Thoughts on the Southampton Conference

David Hirsh:

The fact that the Southampton conference is organised by somebody who has actively come to the defence of an open antisemite is not the point.  The fact that it de-legitimizes Israel and only Israel is not the point. The point is that the narrative of unique Israeli evil and criminality educates antiracists into an antisemitic worldview.

The fact that this antisemitic worldview is not recognised as such by most ‘decent’ people is one of the things that makes it especially dangerous; another is that it operates partly on an emotional and unconscious level and so is less vulnerable to rational debate than might be hoped. The antizionists love it when people of ‘opposite’ views engage them in debate because it legitimizes their questions, it positions them as the radical side of a discussion; to posit debate as an alternative to ‘banning’ is not proving an effective way of responding. The antizionists love to debate, they suck strength out of it.  Everybody sympathises with those who are defeated in debate by the ‘clever Jews’.

Ban the conference, especially on the spurious grounds of ‘security’, and it will be held elsewhere, the participants will declare their own courage and oppression, and people will be attracted to the conference which the power of the ‘Israel Lobby’ cancelled by fiat.

Don’t ban the conference and the daily work of normalizing the feeling that the Jews are behind everything bad in the world progresses as usual; it happens in pseudo-academic pseudo-egaltiarian language and seduces many directly, but it also sets the framework of what is considered respectable and legitimate.

The toxic notions pushed by this conference seem, at the moment, to be impermeable both to debate and to coercion. This is a measure of the scale of the problem.

One Response to “Thoughts on the Southampton Conference”

  1. Stan Nadel Says:

    Let the propaganda show go on–even Antisemites have a right to free speech and (pseudo)academic freedom. But let’s be clear about what kind of show it is.


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