Saturday, May 24, 2008

Boycott against Apartheid Israel to be voted on, May 28-30, 2008:

The UCU (University and College Union ) will soon vote on boycotting the racist state of Israel --

Circling the Boycott Wagons

April 7, 2008

On the Web at:

I hope that the UCU boycott campaign has circled the wagons as pro-Israel groups launch an attack. I don’t think this is a very sound argument it suggests three things that science should be universal, that it should be above politics and that the UCU boycott is descriminating on the basis of “ethnicity, religion…etc”. Is it just me or are they none too subtily suggesting anti-semitism again?

Anyway Science has never been above politics - we could never imagine an argument of the Universality of Science being used to prevent a boycott of Nazi scientists for example. This doesn’t even address the point of the boycott which is, as far as I’m aware, that Israeli educational institutions should be boycotted because Israel itself hinders and stops Palestinian education. In fact the attack against the boycott argues for the very same just treatment of Israelis that the boycott argues Israel should give Palestinians. No discrimination on ethnicity etc and all the freedoms required of academics such as freedom of movement etc. It seems they’re suffering a bad case of double think. Until the restrictions are removed from Palestinians Israeli academics should suffer too - due to their responsibility in the situation.

Personally I think intellectuals have a greater responsibility in society to speak out against crimes such as those of the Israeli Apartheid State. Indeed this view was held by survivers of the Holocaust such Victor Klemperer, a Jew living under Nazi rule who avoided the gas chambers by a near miracle, he wrote about a German Professor friend whom he had admired, but who had finally joined the pack:

If one day the situation were reversed and the fate of the vanquished lay in my hands, then I would let all the ordinary folk go and even some of the leaders, who might perhaps after all have had honourable intentions and not known what they were doing. But I would have all the intellectuals strung up, and the professors three feet higher than the rest; they would be left hanging from the lamp posts for as long as was compatible with hygiene.

With this greater responsibility in mind, I think its correct to boycott intellectuals to raise awareness of their complicity in crimes and also that Israelis should suffer similar restrictions as Palestinian academics - a more appropritate use of the ‘Universality of Science’ argument.

Four Int’l Academic Organizations Slam British Boycott

Four international academic organizations signed a joint declaration denouncing British academics for attempting to impose a boycott on Israeli research institutions...