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:
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.
This piece is written by Saul