Joel and Ethan Coen don’t agree with boycott

See Norm on Serious Men.

Israeli academics won’t go to Ariel College while the boycotters see no difference between Ariel and Tel Aviv

This piece is written by Saul

How the boycott campaign in UCU exploits Israeli naivity.

Just like Easters of old, May is not a good time for Jews; or at least those Jews who are opposed to the singling out of Israel for unique punishment by the UCU.

As regular as clockwork, the UCU has a motion calling for the continuing demonization and exclusion of the Jewish state.  Nothing new there.  What is new is that this exclusion is now being made in the name of “Israeli colleagues” themselves.   But if we look in a bit more detail at what it is precisely the UCU’s “Israeli colleagues” are calling for, we can see the gap that exists between what the Israeli academics have said and how their statements are being dishonestly exploited by the anti-Zionist boycott campaigners.

In a motion proposed by the LSE UCU, – “Threats to academic freedom in Israel and Palestine” – we read the following:

Congress notes:

6.      the petition from 155 Israeli academics expressing their “unwillingness to take part in any type of academic activity taking place in the college operating in the settlement of Ariel”, calling Ariel an illegal settlement whose existence contravenes international law and the Geneva Convention.

The nature of this petition and its limits are clear – to avoid any type of academic activity that offers the opportunity of the Israeli right to treat the Occupied Territories as a part of Israel proper.  Of course opposition to the settlers is not restricted to 155 academics but is a widepsread position in Israel.  The point here, however, is that the call cited by the motion relates solely to Ariel college and the Occupied Territories.

However, when we return to the UCU motion that cites this petition, something magic happens. The Israeli campaign which targets Ariel and the occupation of the West Bank now appears alongside the campaign to boycott Israeli academia in general:

Congress instructs NEC to:………

circulate to all members

o    the call by the Israeli academics

o    the PACBI call for academic and cultural boycott of Israel.

What the LSE UCU has done here – and what it is encouraging the UCU to do – is to dishonestly appropriate and exploit a legitimate political concern of a number of Israelis concerning one aspect of contemporary Israel – its occupation of the West Bank – to serve the entirely illegitimate aim of demonising and excluding Israel as a whole.

First the LSE motion tells UCU to circulate the call by the Israeli acdemics.  In the very next line, it tells UCU to circulate the call to boycott Israeli academics.  Perhaps Mike Cushman, the brains behind LSE UCU, cannot see the irony?

Alongside the abuse of Israeli academic intentions lurks a second irony.

In failing to distinguish the distinction between Israel and the Occupied Territories (a distinction inherent in the petition, but dissolved in the motion), the UCU anti-Zionists join hands with the Israeli right. While the settlers seek to incorporate the West Bank to Israel, the  boycotters seek to incorporate Israel into Palestine. In so doing, both groups seek to erase the legal and political distinction between the legitimate Israeli nation-state and the illegally occupied lands of the West Bank all in the name of (a differently evaluated) unitary state.

Of course, Israeli academics – or any other Israelis – should be free to express whatever political perspectives they have, and to sign any petition they want, in spite of the fact that those with lesser principles outside Israel will exploit such actions for their own illegitimate and exclusionary ends.  The responsibility for this abuse is entirely the responsibility of the abusers themselves – in this case, UCU LSE and, should the motion pass, the UCU as a whole.

Press TV, on behalf of the Iranian regime, seems to support the Israeli academics too; as does Norman Finkelstein; as does Electronic Intifada.

Click here for David Hirsh’s analysis of the possible boycott of Ariel from 2005.

This piece is written by Saul

The myth of BDS Universalism

Wildcat strike on Israeli railway follows arrest, beating of union leader

From Eric Lee at TULIP, Trade Unions Linking Israel and Palestine.

Proponents of a boycott of Israel – and of its trade unions – will often claim that the unions aren’t real unions.  They’re just arms of the Zionist state.

But of course the facts are entirely different.  Israel’s unions are very real indeed, and sometimes the conflicts between unions and employers can get very sharp.

We had an example of this last week when a wildcat strike of railway workers was triggered by the arrest (and alleged beating) of the leader of the union and nine others.

The full story is here – on the TULIP website.

It’s not only the railway workers, but singers at the Israel National Opera who are embroiled in dispute with their employers.  The singers are threatening strike action this week.

Meanwhile, in some unions idiotic anti-Jewish sentiments are still given a platform.  The most recent example comes from Norway, where a union website published a letter from a member claiming that Jews ran the country in 1945.  Anywhere else and that might be insignificant, but as Norwegian unions have been particularly hostile toward Israel in recent years, that takes on an added meaning.

Finally, we’re now only five weeks away from the TULIP launch event in London.  If you can attend, please do make sure to RSVP to  I hope to see many of you there.

Eric Lee