UK boycott Israel campaigners host left-wing Israeli journalist

By Kubbeh

Far-left organisations behind the campaign to boycott Israeli products and citizens in the UK recently hosted a series of talks by Israeli journalist, Gideon Levy. The Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Jews for Justice for Palestinians typically organise protests against Israeli public figures who come to the UK, as well as bombarding their UK hosts with angry letter-writing campaign. But they rolled out the red carpet for Levy who was promoting his book, The Punishment of Gaza.

The Jewish Chronicle reported that the organisers attempted to bar a number of members of the local Jewish community from the Manchester event, however, they were later granted admission following intervention by Levy. Levy is a long-standing critic of the Israeli government and his opinion columns typically fall outside of the Israeli public consensus – although, as far as I am aware, he has not voiced support for the BDS campaign.

Levy’s speaking tour underlines the inherent hypocrisy among anti-Israel campaigners. It appears that British anti-Israel campaigners are selective in which Israelis they choose to discriminate against. It’s fine to host a left-wing writer whose views suit their agenda, but Israeli pop singers or cricket players should be harassed and barred from entry due to their nationality?

This is not the first time that hypocrisy has reared its ugly head among BDS campaigners. American writer Naomi Klein toured Israel last year to promote the Hebrew edition of her book, The Shock Doctrine. Perhaps most incredulous is Ramallah-based BDS advocate, Omar Barghouti, who is studying for a PhD at Tel Aviv University. Qatar-born Barghouti has refused to comment publically on this matter, but in a YouTube video he states: “If the occupation ends, would it end the call for BDS? No it wouldn’t.”

Again, UK anti-Zionist activists demonstrate that their primary goal is not to improve the situation of ordinary Palestinians – it is to generate self-publicity and spread hatred of Israelis.

59 Responses to “UK boycott Israel campaigners host left-wing Israeli journalist”

  1. Lynne T Says:

    I understand that Bhargoutti is working on an MA, not a PHd. As for Klein, that shameless hypocracy is quite consistent with her acts of “activism” such as promoting a boycott of an event at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival — “City to City Tel Aviv”, which included entries from non-Jewish Israelis (ie: Arabs) and many that were very critical of Israeli policies and society. For that, she was thoroughly evicerated on CBC Radio by film maker Simca Jacobovici who challenged her over the bombardment of southern Israel by Hamas. Klein’s reponse was beyond pathetic, given that she had gone to Gaza after Cast Lead to commiserate with her friends there, but had never set foot in Sderot or Ashekelon.

  2. Lynne T Says:

    Oh, and by the way, although I understand that one or both of Klein’s parents moved from the US to Canada back in the ’60s to avoid the Viet Nam war draft, Klein was born in Montreal and I believe her primary residence is in Toronto, home town to her husband, Avi Lewis.

  3. Brian Robinson Says:

    It was always clear from the beginning, I think, that Israelis would be persona grata, that is to say, welcome “by kind permission” of the academic boycotters, provided they passed the political test of slagging off their own country.

    According to Wikipedia http://bit.ly/9WvSj4 Israeli novelist Irit Linur accused Levy of amateurism because he doesn’t speak Arabic: “Furthermore, and maybe this also does not have to be noted, his whole carrer is touched with unseriousness, since he is one of the few journalists for Arab matters in the world who does not speak Arabic, does not understand Arabic and does not read Arabic. He gets a simultaneous translation, and that’s enough. For me, that is amateur journalism”. Wikipedia cites an interview (2002) in which Levy confirmed that he doesn’t speak or read Arabic.(Ynet, in Hebrew http://bit.ly/aN2LBr).

    He’s certainly travelled a distance, e.g. his cv includes having worked for Shimon Peres. Only a few days ago I was co-recipient of an email from someone I might call a rival (and ex-Israeli) journalist to Levy, describing the latter as (still) “a Zionist” and not really radical at all (compared, in the rival’s estimation, to himself).

    Can journalists write authoritatively about (say) China if they don’t speak and read Mandarin (or Cantonese)? Perhaps standards have slipped since Jonathan Mirsky’s day. But Amira Hass (who is quoted — 2001 — as saying “life under Israeli occupation is not as bad as life in Ceausescu’s Romania” http://bit.ly/cCZFCw ) at least knows Arabic.

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      I’m not sure that saying (as Robert Fisk, the author of the piece, does) that Ha’aretz is the nearest thing Israel has to The Independent is any compliment to Ha’aretz. And I find myself intrigued as to whether Hass is really all the things Fisk says she is.

      Given who Fisk is and what he writes.

      • Brian Robinson Says:

        Hi Brian and friends — As you will have noticed, the piece was written in 2001. And as I have noticed, Fisk usually does — for an international audience — use a reference to his newspaper to indicate that some other paper is ‘liberal’. Whenever I’ve seen him do this, the automatic question pops up, Heck, c’mon on Fisk, why not the Guardian as well?

        I’m reluctant to quarrel, quibble or carp, yet I can’t restrain myself — I really aint happy with “given who Fisk is and what he writes”. It’s such a sweeping statement.

        Also the comment on Hass troubles me. Quite literally of course it might well be that she isn’t “all” the things Fisk said she was, but that’s not what your comment seems to imply.

        But I really want to correct a possible error of my own. A nagging doubt (why do doubts always “nag”?) made me take another look at the email sequence I mentioned above. And this: “Later, when he signed my book, I discovered just how many languages we have in common: German, Hebrew, English and Arabic (his is better than mine)”.

        Perhaps it’s not important (perhaps it is) whether he speaks this or that language. But the truth is important. In this case what is the truth?

        All best
        Brian R

      • Brian Robinson Says:

        Here is Fisk when he’s not writing at his best (Oh, alright, Fisk at his worst), firing on all cylinders in all directions, his furious cup of wrath fizzing over and then he gets to:

        ‘[A]nd of course, the one taboo subject of which we must not speak – Israel’s relationship with America, and America’s unconditional support for Israel’s theft of land from Muslim Arabs – also lies at the heart of this terrible crisis in our lives. In yesterday’s edition of The Independent, there was a photograph of Afghan demonstrators chanting “death to America”. But in the background, these same demonstrators were carrying a black banner with a message in Dari written upon it in white paint. What it actually said was: “The bloodsucking Zionist government regime and the Western leaders who are indifferent [to suffering] and have no conscience are again celebrating the new year by spilling the red blood of the Palestinians.”

        ‘The message is as extreme as it is vicious – but it proves, yet again, that the war in which we are engaged is also about Israel and “Palestine”. We may prefer to ignore this in “the West” – where Muslims supposedly “hate us for what we are” or “hate our democracy” (see: Bush, Blair and a host of other mendacious politicians) – but this great conflict lies at the heart of the “war on terror”. That is why the equally vicious Benjamin Netanyahu reacted to the atrocities of 9/11 by claiming that the event would be good for Israel. Israel would now be able to claim that it, too, was fighting the “war on terror”, that Arafat – this was the now-comatose Ariel Sharon’s claim – is “our Bin Laden”. And thus Israelis had the gall to claim that Sderot, under its cascade of tin-pot missiles from Hamas, was “our ground zero”.

        ‘It was not. Israel’s battle with the Palestinians is a ghastly caricature of our “war on terror”, in which we are supposed to support the last colonial project on earth – and accept its thousands of victims – because the twin towers and the Pentagon and United Flight 93 were attacked by 19 Arab murderers nine years ago. There is a supreme irony in the fact that one direct result of 9/11 has been the stream of Western policemen and spooks who have travelled to Israel to improve their “anti-terrorist expertise” with the help of Israeli officers who may – according to the United Nations – be war criminals. It was no surprise to find that the heroes who gunned down poor old Jean Charles de Menezes on the London Tube in 2005 had been receiving “anti-terrorist” advice from the Israelis. … ‘

        September 11, 2010
        Robert Fisk: Nine years, two wars, hundreds of thousands dead – and nothing learnt

        http://bit.ly/9KCacg

  4. Absolute Observer Says:

    Ah, Toronto, now who lived there prior to the Europeans,, oh yes, the Ojibwa. Oh well, at least the First Nations are doing ok now…….

    http://www.torontosun.com/comment/columnists/mindelle_jacobs/2010/07/12/14691651.html

  5. Sarah AB Says:

    WRT Brian’s comment – I’m pretty sure the boycott measures proposed by the UCU were meant to be waived in the case of someone whose views were considered ‘correct’.

    • zkharya Says:

      You’re right, Sarah.

      But the criteria for approval are a bit, or very, nebulous.

      ‘The occupation’ seems to mean every smidgeon of land not under Israeli control in before 1967. It leaves out all the complexities of the situation, such as Jerusalem, or Palestinian and other Arab hostility and rejectionism until at least 1988.

      ‘The occupation’ may extend to the allegedly ‘apartheid’ Jewish state i.e. only anti-Zionists allowed.

  6. Lynne T Says:

    Sarah:

    And of course, Klein had a perfectly good reason for having “The Shock Doctrine” translated into Hebrew and sold in Israel. I mean Israelis really need her to extoll the virtues of the “economic model” promoted by Hezbollah, which of course does not rely on blood/oil money from Iran to do “good works” for impoverished Lebanese Shias.

  7. Karl Pfeifer Says:

    In Berlin a Palestinian from East-Jerusalem married with a German wife and having a 7 months old daughter is demonstrating in front of the Israeli embassy. He wants the embassy to register his girl as resident in Jerusalem. He was told that he can register her in Jerusalem. No he insists the embassy must register her. And he holds a hunger-strike.
    A Berlin Human Rights association is writing on his behalf protest letters. I googled that association and stoning of women in Iran and could find no trace of a protest. And this is no accident. Their priority is to delegitimise Israel and its laws and not Human Rights. For one must have priorities and I believe Human Life has an absolute priority over anything else.

  8. Blacklisted Dictator Says:

    Jon Snow and Jeremy Bowen both had the privelege of chairing Gideon Levy. What a pity that the show didn’t make the Channel 4 and BBC news!

    Since Levy’s tour was organized in conjunction with the Palestinain Solidarity Committee, one has to once again whether British broadcasters can have any claim to being impartial when reporting the Israel/Palestine conflict.

  9. Blacklisted Dictator Says:

    Karl,
    Is the prority of the Berlin Human Rights assoc to delegitimise Israel or to delegitimise Jews? I think that their appalling double standards reveal the latter.

    • Karl Pfeifer Says:

      Well such an organisation would never admit Antisemitism. But according to the EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism they use a double standard and that is a sign of Antisemitism
      But yesterday the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) published an account on the scandalous report the state owned ARD TV gave on this affair, lying about the lack of response of the Berlin Israeli Embassy.
      FAZ asked ARD why the fact that the Israeli Embassy reacted several times on the hunger strike was not reported. FAZ received two and half days from ARD no answer to their enquiry.
      Today FAZ published the strange reply of ARD: “My wish was, to make a rather emotional report round on the hunger striker”
      Meaning, the maker of the film was interested in first line to whip up emotions against the Jewish State and not in fulfilling her duty to give an objective report on subject matter.

  10. Brian Robinson Says:

    I can’t find a ‘Reply’ button on my copy of Brian G’s reply to my query on the Fisk issue (by the way I also mentioned Hass), so I have to make this a general reply.

    Thanks Brian for the link, and I’ve now read a lot of it (I confess I wearied a bit and didn’t read right to the end, and I may well get what I deserve for that dereliction. I might return to ‘weariness’ later.)

    I do have to say that I have a certain sympathy with some of the questions (and alright, assertions) that Philip raises (and asseverates). I am not saying that I would always agree with Philip if I knew more about him (I’ve only glanced at the home page of his blog — I’ll have a more detailed look when time permits).

    But I’m writing from a certain personal context so this comment is going to be subjective. I cannot find a “home”, in any of the discussions I know, about this Israel-Palestine conflict. I am absolutely clear that many blogs, discussion fora and so on are vicious and vitriolic in their hatred of Israel, and most (if not all) of these have a clear subtext of antisemitism.

    That’s one extreme. Its polar opposite — and I’m not going to name names — are in those websites and blogs that dismiss even factually based criticism of Israeli policies as maliciously motivated lies.

    I have simply not found any discussion group that has managed to integrate just and evidence-based criticism of Israel with support for its continued existence and empathy with its predicament.

    As some of you may know I am a founder member of the UK chapter of ICAHD, as well as a signatory to the JfJfP Statement. I’ve had an on-off (currently and probably permanently ‘off’) relationship with the JPUK list — and had several rows, some in public, with some of its noisier members.

    (With ICAHD I make a huge distinction between its founder, Jeff Halper, and several of the people who support the organisation, or have prominent roles within it — I have publicly distanced myself from those people, whilst still supporting most of ICAHD’s principles.)

    I have recently left a group of doctors campaigning on the issue of alleged (there is considerable medical evidence) complicity of some Israeli doctors with techniques of “enhanced interrogation”, i.e. torture. I did not leave because I have changed my mind on the need to investigate this, but because of the participation of people who are clearly prejudiced against Jews, because of the “singling out” issue (my recommendation of broadening the campaign to include the many other states using torture) was ignored, and, finally, because of a general overall tone and style which I felt was indeed at least partly responsible for a considerable lack of progress to date. (Neither the BMA nor the WMA wants to be thought to be antisemitic and seemed deaf to the campaign’s entreaties.)

    I’m taking too much of your time and space, but I wanted to give some background.

    It does seem to me that Fisk and Hass (and for that matter many others not mentioned here so far) are telling it how it is. I think everyone who writes or comments here would agree that Israel has made some bad mistakes (which country or nation has not?)

    I want to come back for a moment to ‘weariness’. Words are important, tone is vital, of course — and yet the recent example of the seemingly interminable correspondence on “Mark Gardner on Mark Steel” page reminded me of a phrase I once used with reference to this website, a certain petifogging captiousness that sometimes seems to take it over.

    That was in my mind when I said I myself didn’t want to “quarrel, quibble or carp” (I later thought I should had added ‘cavil’ but maybe that would have been overdoing it — I was aiming at, and missing, a light touch, but confession is good for the soul, allegedly).

    This happens too on a list such as JPUK, as I know from bitter experience (e.g. see the furore following my condemnation of the crass ‘invasion’ of Wigmore Hall during a Jerusalem Quartet concert — and witness the injured denials when I pointed to the obvious expressions of hatred for Israel … etc etc …)

    What am I saying? I seem to be experiencing something akin to, not a distorting mirror, but an inverting one, where the execrations of one group seem to get reflected in the apologias of its opponents.

    Where is the centre that can hold? I hope someone here can tell me. Really I do.

    Best wishes
    Brian

    • Duncan Bryson Says:

      Thank you for these thoughts Brian. I think you sum up many people’s predicament.

      • Brian Robinson Says:

        Thanks Duncan, I’m pleased if it was useful — I’m finding more of what I’m looking for in places such as this –
        http://bit.ly/bchE4z – and the links to other places at Engage provided in that piece by Mira. This is the kind of writing I find positive and inspiring — and heaven knows, we all need a dose of hope.

    • Kubbeh Says:

      Thanks for your comment Brian. I almost mentioned ICAHD in my article on Levy – not so long ago Jeff Halper, Israeli citizen and vocal BDS advocate – did a UK speaking tour promoting his book, which was I believe supported by the PSC and other pro-BDS orgs.

      Whilst I do sympathise with some of ICAHD goals, I could not get my head around the blatant hypocrisy of Halper (reminiscent of that of Klein) – a man who openly calls for BDS against Israeli citizens, but then comes on tour to sell his book (a privilege he and his PSC buddies would like to see stripped from other Israelis who do not hold ‘correct’ political views).

      • Brian Robinson Says:

        I take those points well, Kubbeh, and I don’t support ICAHD’s joining the boycott campaign (I might be wrong here but I think ICAHD “central” called for selective boycotts, e.g. settlement produce — it’s in Jeff’s most recent book, and I could be misremembering here, i.e. it’s not an all-out boycott).

        It might also be recalled — for those with exceptional memories! — that I wrote here a few years ago about my having left ICAHD because of its sudden announcement (without consulting the membership) of “an anti-apartheid campaign” (against Israel). I rejoined following a further spate of house demolitions combined with a surge in the W Bank settlement population, and especially with regard to what was happening in East Jerusalem.

        I’ve been taken to task for my multiple tergiversations not only on the boycott, but on the whole conflict. I just about maintain for myself a sense of integrity by reasoning that these are complex issues, there is much nuance, there are even points of disagreement where *both* (or more) sides are almost quantum-like, and incompatibly, right — simultaneously.

        Do not we all (humans) live with uncertainty, ambiguity, and hasn’t so much of our trouble to do with an inability to tolerate that, resulting in the substitution of dogmatism? Perhaps that sounds too much like an excuse (or a pompous sermon: sorry).

        I realised after I’d written my comment that I ought to have elaborated a bit on my remark about supporting “most” of ICAHD’s principles. I’ve heard Jeff many times demonstrate — on the ground — his concept of “the matrix of control”, and you can see it, on the map and from the coach. And I’ve spoken at length to people whose homes have been bulldozed about the effect on them and their families. I still support ICAHD on the cruelty of the demolitions. (As for the politics, Jeff himself admits to having changed his views over the years as circumstances have changed — e.g. he once supported two states, then thought that solution was no longer possible, then moved to some rather grander Federation — in, of course, the rather longer term.)

        But I do wish — with reference to the UK chapter, of which I’m now a pretty semi-detached member — that it would rid itself of some of its patrons and a few of its committee members (I was asked once to go on the committee myself and refused: I don’t think the person who asked me really knew me!)

        Re the accusation of hypocrisy, I’m not so sure. He wants to get his message across (I doubt he makes a fortune out of his books, although I don’t know of course). I don’t think — if it is hypocritical — that it’s as hypocritical as studying for a degree at a university at the same as calling for a boycott of it, or being on the staff of one and asking the same thing of one’s international colleagues.

        ICAHD’s not a wealthy organisation and needs every penny it can get. As far as I know, any money Jeff makes from his book or his tours goes straight into the house rebuilding programme and the rest of the campaign.

        But I promise you, I’ll check on that BDS claim again.

        all best
        Brian R

        • Brian Goldfarb Says:

          Brian R., the reason I linked to that discussion between Philip and me (and Jonathan Romer) was because of Philip’s claim that, because Fisk said so, it must be so (re the link between the expulsion from the village and the alleged bombing of same village by their son decades later and that this was, ipso facto, a crime). I was suggesting that for this claim to be sustained, there needs to be supporting evidence, which Philip sort of acknowledeged.

          Now, many claim that Robert Fisk is a reporter of record and what he says must be so. My point is that, vide the claim noted above, this ain’t necessarily so, without supporting evidence, etc. At the same time, Fisk is entitled to be as partial and incomplete as he likes (aren’t we all, when it suits us?). My point is that he he appears, through the manner in which he writes, to claim this completeness for himself. We are entitled to question his even-handedness, and certainly query those who accept (or appear to) his utter accuracy.

          Thus my “debate” with Philip, andf my reason for my description of Robert Fisk. I’m sorry that you find it unsatisfactory.

          On a separate note, I’m also sorry that you appear to find this site (as represented by its credo, “About us” up there on the top left hand corner of the page) also failing in its even-handedness. The founding editor might be even more disappointed than I am!

  11. Rebecca Says:

    When Naomi Klein was in Israel a year ago she was interviewed by Kol Yisrael (she spoke in English and the interviewer translated her words into Hebrew). In that interview she attempted to explain her contradictory presence in Israel while at the same time advocating the boycott of Israel, but her arguments were not very convincing. I wrote about it in my blog at the time (I was in Israel for most of summer 2009). See http://mystical-politics.blogspot.com/2009/07/naomi-klein-in-israel.html

  12. Jonathan Hoffman Says:

    Levy did voice support for BDS – I was at the London meeting.

    Linda Clair’s letter in the JC yesterday – about why she wanted to exclude Zionists from Levy’s meeting in manchester – was jaw-dropping:

    http://www.thejc.com/blogpost/free-speech-except-if-you-believe-jewish-state

    • Thomas Venner Says:

      For more fun, there’s a rather entertaining comments thread after this article, much of it consisting of one particularly persistent “anti-Zionist” stubbornly continuing to try and undermine the definition of Zionism, and attempting to insist that most “anti-Zionists” actually don’t reject Israel’s right to exist (they’re just being deliberately misunderstood by the nefarious Zionist lobby, you see), while trying to claim Levy as a fellow “anti-Zionist” in order to try to circumvent the questions about why an anti-Zionist group intent on a total intellectual and cultural boycott of Israel was inviting a Zionist Israeli Jew to speak at one of their events.

      This is why Postmodernism was invented – to enable people like these to avoid arguments that they would surely lose by undermining the language of the argument and dragging everyone around in circles arguing over the meanings of specific words, unable to get to the actual point.

  13. Philip Says:

    Do you think it’s possible that this just indicates that the premise of the boycott is in fact not racist after all? They want to boycott Israeli universities, not Israeli academics. That is, a non-Israeli working at an Israeli university would be hit, whereas an Israeli working at a French university wouldn’t.

    I mean, we can argue about whether it’s a good idea or not (and I for one am still undecided about whether boycotts actually work, even in the right circumstances), and of course there are racist elements in and around this debate, whom we should condem, and Mr Barghouti seems a, shall we say strange, case. But at least this shows the boycott is not necessarily racist? What do people think?

    • zkharya Says:

      ‘Do you think it’s possible that this just indicates that the premise of the boycott is in fact not racist after all?’

      Apart from its anti-Zionism, its insisting that Jews alone of all ethno-national groups, dissolve their state.

  14. Absolute Observer Says:

    “Whereas an Israeli working at a French university wouldn’t.”

    Are you completely stupid?

    The point of a boycott is that an Israeli could not get a job at a “French University”.

    If you knew anything of what you speak, you would know that British academics have refused Israeli graduates a place in UK universities for no other reason than that they are Jewish Israelis. True, some UK academics are willing to make a special case for “exception Jewish Israelis”, but such appointments are dependent on the unofficial McCarthyism that underlines the boycotters claims.

    Israelis (even those who once chaired Amnesty International in Israel) are being refused admittance to particular journals because they are Israeli Jews.

    Appointments to the heads of world professional bodies are being challenged for no other reason than that they are Israeli Jews.

    Trade Union in the UK have refused non-Israeli bodies to exhibit at their conferences because they do not think Israel the greatest evil in the world.

    More generally,

    Who are “they”? Look and see the reasons “they” give. Look to see on what acts the boycott are dependent. Find where they set the conditions for any boycott to be lifted.

    For many of “them”, it is Israel’s existence as a Jewish state that is the affront. Thus, the distinction you make is not only false, but also inverted. It is precisely the attack on Israeli institutions precisely because they are Israeli that constitutes the antisemitism of the boycott. since only Jews are being denied rights of national self-determination.

    And, even if it is not the existence of Israel that is the crime deserving of Israel’s exclusion from the countries of the world, then what is Israel and Israel alone doing, that deserves such a final judgement?
    What is it that Israel and only Israel is doing that gives rise to this singularity? Occupation? hardly. Denial of another people’s sovereignty? hardly. Human right abuses? hardly.

    I leave out of account here the more difficult question of boycotts against Jews that have plagued history and which have been in existence against Israel since 1948.

    Perhaps you would have the politeness to actually answer these questions prior to claiming that you are being smeared.

  15. Brian Robinson Says:

    Philip: “They want to boycott Israeli universities, not Israeli academics.” Is this a form of category error? Compare: Over there is the outpatients’ dept, there’s the operating theatre, there are the nurses, there are the doctors, I see them OK, but where’s the hospital?

    I see the lecturers and the students, the libraries, classrooms, computers, but heck, where’s the university?

    You couldn’t boycott a cricket team without boycotting the players. Same difference?

    • Philip Says:

      I can see what you’re saying. But consider these two points and tell me what you think. First, there are such things as institutions, and they are different from the individuals that make them up, whether a team, a school, a company, an NGO, a society or even a state. They have their own culture, institutional norms, behaviours, etc. They are (not necessarily more, but) different from the sum of their parts.

      Second, if you boycott the institution and not the individuals then you can send a powerful signal to that institution. The team members will leave and play for other teams, or they will get annoyed at the team’s management and try to change it, or change the culture, or something like that. That independent action within the institution is what makes it different from the institution as a whole.

      Now, I’m not saying QED. I’m just trying to raise the possibility that the motives and effects may not be racist. And further, even if the current boycott movement is racist (let’s suppose that’s the case, for the sake of argument), then does that necessarily mean that a non-racist boycott is impossible and, if not, should we try to implement that kind of boycott (assuming, of course, that boycotts can achieve what we want them to achieve in the first place)?

      What do you think?

      • Brian Robinson Says:

        Philip: “But consider these two points and tell me what you think.”

        I’m afraid I’m not going to allow myself to get drawn along this latest branch of the ever-growing and increasingly tangled tree — I have enough trouble keeping tabs on the trunk. Opportunistic arborisation, I’d call it — I move we prune.
        Best
        Brian R

        • Philip Says:

          That’s fair enough. Best wishes to you, too. I don’t whether I’m more sorry to end the discussion or to lose your vocabulary, which is consistently extremely impressive!

  16. Absolute Observer Says:

    The ever so nice and interested Philip wants a sensible discussion about excluding Israelis from the contemporary world. After all, these things should not be done without the requisite amount of thought and reflection. Excluding Israelis and only Israelis is a serious affair and should not be taken lightly. After all, one cannot really should not rush such important business as excluding one particular group of people. So, reason to the fore please and thinking caps on. We must stay focussed………………

    So, in the spirit of such earnestness, lets have a grown up discussion of racist exclusions. If you are going to stop people talking to others through the world of academia, one has to be decent and upfront otherwise one could leave oneself open to all sorts of unsavourary accusations, the untold power of which is stop all future words.

    “They want to boycott Israeli universities, not Israeli academics. That is, a non-Israeli working at an Israeli university would be hit, whereas an Israeli working at a French university wouldn’t.”

    Most legal notions of equality recognise the existence of “indirect discrimination”. It is most common in questions of gender and sex discrimination, especially as it relates to the employment field. It comes into play precisely when a piece of legislation that appears to be general is seen to have discriminatory effects against a specific group of people.

    Whilst it is true (if often forgotten) that non-Israelis work at universities in Israel the vast majority are Israeli. Therefore, the boycott of Israel universities would discriminate against Israeli academics since, by definition, they would be part of Israeli universities. Its effect, in other words, would be racist (in the sense of specifically effecting Israeli citizens, directly or not).

    (It is, of course, questionable whether the boycott would extend to non-Jewish Israeli academics, in which case, antisemitism would be added to the mix).
    The racist (in the sense of discrimination against a person because of where they were born, what passport they carry, for whom they work) is clear.

    As is now apparent the old story that it is not individuals but institutions (universities) that is to be byoctted is nothing but nonsense.

    An Israeli academic writing a paper on 18th century medicine on Denmark and sent it to a UK journal and who signbs it by their name and by institutional affilitation would be boycotted, for no other reason than they work at an Israeli university.

    Here, the distinction between individual and university is nothing but a nonsense.

  17. Brian Robinson Says:

    I think the following is worth revisiting (from the BMJ)

    BMJ 2003; 327 : 12 doi: 10.1136/bmj.327.7405.12-b (Published 3 July 2003)
    News extra [these stories appear only on the web]
    Oxford professor faces investigation over rejection of Israeli student
    Owen Dyer
    – Author Affiliations
    London

    The University of Oxford is carrying out an investigation after a professor of pathology was accused of rejecting a student because he had been an Israeli soldier.

    Andrew Wilkie, Nuffield professor of clinical pathology at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, Oxford, and a member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, criticised Israeli policy in a rejection letter emailed to Amit Duvshani, a student at Tel Aviv University, who had applied to work at his laboratory towards obtaining a PhD.

    The letter from Professor Wilkie said: “Thank you for contacting me, but I don’t think this would work. I have a huge problem with the way that the Israelis take the moral high ground from their appalling treatment in the Holocaust, and then inflict gross human rights abuses on the Palestinians because they (the Palestinians) wish to live in their own country.”

    Professor Wilkie added: “I am sure that you are perfectly nice at a personal level, but no way would I take on somebody who had served in the Israeli army. As you may be aware, I am not the only UK scientist with these views but I’m sure you will find another suitable lab if you look around.”

    Mr Dushvani, whose curriculum vitae mentioned three years’ national service in the army, told the Sunday Telegraph newspaper: “I was appalled that such a distinguished man could think something like that. I did not expect it from a British professor. I sent similar applications all round Europe and did not have another response like that. Science and politics should be separate. This is discrimination.” He said he would no longer accept a place at Oxford if one were offered.
    The email was posted on websites around the world within hours. Professor Wilkie has since apologised for the emailed letter, both to Mr Dushvani and to colleagues. In an email circulated to colleagues he wrote: “My act was out of conscience about the war and I was completely open about my reasons. It was totally out of order I agree but it was done honestly.

    “I am deeply sorry for this and realise that I took the wrong action. In addition an official apology has been issued by Oxford University and the student’s case will be taken forward. I retract what I said, which was caused by too personal and emotional a response to the terrible situation in Israel. I hope you can forgive me.”

    A spokesperson for the University of Oxford said: “Our staff may hold strongly felt personal opinions. Freedom of expression is a fundamental tenet of University life, but under no circumstances are we prepared to accept or condone conduct that appears to, or does, discriminate against anyone on grounds of ethnicity or nationality, whether directly or indirectly. An immediate and thorough investigation of this matter is now being carried out in accordance with the University’s procedures and a report will be presented to the Vice-Chancellor next week.”

    The Association of University Teachers, which has some 46000 members, rejected by about two to one a call for an academic boycott of Israel at their annual conference in May.
    Professor Wilkie told the BMJ that he had “nothing further to add” to the University’s statement while further investigations of the case are undertaken.

    Rapid responses to this article

    Suspension of Professor Wilkie
    martin birnstingl
    BMJ (Published 7 November 2003)
    Suspension of Professor Wilkie
    martin birnstingl, retired consultant surgeon
    60 fitzjohns avenue london nw3 5lt

    The suspension by Oxford University of Professor Andrew Wilkie (British Medical Journal November 1, 2003) is appalling and deserves a storm of protest from doctors.

    The suspension by Oxford University of Professor Andrew Wilkie (British Medical Journal November 1, 2003) is appalling and deserves a storm of protest from doctors.

    In the early 1980s I refused to accept an Israeli surgeon who wanted to work on my vascular team at Barts and told him why. I would have refused a South African surgeon, had one applied at the time. Medicine and politics are inseparable and Israel’s human rights record is now far worse than it was in the 1980s.

    I was saddened when Professor Wilkie publicly apologised for his “wrong action” since it was in no way wrong.
    Competing interests: None declared

    This article has been cited by other articles:
    In brief BMJ 2003;327:1006
    doi: 10.1136/bmj.327.7422.1006 (Published 30 October 2003)

    News In brief

    Oxford professor who rejected Israeli student suspended: Andrew Wilkie, Nuffield professor of pathology at Oxford University, who rejected an Israeli student because of his country’s “gross human rights abuses on the Palestinians” (BMJ 2003;327: 12(News Extra on bmj.com)) is to be suspended from academic duties without pay for two months.

    ============================

  18. Bill Says:

    “(It is, of course, questionable whether the boycott would extend to non-Jewish Israeli academics, in which case, antisemitism would be added to the mix).”

    Well, we already know that isn’t the case since Bocyotteers may study in Israel. Academic freedom for me but not for thee which is what the academic side of the boycott is all about.

    “The racist (in the sense of discrimination against a person because of where they were born, what passport they carry, for whom they work) is clear.”

    It doesn’t matter if you pretend that you’re just discriminating against Bricks-n-Morter or “Israeli” academics and only “Israeli” academics that don’t sign a preferred statement that no other nationality must sign. You can’t discriminate by national origin, race or religion except under extremely narrow circumstances and they are not on the table here. Period. That is the law the BDSers want to ignore, and the law the universities who will be accountable to this childish BS must uphold or else.

    And then there is the damned clear admission, no make that clear as crystal in-your-face assertion, in the BMJ by Tom Hickey that Yes, they are targeting Israelis. Yes, they are targeting them as Jews, and Yes they are targeting them over other countries, who would more likely deserve boycotting, because Hickey and company are leveraging Jewish stereotypes and employment pathways that have come pass over years and years and years of antisemetic “controls” (in modern lingo that would be institutional discrimination and harassment) imposed on the Jews by…. Hickey et al’s ancestors back when the Jews had to ask nice people like them for permission to be Jewish in England (and we know what that answer was.

    From the BDSers’ own mouthpiece to an adjacent professional org filled with other certified smart people: the campaign is anti-semetic in effect and through TH’s own’ words, explicit intent. Once again, Period.

    Sounds open and shut to me. Anyone still pretending that that’s not the case, should go back on their meds. So do cut the crap.

    • Bill Says:

      And in case you haven’t googled it Phillip: Here is the full text

      http://www.bmj.com/content/335/7611/124.full

      And here is the moneyshot in the foot where we see what happens when you engage in “Special Pleading” in the boycott (italics and bolds are mine)

      But whether a boycott is appropriate in such places depends on the merits of each individual case. In the case of Israel, we are speaking about a society whose dominant self image is one of a bastion of civilisation in a sea of medieval reaction. And we are speaking of a culture, both in Israel and in the long history of the Jewish diaspora, in which education and scholarship are held in high regard. That is why an academic boycott might have a desirable political effect in Israel, an effect that might not be expected elsewhere.

      And after that he feigns outrage over how people say the bocyott is antisemetic. You can’t back away from such a clear statement — and in a peer-reviewed pub no less!

      • Brian Goldfarb Says:

        And it’s not the first time Philip has been referred to this quote by Bill, either. The last time was back in June this year. Perhaps Philip might ponder on why his attention is being drawn to this particular quote more than once.

        • Bill Says:

          Maybe it’s like all those Trek or Who stories that aren’t considered to be “cannon” — even though that particular letter to a high-impact journal was written by one of the BDS movement’s “executive producers.”

    • Philip Says:

      Bill, Hickey’s statement is obviously unfortunate at best. While I don’t like to make accusations against people I don’t know, I have to agree that it does seem racist. And Professor Wilkie’s behaviour was outrageous.

      I am personally not involved in the boycott (at least, not through choice—in so far as I live in Syria, I am boycotting by default, but that’s another matter). As I’ve made clear, I haven’t made my mind up about whether the boycott is a good idea. I feel that something must be done to end the injustices in Israel / Palestine, I just don’t know what. And in any case, there are plenty of organisations, both Israeli and Palestinian, that are probably better placed than I am. I know people who do take part in the boycott, and I can say without doubt that none of them is anti-Semitic, nor do they consider that there actions are anti-Semitic.

      One problem with the boycott is that it’s a mass campaign, and people within it have very different opinions, perspectives and motives. You get that with all mass campaigns, whether it’s Jubilee 2000, Make Poverty History or even Free Burma. So the views of the ‘executives’ are not necessarily reflective of the grass roots or other participants, etc. I guess that it’s important for people to distance themselves from those elements, though that is probably difficult when one of them is a (self-appointed?) leader.

      Moving on from Hickey’s statements, which we can agree are pretty silly (though possibly quite harmful), the question I raised is whether the boycott is *necessarily* racist. If it affected Israeli institutions, and not people according to their nationality, and if it were applied properly without hypocrisy (such as that shown by Mr Barghouti), would you still consider it racist? If it’s simply based on where someone works, is it racist? I mean, we have sanctions against countries (eg, Iran, Syria, Myanmar) which mean that companies cannot do business with companies from those countries. Is that racist?

      I think Absolute Observer raised an interesting point (a shame that he has since taken to simple smearing) about whether the ‘effects’ could be racist, even if the motives weren’t. That’s a discussion to have (though it would apply, of course, to boycotts against Myanmar, etc., too).

      Thoughts?

  19. Brian Robinson Says:

    To Brian G specifically (I don’t know why I can’t ever seem to find ‘Reply’ buttons to respond to your posts — some gremlin I guess). Thank you. I accept that Fisk is often partisan and selective and I would never advise anyone to read only his work (any more than I’d advise an exclusive reading of, say, Chomsky — or for that matter, Dershowitz).

    Concerning this: “On a separate note, I’m also sorry that you appear to find this site . . . failing in its even-handedness. The founding editor might be even more disappointed than I am!”

    Did you mean this remark of mine, “the recent example of the seemingly interminable correspondence on “Mark Gardner on Mark Steel” page reminded me of a phrase I once used with reference to this website, a certain petifogging captiousness that sometimes seems to take it over”?

    In my mind an important word there was “sometimes”. I recall, from a year or two back, leaping to the defence of Johann Hari, and possibly on another occasion of Paul Reynolds. I hope I’m not asked for chapter and verse because I don’t want to spend time searching.

    If I am wrong in thinking that what Philip was on about was that there is sometimes a tendency amongst some commenters (who? I might hear you ask … I’m sorry, I shall fail again) to categorise evidence-based criticism of Israeli actions as antisemitism, when it isn’t, then I misled myself — (“I have a certain sympathy with some of the questions (and alright, assertions) that Philip raises (and asseverates)” — and owe you an apology.

    As for the founding editor, I’ve apologised to him in the past five years more times than I care — and possibly he — to remember.

    I’m on record, e.g. on the JPUK list, as saying that Engage has from the beginning raised extremely important and cogent questions about the academic / cultural boycott, and that these have never been answered adequately by any of those advocating it.

    I might also add that Engage is the site above all others (and if I may say so, I read widely) which, on the middle east conflict, has moidered my mind most, and as I think I said once here before given me a heartfelt sympathy with tennis balls.

    My belief is that anyone who *listens* to the arguments advanced by all sides must at least occasionally be assailed by doubts.

    At the risk of labouring the point, let me repeat, whatever I may have said or thought before (as Moshe Dayan once said in a BBC interview) I now think, as I have long thought, that Engage performs a crucial service. Sometimes some commenters seem to me to spend too much time wrangling over this word or that phrase — but maybe that’s where I’m wrong because precision with words is vital and instead of being a weakness, such a focus is one of Engage’s strengths.

    all best
    Brian R

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      Actually, I was trying (clearly with absolutely no success – my fault for poor thinking/writing) to be light about it. I agree that many sites (though I probably visit far fewer than you) are other than interesting/stimulating reading – especially if one wants to react other than with disbelief and similar emotions.

      However, I have long felt that the Engage editorial team (and hopefully many of us who comment) manage to steer a course of critical support for Israel, while reserving our rights to criticise, as we would any other country. We collectively fight the boycott(s), antisemitism and one-eyed attacks on Israel and the world Jewish community.

      I was just surprised that you appeared (underlined) to include this site in your criticisms. I certainly didn’t expect such a long response – although neither do I expect us to always agree on the topics this site covers and that we agree are important.

      But that’s a different discussion.

    • Brian Robinson Says:

      Fisk reporting:

      “[I]raqi Kurds, Palestinians in Jordan, Pakistan and Turkey appear to be the worst offenders … [M]any of the Jordanian families were originally Palestinian. Nine months ago, a Palestinian stabbed his married sister to death because of her “bad behaviour”. … In “Palestine” itself, Human Rights Watch has long blamed the Palestinian police and justice system for the near-total failure to protect women in Gaza and the West Bank from “honour” killings. …”

      I should give a warning. This article is about sheer horror — indeed, Martin Amis’s word, coined in another, although not entirely unrelated, context, comes to mind — ‘horrorism’. Do not read if easily upset by accounts of misogynistic inhumanity.

      The honour killing files:
      The crimewave that shames the world

      It’s one of the last great taboos: the murder of at least 20,000 women a year in the name of ‘honour’. Nor is the problem confined to the Middle East: the contagion is spreading rapidly

      By Robert Fisk

      Tuesday, 7 September 2010

      http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/the-crimewave-that-shames-the-world-2072201.html

      http://bit.ly/b4zVcq

      • Philip Says:

        I have a Syrian friend who was beaten by her husband. She has managed to get a divorce, but against the strong disapproval of her parents. Yet I would have thought that a father, seeing his daughter get smacked around by a man, would instantly want to stick up for her. It seems not; honour was more important, and he didn’t want the shame of a divorced daughter (I suspect a divorced son would be fine).

        I would guess that the 20,000 killed is just the thin end of the wedge. How many more cases of oppression that don’t end in murder are there out there? That’s inhumanity for you.

  20. Absolute Observer Says:

    “and in a peer-reviewed pub no less!”

    Well, Bill, without the contributions of all those clever Jews, you have to fill the pages with something!!

  21. Absolute Observer Says:

    Hickey’s source material on Jewish history.

    And, my, what ethics they had!!

    And, here it is, your moment of schmaltz!

  22. Absolute Observer Says:

    For more advanced students,

  23. Absolute Observer Says:

    Philip has raised the boycott question before……………..

    https://engageonline.wordpress.com/2010/06/10/editors-putting-the-independent-back-into-indie/

    He does tend to go on, so hopefully this will save us all time.

    One can also find in the archives his belief that because of Obama’s choice of chief of staff there will be no US change of policy in the US (from his blog) ; that Israel pushed for the war in Iraq, that Shlaim is the only historian worth reading (I paraphrase), that the modern state of Israel is based on the unilateral theft of land, that the Israel Lobby thesis is quite right, that the cry from “the river to the sea” does not mean what it implies and so on and on. (In fact, Israel, Israel, Israel as if it is the only country in the world!).

    Scrape away the good manners and the “I myself am not decided” and “I don’t know the matter well enough” and you are left with the normal crap that fills the web day after day.

    In this instance, manners certainly do not maketh the man (I have a feeling that a more seasoned blogger like Modernityblog has sussed Philip out already).

    A troll by any other name!

  24. Absolute Observer Says:

    From an earlier discussion,

    https://engageonline.wordpress.com/2010/03/03/hard-hitting-campaigns-or-outright-anti-semitism/

    “Philip Blue seems to think ‘the Jewish vote’ is holding back fair play:
    http://philipblue.blogspot.com/2009/01/change-you-can-believe-inobamas-israel.html

    “Whatever the reasons for supporting Israel or not, given his silence thus far, his appointment of Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff, as well as his selection of advisers, Mr Obama seems unlikely to be less supportive of Israel than Mr Clinton. Only when they are free of the electoral necessity to court the Jewish vote will Democratic presidents strike a more evenhanded pose. But for now, Mr Obama’s promised change will not materialise.”

    “If there is a mistake in my writing (which is more or less a summary of research by Shlaim, Walt and Mearsheimer [of Oxford, Harvard and Chicago – reasonable credientials I would say, and hardly out of the mainstream], applied to the 2008 Presidential election) then please do point it out. My guarantee to you is if you can persuade me that I’m wrong, I will change my mind.”

    “Well, Walt has a blog on one of the US’s most prominent foreign politics publications.

    In what way has their work been traduced?”

    The reasonable discuss conspiracy theory approach beloved of Philip,
    “Right, but you haven’t explained how their work has been ‘traduced’. To do that you need to show me where there are mistakes in their arguments. On the basis of either the book or the LRB article.”

    “So what happened in step 4? Palesinians were expelled from their villages, ie, their homes and land were stolen Whether it happened in the cases of other states being formed is really not the point. It’s theft whether it happened in Colombia, the USA, East Timor, Russia or Namibia.”

    “I can’t peak for the ‘Left’ since I come from the right, personally, but I think you’re right that the historical narrative is open to abuse. People like Avi Shlaim are at pains to point this out and try to bring an evidential base to history of the conflict.”

    “I confess I don’t feel comfortable debating you in specifics here.”

    On “from the river to the sea”
    “Ok, so let’s agree that when some people utter this statement they are being racist. Or belicose. Or something similar.

    What I was saying is that it doesn’t *necessarily* have those overtones.”

    All you words, Philip.

    So, don’t accuse me of smearing you when I bring to the fore what you have said on previous posts.

    Oh and Philip, I note you do the “don’t smear me line right on cue – that is, when asked about something specific or when your views have been challenged.
    It’s becoming boring.

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      If it’s not “don’t smear me”, he’s liable to start talking about people being “gentler” to him, before ignoring or avoiding the point he’s supposed to be answering.

      Furthermore, in the item AO links to on Philip Blue’s blog, Philip asserts that the Democratic Party is more reliant on Jewish votes than the Republicans. What _is_ the case is that American Jews are much more likely to vote Democratic than Republican: not the same thing at all. Let’s do the maths. There are about 6 million Jews in America, of whom about 4 m. will be of voting age – but this doesn’t mean that they will be registered to vote or that they _will_ vote. Registering to vote is a voluntyary act in the US, unlike here in the UK.

      The population of the US is about 300m, of whom about 200m will be of voting age (same restictions re registration apply). So that’s Jews 2%, the rest 98%. Wow, the Jews dominate the US electoral system! Further, Jews in the US are concentrated in two (large) states: New York and California. So, in a really close election, they might swing those two: except that they are nearly always overwhelmingly blue(Democratic) states. They might also influence a few really close Senate or House races.

      What it comes to is that Philip Blue, away from this website, is propounding a conspiracy theory (see David Aaronovitch “Voodoo History” and/or my “On Conspiracy Theory” article here some months ago).

      And he might like to explain why it is that some American Jewish organisations and commentators have labelled Obama as significantly less pro-Israel than his immediate predecessors.

      • Philip Says:

        I’ll be happy to discuss the piece I wrote. Can I suggest that you post your comments on my blog. To discuss it here will probably try the patience of the moderator!

    • Philip Says:

      Even with your quote-mining it’s quite clear that you can’t substantiate your nonsensical claims.

      • Brian Goldfarb Says:

        Evidence, rather than bland assertions, please, Philip, before you use words like “nonsensical”. Given my comment and the argument (not, note, assertions) contained therein, how about a deconstruction that equals mine? All you’ve done is disagree. That’s the easy bit. How about doing the hard bit.

        • Philip Says:

          Brian, sorry, my comment was to Absolute Observer. Your comment wasn’t visible when I posted mine. Sorry if you thought it was directed at you. It wasn’t.

  25. Absolute Observer Says:

    Engage have had people wanting a “reasonable discussion” about the Isreal Lobby, about Israelis stealing organs, about Israelis being pathological, etc.
    Now Philip want a “reasonable discussion” about racist exclusions.
    The form of such requests is always soooooo polite. Its content malicious and racist.
    Some subjects of “debate” are in themselves racist. The boycott of Israeli Jews is one of them. One challenges racist debates at their core, by pointing out why the are racist and having nothing to do with them, and refuse, in the strongest measures possible, to have that debate. Calling for “opinions” on the matter legitimises the illegitimate.
    It disgusts me.

  26. Ex UCU Says:

    From what I recall, the advice sought by UCU was that the proposed boycott of Israeli universities was illegal (i.e. racist) according to the anti-discriminatory laws in effect. It was discriminatory in its effects if not in its motivation.
    Perhaps rather than Philip asking for Engage to do the boycotters work for them (i.e. to find a way past anti-discriminatory laws that many (mainly those on the left) had spent a great deal of energy, time and moment to ensure reached the statute book), Philip would be better seeking his own legal advice especially if it means that much to him.

    • Bill Says:

      “It was discriminatory in its effects if not in its motivation.”

      The Hickey letter makes that hazy at best, IMHO. The intent wasn’t directly, “Yeah, let’s stick it to the Jews,” but rather let’s stick it to the some Israelis who happen to be Jews by targeting a Jewish vulnerability/stereotype. (And that attribute is there, in part, due to past institutionalized discrimination.) As soon as he decided to engage in Special Pleading the resulting “argument” was inevitable. And that’s before we get to the arguably racist implicit backhanded reprieve he gave to other countries with records worse than Israel who he felt would be less susceptible to a boycott. That BMJ letter was a jaw dropper for me.

  27. Absolute Observer Says:

    Should Philip respond by his normal tact of “I don’t know Hickey, so I can’t say if he’s being antisemitic or not” I want to stress that I have no idea if Hickey is or is not an antisemite. I would incline to the belief that he is not. He is an avowed member of the left, a senior official in a Trade Union and so on. Hardly a place for antisemites.
    The point is that in this instance, Hickey has used stereotypes of Jews to buttress his call for the boycott of Israeli Jews (and only Israeli Jews). This indicates the way that not only is the boycott itself inherently racist, but also that racist imagery comes to attach itself even without subjective intent. As many have argued before, antisemitism is not a personal disposition only, it is a political ideology used with the sole intention of attacking and harming Jews, wherever they may be; in this case Israel.

  28. Absolute Observer Says:

    “As I’ve made clear, I haven’t made my mind up about whether the boycott is a good idea. I feel that something must be done to end the injustices in Israel / Palestine, I just don’t know what.”

    Thoughts?

    That in your(!) frustration you are willing to play with racism and racist ideas.
    It’s the the option most easily adopted by many of the “frustrated”. Like frozen food, its easily at hand, no thought goes into its making, doesn’t take long to cook and can even look like the real thing. Instant satisfaction and all with clean hands.

  29. Absolute Observer Says:

    http://philipblue.blogspot.com/2010/01/update-on-obama-and-peacemaking-in.html

    “Read the post (Walt – “Yes, Congress will pander to the lobby”) in full. It’s well worth it. For further excellent commentary on this issue, please visit Hybrid States, especially the interesting post from today on apartheid.”

    I guess the idea of Israel as apartheid is something that Philip isn’t sure of. He simply thinks people who think is “interesting”.

    “Politicians from the Democratic Party are more reliant on Jewish supporters for both votes and money than their counterparts in the Republican Party. In their essay on the Israel Lobby, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, academics from Chicago and Harvard universities, explain why this is.

    The Washington Post once estimated that Democratic presidential candidates ‘depend on Israel-leaning supporters to supply as much as 60 per cent of the money’. And because Israel-leaning voters have high turn-out rates and are concentrated in key states like California, Florida, Illinois, New York and Pennsylvania, presidential candidates go to great lengths not to antagonise them.”…………….

    “Whatever the reasons for supporting Israel or not, given his silence thus far, his appointment of Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff, as well as his selection of advisers, Mr Obama seems unlikely to be less supportive of Israel than Mr Clinton. Only when they are free of the electoral necessity to court the Israel Lobby and the associated votes will Democratic presidents strike a more evenhanded pose. But for now, Mr Obama’s promised change will not materialise.”

    “free of?”

    Of course, I don’t know Philip , so I could not possibly comment, but there does seem little difference between him and the normal anti-zionist, Israel Lobby believing, apartheid analogous troll whose claim to open-mindedness is as false as his claimed politeness and his belief that “it’s incredibly important to treat Israelis and Jewish people with dignity and respect.” (Like excommunicating them from the rest of the world per chance?)


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