PrawfsBlawg on institutional responses to IAW and boycott campaigning

Paging Stanley Fish – a piece by Paul Horwitz on PrawfsBlawg about incendiary (in both senses) Israeli Apartheid Week posters, academic freedom, normal political discourse, and human rights. He opposes banning the posters:

“The posters, inflammatory as they may be, are clearly standard political speech.  They may not be civil, but they’re certainly well within the norms of “civil discourse in a free and democratic society” – or at least the kinds of free and democratic societies that value robust, uninhibited and wide-open debate.”

The kinds we need, even while we make objections to those norms.

He goes on to note a lightness in the student campaigning around free speech:

“The students apparently shy away from the obvious conclusion that the use of human rights codes in situations involving speech are generally suspect; rather, they argue that the “poster depicts a situation that has a factual basis and its intention is clearly to invite people to a lecture series,” so the poster is neither an incitement nor a violation of civil discourse.  (I hope they will be equally forgiving of similar posters that meet the same conditions, but with the names reversed!)”

Most importantly in its promotion of a debate about academic boycott, concluding:

“The university is a “community” in some important senses, but it isn’t a democracy, and even to the limited extent that it is, there is no universal suffrage … Academic freedom is a substantive value, and that value includes opposing academic boycotts; academic freedom does not, on the other hand, require democratic deliberation by all the stakeholders in a university.”

I’m new to Stanley Fish on the politics of the university.

Scorn and sneers for Jewish worries – Mark Gardner

Letter printed in The Independent

Caryl Churchill’s letter (21 February) typifies how so many of those who claim to oppose antisemitism actually prefer to scorn and sneer at Jewish concerns regarding contemporary manifestations and echoes of this ancient hatred. Churchill effectively accuses Howard Jacobson of faking his concern about antisemitism in order to shield Israel from criticism, and calls this “the usual tactic”.

She then blithely states: “If its really on the increase, then we should all stand up against it.” Perhaps Churchill, and some of The Independent’s staff and readers, could cease their anti-Israel obsession for a moment and register the fact that antisemitic race-hate attacks in Britain and many other countries around the world have significantly escalated in recent years: as demonstrated again during the recent Gaza conflict.

Alternatively, they could just treat mainstream Jewish concerns about racism and ostracism with the same respect they might show to the Black or Muslim communities. Or is even that too much to ask?

Mark Gardner,  Community Security Trust

The Livingstone Formulation is re-appearing everywhere

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