Opposing the campaign to exclude Israelis from the global academic community

There is a campaign to exclude Israelis from the global community in protest against Israeli human rights abuses.  There is no analogous campaign in our world – by which I mean in academia, on the left, in the trade union movement – against the institutions or citizens of any other state.

The campaign is to exclude Israelis from the sporting, economic, artistic, academic, political, trade union, scientific and scholarly communities.

Why is the idea of boycott against Israel so attractive in our world

We live at a time when the positive creative movements for a better world are largely defeated and have been replaced, for the moment, by movements for resistance and opposition.

Supporting the boycott of Israel offers the opportunity to appear radical without having to do anything.

Part of the radical cachet originates from demonstrating the “courage” to stand up against Jewish (or Zionist) power – real, imagined or constructed.

The boycott doesn’t help change the situation in Palestine or in Israel but it does address the personal needs of boycotters to avoid feelings of complicity.  For some Europeans and Americans, Israel is ‘us’ but not quite ‘us’.  People think of it as “white” or “western”, they point to the support it receives from the US and Europe; yet it can be disavowed, our own “western” failings can be put onto its shoulders.

If the boycott was really about “western” influence and abuses, why would we not call upon our own institutions in America and in Europe to be boycotted?

The boycotters are good at framing the boycott issue as defining who is good and who is bad.  Supporters of the boycott are constructed as  “pro Palestine” and opponents of the boycott as “pro Israel” – then to many people it is obvious which side one must be on, to stand with the oppressed nation not the oppressor nation, against (US) imperialism not for (US) imperialism.

See my open letter to Claire Potter

There are lots of reasons to oppose this campaign: it doesn’t help the Palestinians; it violates democratic and academic norms; it encourages nationalist ways of thinking; it harms the peace movements; it divides the Labour movement and other left wing movements; it fosters antisemitic ways of thinking; it mis-educates antiracist activists on the meaning of solidarity and on recognising antisemitism.

How can we oppose the boycott campaign?

The boycott campaign appears, superficially, to be radical, left wing, antiracist and effective.  What we need to do is to build a movement which is actually pro-peace, antiracist and effective.

1.  The conflict on our campuses seems to be between wavers of the Israeli flag and wavers of the Palestinian flag.  We refuse to pick up one or the other flag and to hope for its victory; better to embrace a politics of reconciliation

We support the progressives and the antiracists, people fighting for a democratic politics, within both Israel and Palestine.

We support a politics of peace between Israel and Palestine, not a vain hope that one will defeat the other and bring peace through victory.  There are narratives both of Palestinian and of Israeli nationhood which are compelling and progressive; and they are compatible one with the other.  National conflict is not inevitable while national self-determination is the key to a peace agreement.

We are sensitive to, and we oppose antisemitism and also Islamophobia and also anti-Arab racism – we oppose racism in general. 

See the founding statement of Engage.

2.  We need to have a conversation about what solidarity is.

It is an old and difficult question: what can we do to help them, who are suffering?   The we is academics?  trade unionists?  intellectuals?  antiracists?  Americans?

Solidarity begins there not here.  It doesn’t answer our needs first, it relates to others first.  We are interested in peace in the Middle East, not in our own political cleanliness and not in using events far away rhetorically against our own enemies at home.

When we make solidarity we listen carefully and respectfully, but there is always a diversity of voices and positions to listen to; solidarity is always also a responsibility to engage and to think for ourselves.  Solidarity changes ‘us’ as it changes ‘them’, it is never a slavish or a one way responsibility to ‘answer a call’ or obey those who claim to speak in the name of the oppressed.

Solidarity is a relationship with progressives who are closer to the violence and the oppression than we are – in this case in Palestine and in Israel.  It is about fostering links, communication, confidence, critical engagement; between us and them but also between them and them.

Solidarity can also be simple and practical: sending books, teaching and speaking in Palestine and in Israel, working with Israelis and with Palestinians.  Forging links between trade unions, academic bodies, universities, schools and civil society.

The Oslo Process was created partly by engagement between Israeli and Palestinian academics.

Solidarity is about campaigning against violence and oppression – including racism and antisemitism.

Solidarity is about opposing the occupation and doing what we can to help move toward a situation where a Palestinian state can be created through a peace agreement.  Solidarity is about showing how the civilian occupation of the West Bank hinders this process.

Solidarity is about relating to the reality of diversity within Israel and Palestine, not treating each as a single monolith wrapped in a flag.

Read Paul Frosh’s piece about links between Israeli and Palestinian academics.

We, who are far away from the violence, we who are professionally involved in the work of thinking things through coherently and in context, have a special responsibility to get things right, to think about the consequences of our actions, to be a force for good and for peace.

If you were brought up in a refugee camp under the occupation of a Jewish army, it might be understandable, though by no means inevitable, if you internalized a hostility to Jews; If you were brought up under the threat of suicide bombs, and missiles with hostile Arab neighbours, it might be understandable, though by no means inevitable, if you were to internalize a hostility to Arabs.  But we, in our comfortable academic lives do not have such reasons or excuses to embrace a politics of violence, exclusion or racism.  And in truth, there is some space for democratic politics in Palestine and in Israel and many Palestinians and Israelis find their way to more enlightened worldviews than those of boycott or of racism or of violence or of national hatred. 

3.  Academic freedom and democratic norms

Refusing to collaborate with academics on the basis of their nationality is a violation of the norms of academic freedom and of the principle of the universality of science.  See Michael Yudkin’s outline of the standard liberal case against academic boycotts here.  

The boycott campaign’s distinction between a boycott of institutions and individuals fails to address the concern that the campaign actually leads to an exclusion of Israeli scholars from the global academic community.  See my piece about the myth of the institutional boycott here.

See Chad Goldberg’s piece about the campaign’s mis-understanding of the significance of institutions here.

There is a danger in a purely liberal defence of academic autonomy. The right has often attacked the academic left with arguments about how academia should be ‘neutral’ or ‘non-political’.  We have resisted those arguments.  Who gets tenure, who gets published, who gets a chair, who gets funding – political considerations have always had influence here.  We don’t pretend otherwise, rather we strive to make political factors transparent.  While the principle that universities are independent communities of scholars is important, we do not pretend that they are apart from and above the world.

Academic freedom is an issue in Palestinian universities: firstly because the conditions of the occupation materially infringe the business of running communities of scholars; secondly because Hamas and the PA, as well as other Palestinian political forces, not least the boycott campaign itself, infringe the norms of academic freedom in Palestine.  Palestinian academics come under severe pressure and are likely to be denounced as ‘collaborators’ if they have links with Israelis or with foreign academics who opose the boycott. 

See Jon Pike’s argument about academic freedom here.

The boycott campaign impacts first “here” in the boycotting institutions.  It is a campaign to exclude Israelis from our institutions “here”.  It is a prohibition on us from having links with colleagues in Israel.  This is a particular restraint for those working in fields where links with Israeli colleagues are important, such as Jewish Studies or certain fields of history or archeology. 

4.  Consistency

The focus on Israeli human rights abuses sits strangely alongside the lack of will seriously to address, for example the Syrian regime, just across Israel’s northern border, which is carrying out incomparably more serious crimes than Israel is, or has ever done.  The Egyptian army, across Israel’s southern border, is carrying out incomparably greater repression against the Muslim Brotherhood than Israel is against its Palestinian counterpart Hamas.  With the spread of ethnic conflict and human rights abuses in the Middle East, the focus on Israel becomes ever more eccentric.

Much of the energy for the boycott campaign comes from anti-Zionist Jews.  They are no different from many Jews in so much as, for understandable reasons, they are especially concerned about Jewish issues and about Israel – its crimes or its victimhood, real or imagined.

Sometimes small groups of anti-Zionist Jews are successful in exporting their own particular concern about Israeli human rights abuses into non-Jewish civil society organizations like trade unions or academic associations.  This then creates an anomalous situation with respect to consistency.

Civil society organizations have a duty to relate to human rights abuses consistently; to occupations consistently; to violations of academic freedom consistently; to institutional racism consistently.

An individual is free to be concerned about whatever concerns them; a progressive organization on the other hand, needs to find consistent criteria.

It is legitimate to ask

“Why do you focus on Israel for unique punishment?”

“Why do you hold Israeli citizens in particular responsible for the actions of their states?”

“What are the consequences of having huge campaigns of boycott and demonization against Israel which are not proportional to Israel’s human rights abuses or to its importance?

The belittling accusation of whataboutery” does not deal with the question of consistency.  Lack of consistency is at the heart of another problem with the boycott campaign which is the antisemitism which results from the relentless and particular focus only on Israel.

5.  Antisemitism. 

We are talking about a boycott movement against Israel.  We know that there is racist hatred against Israelis and Jews in the Middle East; we know that there is a long and profound history of antisemitism in Europe and also in America; we know that radical movements are far from immune to antisemitism.  Wouldn’t it be unexpected if anger with Israel was never articulated in a language which mirrored previous entrenched hostilities to Jews?  Wouldn’t it be unexpected if a campaign to exclude Israelis did not impact upon Jews around the world who felt that they wanted to speak up for Israel’s right to exist?  Wouldn’t it be strange if some of the ideas from antisemitic Arab nationalist or Islamist discourses, with whom the boycotters are in a political alliance, never seeped across into the democratic spaces of the BDS movement?

a.  antisemitism, like other racisms, does not always appear as open and conscious hatred.  Often it appears as ways of thinking; often it appears as unintended effects; often it appears in rhetoric which mirrors older antisemitims.  Antisemitism is an objective social phenomenon, not simply a malicious motivation inside people’s heads.  There can be antisemitism and racism which is not caused by hatred and which is not a result of an intention to discriminate.

b. the singling out of Israelis, and only Israelis, for boycott, is arguably antisemitic in itself.

c. the boycott campaign tends to bring with it, into civil society spaces where it gets a hearing, antisemitic ways of thinking.  In particular, it creates a presumption that Jews are ‘Zionist’ or anti-boycott.  It gives Jews a choice between agreeing to stand in the dock for Israel, keeping silent, or going along with the boycott.  Of course formally these options are thrust upon everybody, not only Jews.  But the boycott campaign creates an assumption about Jews, a suspicion, albeit one which Jews are able to nullify by disavowing Israel and by embracing the values of the boycott campaign.

See the evidence offered in the Ronnie Fraser case for examples of how the boycott campaign brings with it antisemitic ways of thinking and exclusions.

d.  Certain ways of denouncing Israel or Zionists as essentially racist, apartheid or Nazi can have antisemitic effects.  The overwhelming majority of Jews, for good reasons, resist these characterizations.  If those Jews and their communal organisations are then treated as apologists for racism, apartheid or Nazism, there is a clear antisemitic outcome.   If Zionist students are treated as one would treat Nazi students, then there is an antisemitic culture on campus.

e.  Discourses about Zionist power which mirror antisemitic conspiracy theory often accompany the boycott campaign.  Anyone who opposes the boycott is likely to be regarded as an agent of a foreign power or as an agent of the ‘Israel Lobby’.  Israel and its ‘lobby’ are talked about as though they have huge power, to determine tenure discussions, to control politicians, to silence dissent with a threat of a bad faith charge of antisemitism.  In truth, pro Israel lobbying organisations have often shown themselves to be ineffective and disoriented in the face of the boycott campaign.

f.  The raising of the issue of antisemitism is often understood as a disgraceful way of trying to silence legitimate criticism of Israel.  It is considered right wing and pro Israel to talk about antisemitism; hence to behave in such a way that bothers complainers of antisemitism is considered as left wing and pro Palestine.  The result is that Jews who are concerned about antisemitism are generally accused of speaking in bad faith – the accusation is that they are only pretending to be concerned about antisemitism while actually they want to silence criticism of Israel by fake and dishonest means.  Antiracist activists are being coached to recognise the raising of antisemitism as a dishonest tactic of the Zionist (racist, pro-apartheid, Nazi, powerful, rich, white) activist.

See my work on The Livingstone Formulation.

See my reply to Claire Potter on the issue of antisemitism.

See my paper on the relationship between hostility to Israel and antisemitism here.

See my work on a sociological understanding of the relationship between hostility to Israel and antisemitism here. 

6.  Understanding, analyzing, making arguments, educating.

There is no short cut to defeating the boycott campaign.  There is no silver bullet.  There is no devastating single issue upon which to base a win.  There is no single principle that will make everything transparent.

We need to build a network, a movement, a way of thinking, which can make arguments, which can explain the problems, which can demonstrate that a genuine left wing approach is possible and is different from the boycott campaign.

We support the norms of academic freedom and we explain the complexities.

We understand why people are attracted to easy and radical solutions but we explain the problems with the boycot approach.

We win people to a politics of peace and reconciliation from a politics of flag waving the good flag against the bad flag.

We are careful to understand and to avoid antisemitism and racism.

The Israeli and Jewish right tends increasingly to embody a politics and a way of thinking which has little in common with our own.  What they say about the roots of the Israel/Palestine conflict, about how to get peace, about how to relate to the boycott, about how to relate to the Palestinian national movement, about how to relate to the Islamists is highly problematic.  Their paradigm and their way of thinking is not likely to be influential amongst academics.

But the Israeli and Jewish right are sometimes quite good at sniffing out antisemitism.  When they are angry and militant against antisemitism – that is when they’re right, it isn’t an indicator that they must have got it wrong. 

Just as liberty, freedom, the rule of law, democracy, lesbian and gay rights, womens rights and human rights are values which should not be abandoned by the left, as though they were right wing issues, so the issue of antisemitism should not be abandoned to the right either.

The left cannot be influential amongst Jews if it teaches people to recognise concern for antisemitism and opposition to boycotts of Israel as right wing issues. 

The problem with the approach of the right isn’t that their militancy against antisemitism is misplaced – the problem is that they’re not consistent, they’re not antiracist, they’re not for a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine – indeed the problem with the right is similar, in these respects to the problem with the boycotters and the people who think that anti-imperialism is the only important left wing value.

We need a movement and a network to give people good arguments, to build a cosmopolitan anti-nationalist sensibility, to propose genuine solidarity in place of the hollow boycott-version.

We need to offer an alternative to the flag waving of the right and the flag waving of the boycotting-left.

Our method of fighting boycotts and fighting antisemitism is explaining, winning arguments, proposing better ways forward, engaging, communicating, teaching.

In the 1960s the civil rights movement won in the Supreme Court because it was based on a mass movement which fought the racists and which won arguments.  Roe v Wade won in court, but it was the result of the women’s movement having won amongst public opinion.  There is nothing illegitimate about fighting in the courts, on a legal terrain; the problem is when people think that a legal fight can substitute for a political and an ideological fight rather than be part of it.

Attempts to legislate or to persuade judges won’t work if we can’t win arguments and change the commonsense notions which are set up by the antizionists and the boycotters.

David Hirsh

The debates regarding the Israel boycott movement in South Africa are online here:

https://engageonline.wordpress.com/2010/10/20/boycott-israel-desmond-tutu-david-newman-neve-gordon-david-hirsh-robert-fine-ran-greenstein-uri-avnery-farid-essack/

David Hirsh and Chip Berlet discuss antisemitism and conspiracy theory here:

https://engageonline.wordpress.com/2012/09/06/chip-berlet-interviews-david-hirsh-on-contemporary-antisemitism-and-conspiracy-theory/

See also intelligent, smart, supportive comments from Bob From Brockley, relating to this piece.

15 Responses to “Opposing the campaign to exclude Israelis from the global academic community”

  1. Noga Says:

    From a recent apologetics by Prof. Robbins, attempting a reasonable justification for MLA’s recent anti-Israel academics resolution:

    “For an academic organization, this is really a no-brainer. We’re protecting our own. And we’re protecting them from a government that is heavily supported by U.S. tax dollars. Yes, there is bad behavior by the authorities of North Korea, too. But the United States doesn’t support North Korea, let alone to the tune of $3-billion per year. In Israel the bad behavior would not be possible without our money.” https://engageonline.wordpress.com/2014/01/21/opposing-the-campaign-to-exclude-israelis-from-the-global-academic-community/

    Questions:

    1. Israeli academics who attend universities and colleges in the South of Israel are very likely to meet with bodily harm from the repeated attempts from Gaza to bomb and shell Israeli towns, cities and villages. Do Israeli academics not deserve the same consideration from MLA as so boldly stated in “We’re protecting our own”?? Are Israeli academics automatically removed from this circle of academic amity? Why?

    2. If MLA’s resolution is justified by the fact that Israeli abuses (such as they are) are supported by US $ and that Israel’s “bad behavior would not be possible without our money.”, wouldn’t it make much better sense to address MLA’s complaints to the very source, that is US money? It stands to reason that if, as the author states, Israel’s bad behaviour is enabled by American money, then the most logical recourse is bring about the draining of the very source of that money, by holding the US government responsible. And as American citizens and American academics, wouldn’t the MLA American members be more likely to succeed by openly and practically criticizing their own government? For example, they could threaten to boycott the next MLA convention in 2015, if the American Administration persists in its policies of supporting Israel. They could also boycott those American academics amongst them who openly support these American policies. There is a diversity of options open to American academics who find so odious American money being abused by its beneficiary countries and/or entities. Why not go to the fountainhead of the swamp?

    3. Why can’t they provide a simple, morally-satisfying answer to why they implicitly cancel the deeply unethical principle of “two measures two weights” in order to boycott Israel academics?

    • Jacob Arnon Says:

      “Yes, there is bad behavior by the authorities of North Korea, too. But the United States doesn’t support North Korea, let alone to the tune of $3-billion per year. In Israel the bad behavior would not
      be possible without our money.”

      A couple of problems with this: first, note the paternalistic tone, “bad behavior,” “our money,” etc. The implication is that if junior doesn’t behave then we will cut back his allowance.

      Second: the money in question has been offered by the US in order to be able to provide Egypt with an equal allowance (to stay with the paternal metaphor).

      Israel had wanted to reduce the amount it gets from the US government but was talked into accepting it.

      What is wrong with all this is that probably typical MLA nonsensical
      analysis. How would the MLA mavens like it when right wing economists say that government programs granted to indigent people encourages bad behavior?

      But the most egregious thing about the MLA quote (I am assuming that it is genuine) is that it says that politics is played by individual countries all by themselves. It says that there is no such thing as a community of nations which sets the stage for the way countries behave.

      It tells Jews and others that Israeli actions are responsible for the hatred Arabs feel towards them. There is nothing abut the rejection of UN partition plan in 47 (or even before nothing about refusal to engage those Jewish organization who wanted a confederacy like Brit Shalom. Nothing about Ben Gurion’s attempt at dialogue with Arab counterparts which was rejected.)

      And of course nothing about the displacement of Jews from Arab lands, nothing about the attacks in 1948, 1967, and 1973 or the intermittent fedayin actions and later PLO attacks on civilian Israelis.

      None of this exists.

      If the MLA thinks it can succeed in changing “Jewish behavior” by threats of a cut off of aid it is mistaken. The only thing that can change Jewish behavior is Arab behavior towards the Jewish State.

      The recent European Union’s mandate to boycott Israeli firms that do business in the West Bank is a ratcheting up its war on the Jewish State. This too will backfire: it shows that the EU in singling out Jews for opprobrium is different only in kind and not in quality from the Axis European Union during the 40’s.

      It will backfire because many European antisemites like the Holocaust deniers and people like Dieudonne are acting out the principles the EU has introduced but refuses to call by its right name.

      It will also backfire because some of the most intense trading being done by Israel is with India and China and other non European countries.

      All that the EU will achieve is to make antisemitism more respectable in Europe and that is sad because antisemitic racism will eventually lead to the opposite of a liberal comity which the EU was supposed to bring about.

  2. Rachel Says:

    Quite a lot of this posting makes a good deal of sense to me. But I have 2 questions and 1 comment:

    “Israeli human rights abuses”
    Q: Could you expalin what you mean by this because people use ‘human rights abuses’ these days to mean anything from depriving prisoners of satellite tv to gouging out their eyes. What human rights abuses is the state of Israel currently carrying out against either its own citizens or Palestinians living in the territories?

    “The Israeli and Jewish right tends increasingly to embody a politics and a way of thinking which has little in common with our own. What they say about the roots of the Israel/Palestine conflict, about how to get peace, about how to relate to the boycott, about how to relate to the Palestinian national movement, about how to relate to the Islamists is highly problematic. Their paradigm and their way of thinking is not likely to be influential amongst academics.”
    Q: What you say here is very firm but very general, and so I don’t really know what you mean. Could say a bit more about what this rightist agenda is, why it’s wrong, and how it’s different from a leftwing one?

    “The problem with the approach of the right isn’t that their militancy against antisemitism is misplaced – the problem is that they’re not consistent, they’re not antiracist, they’re not for a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine – indeed the problem with the right is similar, in these respects to the problem with the boycotters and the people who think that anti-imperialism is the only important left wing value.”
    Comment: I read a lot of Israeli commentary from all perspectives, and this simply isn’t what I find from those who might call themselves centre-right or mainstream right. Of course there are exceptions on the fringes, but generally I find that pretty much all of mainstream Israeli society is for a genuine lasting peace deal and against racism (and sexism and homophobia).

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      “Could you expalin what you mean by this because people use ‘human rights abuses’ these days to mean anything from depriving prisoners of satellite tv to gouging out their eyes. What human rights abuses is the state of Israel currently carrying out against either its own citizens or Palestinians living in the territories?” This is a very good question from Rachel, but it is directed to the wrong person. We constantly ask those who are in favour of a boycott of Israeli universities exactly this: what is your evidence for the claims of Israeli human rights abuses? And we don’t mean assertions, we mean chapter and verse: what happened, who did it, how do you know, what’s the source of your information? and similar such questions.

      It is the consistent lack of a response along these lines which betrays many in the boycott of acting out of an ideological impulse, rather than being a response to overwhelming evidence of Israeli “wrongdoing”. Further, it is not for us on the anti-boycott left to provide this information for them. Nor should we (as I used to) ask why Israel when there are many worse offenders against human rights (even allowing that Israel might breach some people human rights). We should demand evidence, over and over again. Most of them don’t have any and tend to go quiet when asked. As did the people at St James’s Church in London over their “wall” exhibition when challenged. (see, eg. Richard Millet’s blog on this).

      I share with David his left-wing stance and don’t see it as task to explain the right’s views on Israel and the boycott (even if I accept their fellowship).

      • Rachel Says:

        Thanks, Brian, but I took David’s article to be going along (at least to a degree) with the idea that Israel is guilty of human rights abuses and just wanted to know what exactly he meant by that. And what you say about not explaining the right’s position for them would make sense if David hadn’t included that paragraph I quoted above. Its inclusion, though, invites clarification and further discussion – that’s all I was hoping for.

        Personally, I’m not so sure any more that the Israel-Palestine situation or the problem with the new anti-Semtiism is about left versus right. That’s because the core tropes of an Israel-centred anti-Semitism seem to be slowly but surely seeping into all parts and aspects of European culture – including much (but mercifully not yet all) of the left, centre, right, media, politics, law, education, and NGOs. If left, centre and right can’t work together on this without feeling the need to score points, there’s no hope of combatting it.

        Also, in Israel at least, there’s a broad consensus among mainstream left, centre, right about the Israel-Palestine conflict: the right was wrong in the 1980s with its greater Israel ideology because Zionism was never supposed to be about ruling over another people and the left was wrong in the 1990s with its land-for-peace formula because the dominant Palestinian ideology retains as its goal reversing 1948 not 1967. There’s nothing much Israel can do at present to bring about peace, therefore, and that’s why the conflict didn’t loom large in the last Israeli election.

        I’m broadly persuaded by that kind of argument, even though I consider myself to be centre-left in outlook (more centre than left, I guess, these days), because it seems factually accurate and fair, not because it’s left or right.

  3. zachary esterson Says:

    Very much appreciate all your hard work in this, David.

  4. Jonathan Lowenstein Says:

    Isn’t the boycott directed against Israeli Jewish academics? Rather than just “Israeli academics”.

    • Brian Goldfarb Says:

      Umm, how does one distinguish between them if the boycott is aimed at “Israeli academic institutions”, as so many BDSers claim? Or are they claiming that non-Jewish Israeli academics are guilty by association, usually dubbed the McCarthyite smear tactic?

      Personally, my position on academic boycott is well known: I don’t think that even the lovely Tom Hickey should be stopped from making his ludicrous and occasionally biased comments.

  5. Opposing the campaign to exclude Israelis from the global academic community | Engage | Multicultural Meanderings Says:

    […] Opposing the campaign to exclude Israelis from the global academic community | Engage. […]

  6. Judy Weleminsky Says:

    Excellent article – but are the anti Israel campaigners able to seriously consider it? They have in my experience a massive emotional and social investment in their position so they just fortify themselves even mort strongly in the virtuosity of their position.

    I am trying a new approach which I think has potential. I am campaigning locally in the UK under the banner – Pro Israel, Pro Palestinian, Pro Peace. It is a great way to articulate concern in a non divisive way. Our concern for Palestinians includes the rights of Christian Palestinians not to be intimidated by Islamists, of Gazans not to be abused by Hamas as well as reflecting the good and not so good aspects of Israeli life for Arab Israelis. Potentially also we could focus on the mistreatment of Palestinians in other Arab countries. We have found that our message is very well supported by pro Israel Jews and Christians and some Palestinians and it sure confuses the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign. So far our campaign is local – but I think it has the capacity to grow. This could be a way forward?

  7. Discussions about BDS and how to oppose it – David Hirsh | Engage Says:

    […] Opposing the campaign to exclude Israelis from the global academic community – David Hirsh […]

  8. Boycotts of Israel in US Academe: David Hirsh and Claire Potter | Engage Says:

    […] Opposing the campaign to exclude Israelis from the global academic community – David Hirsh […]

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    […] For more on the kind of movement which we should be building, a genuine solidarity movement with Isr…. […]


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