behind academic freedom since you can’t work with everybody who comes calling. Hidden that is, unless you say something stupid like Baker did or the guy who wrote the nasty-gram to the prospective Israeli grad student. With an organized boycott they seek to (temporarily) hide their discrimination and harassment actives behind a thin veil of legitimacy.

    I suspect that Israeli (and Jewish) British faculty who won’t or don’t follow the boycotters script currently get the cold shoulder from would-be organized boycotters while those like Pappe, the good Israeli, are their little dollies.


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