Naomi Klein and the “get-away-with- genocide free card” and the boycott of Israel

Naomi Klein :

“[Some Jews] even think we get one get-away-with-genocide-free-card.”

“the decision isn’t to boycott Israel but rather to oppose official relationships with Israeli institutions.”

ON the UN Durban Review Conference held in Geneva in April, Klein says that she was disturbed by “the Jewish students’ lack of respect for the representatives from Africa and Asia who came to speak about issues like compensation for slavery and the rise of racism around the world.”

Klein described the Jewish students who protested against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speech at the conference as “truly awful” – in the same breath as she described Ahmadinejad as “truly awful.”

Read Noam Schimmel’s reply Here.

David Hirsh on why Naomi Klein is wrong to call for a boycott of Israel.

12 Responses to “Naomi Klein and the “get-away-with- genocide free card” and the boycott of Israel”

  1. Karl Pfeifer Says:

    Naomi Klein seems to be obsessed with “some Jews”

  2. Absolute Observer Says:

    Funny, how when Jews organise as Jews the old canard of selfishness and self-interest at the expense of others comes to the fore. And, as for the nonsense about genocide, well, it just shows how, when it comes to Israel, Klein loses the plot.

    Leaving aside the fact that there was no “lack of respect”, other than to a Holocaust denier, even if it had occurred, one wonders how it would have differed from that same “lack of respect” that representatives from the same countries showed to Jews in the vile antisemitic atmosphere of Durban 1.

    Perhaps, someone can link me to where Klein complained about that.

  3. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    Thanks, Reality check, for these links.

    I knew there was a good reason for my not reading Klein’s “No Logo”, etc, even when I was lecturing on globalisation. The adoption of simplistic, unreasoned, “solutions” to complex situations is reason enough in itself to avoid her books like the plague.

    Not a boycott, just a saving of my sanity and time, the better to spend it on more worthwhile tasks, such as following up “Reality’s” links above.

  4. Inna Says:

    If, instead of “some Jews” Naomi had written “some Asians” would anyone be taking her seriously? As anything other than a racist, I mean?



  5. Reality check Says:

    Thanks Brian,
    Maybe I should have linked to China’s role in several African countries. But, for some strange reason, Klein chose not to mention that. Maybe she couldn’t legitimise her stupidity by speaking as a “Chinese” woman. (“As a Jew” as “a get out of racism free” card, perhaps).

  6. Karl Pfeifer Says:

    Naomi Klein is writing for a certain market of people who want to get simple answers to comlplex question. And is there a more simple answer than blaming (some) Jews?
    If she would start to write about Darfur or the situartion of Cops in Egypt or Human Rights in Saudi-Arabia, her reader would desert her. As Brecht has said Erst kommt das Fressen, dann die Moral. First comes a good balance of her bank account, then comes ethics.
    Of course it is not politically correct, what I have written about her. But I have read some of her articles published in our liberal flagship daily in Austria and this is the conclusion.
    First comes the fee, then comes ethics.

    • Inna Says:


      I am not disagreeing with any of that. But I know that blaming a single people is the easy and–let’s be honest about this–racist way out. It is also probably why this kind of explanation appeals to the sort of hip and not terribly bright audience you’re describing.

      I am sure you and I can think of analogous situations in which a different people has been blamed for all the world’s ills. In any event, I certainly can. In my case, it was a family member and we nearly removed her so as not to offend others by her racist behavior.

      So it’s not like Naomi’s “explanation” is uncommon. It’s all too terribly common-place. The trouble is that when this sort of “explanation” is applied to Jews we are (for whatever reason) reluctant to call it racism.

      And yet it is. Naomi Klein made an explicitly racist remark. And, had that remark been made about any other people, it would have been condemned as such.

      So let’s be perfectly clear: we are talking about racism here. Even if it is racism against Jews.



  7. Reality check Says:

    “When I was in Sri Lanka after the tsunami, I didn’t go to cocktail parties and also in Iraq no cocktail parties.”

    But, wait, did she call for a boycott of the US for their actions in Iraq (after all, she could speak “as an American” for that added something; or even a critic of the US “Empire”) or Sri Lanka for their extermination of the Tamils?. But, I guess since she has reduced herself to a “a Jew” she is only permitted to speak about Israel. Oh my, the nonsense and vacuous of identity politics!

    I have heard of champagne socialistsl, but now we have Martini anti-Imperiaists.

    (I am sure also that the Palestinians who produce olives (one of the few things they are permitted allowed and able to produce (when the Settlors are not setting fire to their trees) in the OT) are real happy about this).

    I also knew Klein’s books were both derivative and bandwagon jumping, but it would appear so too her politics.

  8. A technical point Says:

    “It’s true that some academics won’t agree to accept an article by an Israeli for publication in a journal. There aren’t many of them, and they make stupid decisions. This is not what the boycott committee has called for. The decision isn’t to boycott Israel but rather to oppose official relationships with Israeli institutions.”

    Klein has not basis on which to claim this refusal to be “stupid”.

    An Israeli writes an article written and prepared during their course of employment at an Israeli university and using the resources available for such a purpose (time, research grants, etc.). They sign, Professor X, Tel Aviv University (and in so doing acknowledges the an Israeli funding council, as well as her own school or department).

    (oh, and the professor in question is an Arab).

    The distinction is vapid and disappears when coming into contact with reality.

  9. zkharya Says:

    Not just “some Jews”, “we”.

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