Neve Gordon changed his mind on the boycott

Only an idiot never changes his mind.

Neve Gordon has changed his mind on the campaign to boycott Israel.  In 2003 he wrote a compelling piece under the headline: “Against the israeli Academic Boycott” in the The Nation in which he puts forward some of the central reasons why a boycott of Israeli academia would be both unjust and also counterproductive.

In 2003 Neve Gordon argued that in Israel ‘academic freedom still exists, much more so than in many other countries’ but he said that unwittingly, ‘American and European supporters of the academic boycott against Israeli universities are aiding’ the right wing attack on academic freedom. Gordon goes on:

“Among the many reasons why one should reject the academic boycott, critics have highlighted the boycotter’s double standard. It is not only that some of the boycotters come from countries that are also responsible for much oppression and suffering, but, perhaps more important, Israel could not carry out its policies without the ongoing support of the United States, which has, for example, recently promised Sharon $12 billion in direct aid and loan guarantees.”

“While this line of argument exposes some of the biases informing the academic boycott movement, there are two other important reasons why a boycott of Israeli universities is misdirected.”

“The first argument is the one already alluded to: Israeli universities continue to be an island of freedom surrounded by a stifling and threatening environment. In the past two years the Israeli media, which was once known for its critical edge, has been suppressing critical voices, and in a number of electronic media outlets specific regulations have been issued, such as restrictions on live interviews with Palestinians. This dangerous trend is likely to become even more pronounced now that the right wing has garnered a considerable majority in the Israeli Knesset.”

“The second argument, the one most often ignored by outsiders, has to do with the fact that in the past year and a half Israeli universities have been under an unprecedented assault by the Sharon government. The Minister of Education, Limor Livnat, is trying to radically change the structure of higher education, including the way universities are governed and managed. She would like to strip power from the faculty senates and transfer it to boards of trustees in which professors are barred from membership. An academic boycott will only strengthen Livnat, and in this way assist the destruction of academic freedom in Israel.”

Neve Gordon goes on to explain precisely why the boycotters’ claim to be targetting only institutions and not individuals makes no sense:

When I explained these points to pro-boycott colleagues in Britain, they replied, “It isn’t you, but rather your institute that will be punished for not taking an institutional stand on the illegality of the occupation.” Yet it is precisely the institute that enables Israeli professors – regardless of their political affiliation – to voice their views, suggesting that an assault on the university is in fact an assault on its faculty.

Neve Gordon finishes with an important point:

To fight the anti-intellectual atmosphere within Israel, local academics need as much support as they can get from their colleagues abroad. A boycott will only weaken the elements within Israeli society that are struggling against the assault on the universities, and in this way will inadvertently help those who want to gain control over one of the last havens of free speech in the country.

Some of us, who later founded Engage, were so impressed by Neve Gordon’s position that we quoted him in a letter that was published in the Times Higher in April 2005 and which was signed by, amongst others, David Hirsh and Robert Fine.

In August 2009 Neve Gordon raised perhaps the most fundamental reason why a boycott of Israel would be counterproductive: “A global boycott can’t help but contain echoes of anti-Semitism.”  This, as UCU activists have discovered for themselves over the last five years, is certainly true.   In the same piece Neve Gordon also argues that:

“It also brings up questions of a double standard (why not boycott China for its egregious violations of human rights?) and the seemingly contradictory position of approving a boycott of one’s own nation.”

Yet it is this same editorial in the LA Times where Neve Gordon says that he now supports the campaign for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel.  This followed on from a piece he had published in the Guardian also offering support to the BDS campaign.

Only an idiot never changes his mind.  There is no disgrace in changing your mind.  But if you do so then you ought to say why.  This is the reasoning that he offers in the LA Times:

But today, as I watch my two boys playing in the yard, I am convinced that it is the only way that Israel can be saved from itself.

I say this because Israel has reached a historic crossroads, and times of crisis call for dramatic measures. I say this as a Jew who has chosen to raise his children in Israel, who has been a member of the Israeli peace camp for almost 30 years and who is deeply anxious about the country’s future.

The most accurate way to describe Israel today is as an apartheid state. For more than 42 years, Israel has controlled the land between the Jordan Valley and the Mediterranean Sea. Within this region about 6 million Jews and close to 5 million Palestinians reside. Out of this population, 3.5 million Palestinians and almost half a million Jews live in the areas Israel occupied in 1967, and yet while these two groups live in the same area, they are subjected to totally different legal systems. The Palestinians are stateless and lack many of the most basic human rights. By sharp contrast, all Jews — whether they live in the occupied territories or in Israel — are citizens of the state of Israel.

The question that keeps me up at night, both as a parent and as a citizen, is how to ensure that my two children as well as the children of my Palestinian neighbors do not grow up in an apartheid regime.

The reason seems to be that things are now so bad in Israel that ‘something must be done’.  But what Neve Gordon is unable to do is to show what is wrong with his previous arguments about doing this particular ‘something’.  He offers nothing.

No reason why the boycott campaign no longer contains echoes of antisemitism.

No reason why he singles out Israel, and only Israel, for boycott.

No reason why he is willing to overlook the ‘biases’ of the boycott movement.

No reason why BDS would no longer bolster the right and harm the left in Israel.

Neve Gordon evidently understands the reasons why BDS is both wrong and also counterproductive.  He is therefore very well placed to explain to us why these reasons are no longer important.  He should do so.

Engage offered Neve Gordon a right of reply to this piece which I wrote in response to another article of his.  Neve wrote back and denied that, as it said in that article, he is ‘a supporter of the campaign to exclude Israeli scholars from the international academic community’.  He wrote that ‘the BDS campaign itself does not support such exclusion.  Indeed, the academic boycott is aimed at institutions and not individual scholars’.

As to what the BDS campaign supports, that was clear long ago.  It supported Mona Baker and Andrew Wilkie in their ‘individual boycotts’ of Israelis.  At some times it has supported a political test for individuals from Israel, and offered an amnesty to individuals like Neve Gordon who show willingness to jump through their hoops.  And at other times the BDS campaign has tried to hide behind the fiction of the ‘institutional boycott’.

This old piece by Jon Pike deals with this sophistry: http://www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/article.php?id=231

This old piece of mine responded to Sue Blackwell’s protestations and threats on the issue:  http://www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/article.php?id=1197

But for the best critique of the ‘institutional boycott’ I would refer you to Neve Gordon himself (above): “it is precisely the institute that enables Israeli professors – regardless of their political affiliation – to voice their views, suggesting that an assault on the university is in fact an assault on its faculty.”

Neve Gordon has written op eds in the Guardian and in the LA Times in which he offers unambiguous support for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel.  Nowhere does he mention any nuances of position regarding an academic boycott.

There is a transcript of an interview that he gave on Public Radio International in which the interviewer suggests that Gordon is not for an academic boycott.  Neve Gordon replies as follows:

There is no doubt tension, if not a contradiction, to support a boycott of one’s self in a sense. What I’m trying to say is that we all live in contradictions and we have to choose the contradictions we live in. The contradiction I am living with is a contradiction that I hope will bring change here for my children. And I don’t want them, or the children of our Palestinian neighbors, to live in an apartheid regime.”

Neve Gordon does not take this opportunity to say that he is for BDS except for academics.  He does not say he is against an academic boycott either of individuals or of institutions.  Given that he publicly and internatioanlly supports “BDS” and given that he has not argued for an exception for academics, I think it is fair to say that he supports the boycott campaign.

The boycott campaign is fronted by “PACBI” – the Palestinian campaign for an Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.  It is a campaign for an academic boycott of Israel.  Neve Gordon supports it.  But he does not say why he has rejected all the good reasons for opposing it.

David Hirsh

Goldsmiths, University of London

Engage invites Neve Gordon to respond

18 Responses to “Neve Gordon changed his mind on the boycott”

  1. A reply to Neve Gordon by David Hirsh « Engage – the anti-racist campaign against antisemitism Says:

    […] See this further discussion by David Hirsh of Neve Gordon’s shifting position on the campaign to boycott Israel […]

  2. Brian Goldfarb Says:

    Let me see if I’ve got this right. I was employed as an academic at De Montfort University (DMU) in the UK until recently. So, if there was a BDS campaign against UK universities, including DMU, this, according to Neve Gordon, wouldn’t be aimed at me, but at the institution. So, if I submitted a paper to a conference to held at a member university of the BDS campaign, according to Gordon, as an individual, I would be allowed to present that paper.

    If that is the case, what the hell is the point of the boycott? Because the same logic would have to be applied to me if I submitted a paper to a journal housed, owned or otherwise published by boycotting ditto. And, surely, if I was collaborating with people at the boycotting ditto on a research project, I should be allowed to continue. To do otherwise would be to boycott the individuals, which Gordon (and other BDS advocates) say isn’t the case.

    This same logic should apply to my legitimate use of my employing institute’s money, given my terms and conditions of employment there. If all this is the case, then the BDS movement, at least as far as academic institutions are concerned, makes no sense at all.

    So we must assume that in fact individuals _will_ be boycotted, along with their institutions. Anything else makes a mockery of everything the likes of Tom Hickey, the Roses (all of them), Sue Blackwell, the whole of PACBI, etc, have been saying these past 5+ years. And whatever else they are, on this they are deadly serious and not at all in the “mocking vein”. Thus, to come back to Neve Gordon’s position, unless I am prepared to take someone’s McCarthyite loyalty pledge, I _must_ be boycotted along with my employer. This, note, despite any attacks I might have made on whatever it is my institution might have done wrong in the BDSer’s eyes.

    As I noted on another thread to another commenter (albeit in saltier language), I and those like me will tell the boycotters demanding this of me to take their loyalty test and shove it where the sun don’t shine.

    The final, and much more articulate, comment needs to rest with the writer of Blacklisted Dictator’s Huffington Post article to which he links elsewhere. As soon as I’ve submitted this comment, I’ll get it and repost it here.

  3. Toby Esterhase Says:

    Neve Gordon said this in his interview with PSR:

    “You can write that Israel is a terrorist state and that will not do anything. It is the boycott that touches the nerve, and I didn’t expect that to happen.”

    duh!

    This scholar of political science is surprised that when you go round the world supporting an antisemitic exclusion of your fellow countrymen that it would “touch a nerve”.

    He doesn’t understand what he’s doing, does he?

    • Toby Esterhase Says:

      This gives the lie to the claim that people get accused of antisemitism for criticism of Israel.

      It would appear that what surprised Neve Gordon was that people in Israel understand very clearly the distinction between criticism on the one hand and antisemitic exclusion on the other.

  4. shriber2380 Says:

    Why boycotts of Israel? Are the choices by boycotters always self evident?

    Take the case of Godard as an example:

    “Godard pulls out of Israeli film festival”

    “Event official says celebrated French-Swiss moviemaker ‘seems to have succumbed to pressure from pro-Palestinian groups who launched a campaign for people to boycott Jewish state’”

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3550251,00.html

    Was Godard really “influenced” or was he following his real beliefs about Jews in 08 when he decided to boycott Israel?

    Here is a more revealing article from the Forward:

    Godard, Israel, the Holocaust and Hollywood:

    By Benjamin Ivry

    “In a 2009 article in Le Monde, “Godard and the Jewish Question” by Jean-Luc Douin, Godard is quoted as making an off-camera comment during the filming of a 2006 documentary: “Palestinians’ suicide bombings in order to bring a Palestinian State into existence ultimately resemble what the Jews did by allowing themselves to be led like sheep to be slaughtered in gas chambers, sacrificing themselves to bring into existence the State of Israel.” Godard apparently believes that Jews committed mass suicide during the Holocaust in order for Israel to be created. The same article quotes him along these lines: “Basically, there were six million kamikazes” and “Hollywood was invented by Jewish gangsters.” At least Godard cannot accuse the American film industry of being ungrateful gangsters.”

    Read more: http://www.forward.com/articles/132013/#ixzz124JZudYS

  5. Jonathan Zausmer Says:

    What we are witnessing is and increasing trend of the informed Israeli left in an osmotic process, moving to “other side”, that being: taking a position which directly damages core interests of the state in order to try to effect change. This is clearly not anti-semitism, though we may philosophize and attempt to categorise this as such.

    Let’s realize that we live in a time where settlement expansion, the disenfranchisement of Palestinians of land and rights, and dark tendencies of racism are not only evident in Israeli society but are increasingly becoming institutionalized in the system. I can tell you that today many Israelis check the small print on every item in the supermarket as they are simply not prepared to endorse any product that comes out of the settlements in occupied territory.

    And at what time does Engage turn to the Israeli government and say: this is simply indefensible and cannot continue? Never?

    The political process here by simply running its course is heading full-tilt to a completely unsustainable democracy as land becomes a more important value than statehood, democracy and human dignity. When you look at that reality in the face – as a Jew and a Zionist and a citizen of Israel – and most likely Neve Gordon does – it may be perceived, a time for action, and by that I don’t mean going off and voting for Meretz once in four years and the next day, dutifully doing reserve duty in occupied territory and guarding Levingers’ settlers in Hebron.

    • David Hirsh Says:

      I quite agree with you Jonathan. Neve Gordon’s about-turn is motivated by an overwhelming anger with what Israel does, a feeling that it is now “time for action”.

      As though it wasn’t time for action in 2003 or in 1993 or 1983.

      Of course, what the Israeli government does is indefensible and cannot continue.

      Of course something must be done.

      The question is what? What is it that must be done?

      Not just anything.

      The Neve Gordon faction of the Israeli left has shifted. Ten years ago it tried to win over Israelis to its point of view.

      Now it relies on winning over western Boycotters.

      Neve Gordon is now asking Tom Hickey, Mike Cushman and Sue Blackwell to save Israel. He is shaping the message. He is hoping for a magic intervention from outside because he has given up on his fellow Israelis.

      But it won’t come. Because there is no magic solution. Because the boycotters hate Israel. And boycott is a manifestation of the irrational hatred for Israel. To single out Israel on the planet, as Gordon knows, for boycott, is irrational. But now he has been so angered by what Israel does, that he has embraced that irrationality.

      “something must be done.”

      but not this.

  6. Stephen Rothbart Says:

    The problem with boycotts of Israel is that they say more about the boycotters than the subject of the boycott.

    The main question to be asked of them is ‘why just Israel?’ Jews can argue, and many do, that in trying to survive in a land surrounded by hostile and violent extremists, in a country that has been in a virtual state of war since 1948, Israeli Jews have to behave in a way that is the antithesis of their faith.

    But the alternative is to behave as millions of Jews have done in the diaspora over the centuries of their exile from their Holy Land, as the antithesis of a normal human being, having been forced into ghettos, death, slavery and persecution that made them live in the shadows of society.

    Now the Jews of Israel live their lives as masters of the society that they have created. And if only left alone and tolerated by their neighbours, the seige mentality of their daily lives, unknown to most of the Leftist and liberal Jews who would boycott Israel, would have probably evolved into the kind of socialist society Engage members cherish.

    As someone from a centre Right idealogy, I can only add that much of the Engage criticism of Israel seems to come as a result of there being a Right wing government, so this also becomes an idealogical issue perhaps.

    But after the Labour Party under Ehud Barak was rebuffed by the corrupt regime of Arafat (having offered the Palestinians much of what they had supposedly wanted) the belief that the Palestinian leadership was serious about Peace has evaporated, so the Israeli electorate moved to the centre under Kadima and then to the Right under Netanyahu.

    This seems to have unleashed a Jewish and non-Jewish backlash against Israel, not because the Israelis are doing anything so differently, but because it is a Right Wing government doing it.

    Yet the reaction of Israel is in response to the actions of their enemies. Make peace with Abbas? He does not control the Palestinians like Arafat did, and Hamas is against any peace. So who to make peace with?

    The Palestinians get billions of aid each year from the EU, the USA and the UN. Why not boycott Palestinians instead of Israel? You do not need to convince Israelis of the need for Peace. You need to convince the Palestinian leadership that saying ‘no’ to everything has a consequence, and there is no more public money to fund their investments and private homes and weapons dealing anymore while their people suffer.

    Boycotting Israel achieves nothing. And Jews that do only add fuel to the flame of anti-Semitism that underwrites most of the daily vitriol poured on Israel by those that hate Jews for just the fact that they are Jews.

    • Moishik Says:

      Of course the conflict is the source of the trouble, and yes, we know that Palestinian leadership has a habit of making the wrong decisions but that does not let Israel completely off the hook of responsibility, both historically and today.
      Let’s focus on the here and now: the roadmap, initiated by the Bush administration was accepted by Europe, the US, Russia and, the UN and in principle, the parties involved. It sets out a path and a vision for two states and peace.
      The Abbas government has done a great deal to try to hold to that roadmap, by drastically reducing terror in the WB, by introducing reliable civil administration and control and by cooperating with the IDF. And this has been done while the Israeli government continued settlement unabated and sponsors similar provocations, such as the Judaizing of Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem, and lately, point blank refuses to continue the settlement freeze in the face of an imploring world. So the Abbas government has met its obligations while the government of Israel continues building in the territory of the future Palestinian state it ostensibly recognizes the need for. This not only looks like bad faith, it walks and talks like bad faith and worse, acts in bad faith.
      Though we know that the boycotters are made up of a varied community of Israel haters, Palestinian propagandists and left wing sympathizers who join the bandwagon, it is not surprising in the face of the inability of Israel to correct its reckless colonial wrong turn 40 years ago, that some solid Israeli citizens of conscience together with diasporah Jews who hold Israel dear, now look to this option.

  7. Blacklisted Dictator Says:

    David,
    Since I am in SA, would I be breaking the boycott if I read Neve Gordon? I want to be PC and I don’t want to do anything wrong. Please advise.

  8. Bialik Says:

    “And at what time does Engage turn to the Israeli government and say: this is simply indefensible and cannot continue? Never?”

    Eh? Is Engage now a player in a middle eastern conflict? I think that says much about the BDS supporters – they seem to think they are. What Palestinians and Israelis want is not important.

    Re apartheid state, let me get this right. If Israel ruled the 1967 territories the way Jordan ruled them in 1948, ie as an integral part of a single country, that would be OK? Self rule in the territories is supposed to be precede statehood, it is not there because Israel doesn’t want to give Palestinians there a vote. Palestinians in Israel have a vote.
    Israel accepted the two state solution in 1948. Claims about apartheid suggest that the claimer does not support two states for two peoples. That’s fine, if they have a better idea that is fair and meets the aspirations (even if ‘we’ don’t approve of them in a ‘post-nationalist world’) of each party. Otherwise it is patronising. The one state policy also risks returning a historically threatened group to the powerless situation it was in for centuries. What is the greater good that would make such a move acceptable?

  9. Stephen Rothbart Says:

    Moishik, the settlers in this ‘Judaizing’ issue as you choose to call it constitute about 2,000 people out of 6 million Jewish Israelis. They are very unpopular inside Israel as well as outside. When Sharon pulled 40,000 settlers kicking and screaming from Gaza, what did Israel gain from that? 8,000 rockets and a new war.

    Abbas has very little power in the West Bank. He is very weak. During the latest peace talks in Washington, while the world was lamenting the fact that Netanyahu was being difficult on the Settlements issue and thus putting the talks in danger, members of Abbas’s own militia shot and wounded a pregnant woman in the West Bank. Of course shooting a pregnant Israeli while your leader is in Peace talks would be a terrible thing to do, except most of the world’s Press ignored this issue. So did Obama.

    Which brings me to the next point. Obama included a housing project in Jerusalem as one of the ‘settlements’ that needs to be stopped. Faced with Obama being more ‘Palestinian than the Palestinians’ paraphrasing what Abbas said about that, Abbas had to then insist on these being stopped too, which would have been suicide for Netanyahu’s government.

    I am not saying the fault lies only with Palestinians, there are some very nasty elements in Israeli society, and the Israeli system of Government, proportional representation, that gives small extremist parties such power, is seriously flawed. But until the Palestinians renounce violence, and unite as a one government nation, not factions and clans fighting for control of religion, money, guns, drugs and Foreign Aid, Israel can only go through the motions of trying to make peace with them, as to make Peace with Abbas today may mean living with the terms of that Peace with Hamas tomorrow.

    There really is no one out there right now with whom to make a serious Peace Treaty.

    This may play into the hands of the extremists on both sides, but at least one thing is certain. The majority of Israelis want a peaceful solution to the problem and to live peacefully with a two state solution.

    The majority of the Palestinian Arabs want a judenfrei one State solution. Until they renounce that aim, Israel will continue to be a fortress nation, and Israelis will continue to grow up painfully ill equipped for the diaspora Jews’ sensibilities.

    • Moishik Says:

      Stephen, sorry but I can’t let this go: If we assume there is no one out there with whom to make a peace treaty (and I don’t) does this morally empower successive Israeli governments to continue settlement expansion in a proposed future Palestinian State?
      “The majority of Palestinian arabs want a judenfrei one State solution”. Not correct. In a poll conducted by PSR in June 2010 (after the flotilla incident) 63% of Palestinians polled, supported a two state solution for the end of conflict. But even if we work with your erroneous assumption, does that give legitimacy to a de-facto annexation of territory and thus the entire population that comes with it? Ironically this in itself leads eventually to a one-state solution.
      What I am saying is that Israelis and Jews in the Diasporah need to grapple with what they want, firstly and foremostly. Is it territory or is it a smaller yet viable sustainable democratic Jewish state?
      Sadly, for lack of clarity and clear statesmanship on this issue, the Israeli proponents of boycott are gathering momentum.

      • Stephen Rothbart Says:

        Moishik, as they say, put two Jews in a room together and you will get three opinions. So I would not expect to change your mind about this. You are looking at ethical behaviour and I am looking at ‘realpolitiks’.

        Abbas did not stand for re-election this year, because the White House expected him to lose. So he stayed on as a de- facto leader of the entire Palestinian movement. Which is patent nonsense.

        Hamas has done and will continue to do everything possible to undermine the peace process. It has sworn never to recognize Israel’s right to exist. Hamas took over Gaza from Fatah, and is trying to do the same on the West Bank.

        The entire Palestinian leadership on both sides of the Israeli borders is institutionally corrupt. Its leaders have squandered billions of dollars in financial aid to line their own pockets, as even the most cursory investigation, starting with Arafat, will prove, so why should they lead their people to the path of peace, and lose all that power and financial largesse? Not that much of this aid, you will note, comes from other Arab states, who hate Palestinians more than anyone, and have killed more of them than Israel has ever done, but from the Western countries and the UN.

        Does Abbas teach children in his schools about Israel? No it is excluded on their maps in the classrooms. Do the people around him represent a stable government willing to reach an accord with Israel? No and no again. To do so is to invite being killed by their own people.

        And now Hezbollah in Lebanon is opening up a new front with Iranian backing. The US is leaning harder and harder on Israel to make even further concessions while selling massive arms shipments to Saudia Arabia, while Obama puffs and blows hot air at Iran and does nothing to stop its nuclear ambitions.

        Palestinian leaders can see which way the wind is blowing. Leaders of the EU, the UN and now even Obama make ever more demands on Israel and nothing on the Palestinians, so why should they make peace and endanger their own lives?

        That is why I, looking from a realpolitikal point of view can say that there is no partner for peace.

        And in the vacuum of this, the extremists in Israel can flourish, because the only party that can dismantle the Settlers homes is Likud, whether that sits well with the Left of Israel and the diaspora or not. And right now, with nothing on the table from the Palestinians, it would be suicide for Likud to even try. To create a civil war among their own people, only to see the settlements occupied by the same militias that celebrated the dismantling of Gaza’s settlements and greenhouses, not by moving in the homeless, but by destroying them and then using the civilian populations of Gaza as a shield to hide behind while they launched thousand of missiles into civilian targets.

        It is right and proper that Jews like you challenge what Israel does, but to take the actions of a minority of its people out of the context of Israel’s overall living conditions is to distort the truth.

        To choose to boycott Israel, as the only abuser of human rights in the entire Middle East, Africa and South America, not even mentioning China’s treatment of Tibet, is doing nothing but helping shore up the case for those whose double standards can only be explained by venality towards doing business with oil rich states, or much worse, because they can be anti-Semitic, while showing that hey, guess what, even Jews agree with us.

        And for Israelis to put their very lives in danger just because a few University Dons are banned from speaking at universities, and a few countries don’t buy their goods?

        Well, I don’t think they will. Do you? And if not then why do Jews and democrats of the Left help those that hate Jews by standing shoulder to shoulder with them?

        • Moishik Says:

          Stephen, thanks for your reply. You have not addressed the question that I put to you though. Why is Israel continuing to work against international law by persisting with settlement in the WB and why is arrogating Palestinian populated land more important than stepping up to the plate and at least trying to work out a solution?
          Your logic tells me that because of Hamas extremism, Israel has an excuse to make no special efforts for peace and continue on its path oblivious to all.
          With respect to realpolitik, you want realpolitik? Here’s the realpolitik. Israel at this time has lost more political, moral and popular ground on the international stage than at any time previously in history. The US and Europe are thoroughly fed up with the situation with the conflict and would like to see and end to it. A great deal of effort and resources have gone into this. Abbas has played his part. Israel has not. Israel is a small country with a population smaller than most metropolises in the world. You may think that the metamorphosis into a pariah state which now occurs before our eyes means nothing. It doesn’t. The threat of isolation is a very real one. One that will become very nasty as the continued hold over another people without rights continues. The Realpolitik is to face this hard reality and work honestly for solutions rather than look for excuses and bow out.
          Finally, I must point out that your comment is based on truisms, with respect Arabs and Palestinians and the situation in general. I urge you to step back for a moment and take a hard look at the reality:
          Corruption? Have a look at Israeli leaders where a previous finance minister sits out a sentence for theft and a past Prime minister looks like he is headed the same way.
          Education? Does Israel teach its children about the Nakba and the Palestinian narrative? The Israeli minister of Education has just banned a book that tries to look at both narratives.
          Stable government? The Abbas government has shown a great deal of stability since the break with Hamas
          That an agreement with Israel is to invite being killed by “ their own people”? Right now Israel bears the stain and the scar of a Prime Minister who was assassinated by his own, not the Palestinians.
          Realpolitik Stephen, is to work with the US, Europe and the rest of the world. Realpolitik is to realize that a greater Israel is means a one State solution for future generations. Realpolitik is to understand that Israel is not China, it is a mere .001% of China. Realpolitik is to realize that BDS is a very real threat and that the real solution is to find solutions.

  10. Engage serves as “‘useful idiots’ for Israeli state propaganda” – Ran Greenstein « Engage – the anti-racist campaign against antisemitism Says:

    […] perhaps well-intentioned, and is respectful towards Tutu. His colleague David Hirsh, in contrast, is out to do a demolition job on one of the prominent activists and academics working against the occupation, Neve […]

  11. Proposals to boycott Israeli Universities: a response by Robert Fine, following Desmond Tutu, Neve Gordon, Uri Avnery, David Hirsh and Ran Greenstein « Engage – the anti-racist campaign against antisemitism Says:

    […] David Hirsh wrote a critique of a piece by Neve Gordon on academic freedom in Israel.  Read it here.  David Hirsh wrote a second piece tracing Neve Gordon’s journey from sharp critic of the boycott campaign to important supporter.  Read it here. […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: