Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

[P]
Controversy over academic boycott of Israel

By Estanislao Martínez in News
Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 04:43:43 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

The Guardian reports on the controversy over the actions of Mona Baker, Director of the Centre for Translation and Intercultural Studies, who fired two Israeli academics from positions in the boards of two journals she directs.


These actions occur in a given context. Dr. Baker is a signatory in another petition, by Drs. Hillary and Steven Rose of Open University, calling for breaking links with Israeli universities. This petition has so far accumulated around 700 signatories, and has inspired more concrete actions, such as calls to have European Union funding of Israeli universities cancelled.

The Rose petition has provoked a counterpetition, with around 1,000 signatories, mostly in the US. While the Rose petition has been done in the proper, old-fashioned, paper mail route, the counterpetition has been done with web signatures.

The question that arises here is what precisely is the ethical limit to a campaign like this. A petition being currently circulated on linguists' mailing lists, with a few high profile signatories already, argues:

In our view, academic boycotts in general and Dr. Baker's mode of observing this one in particular are entirely unacceptable for at least two obvious reasons. First, they are directed at scientific researchers who have no direct connection to government policy. These actions target people without reference to their views or actions, but solely on the basis of the fact that they live and work in a particular country whose government the supporters of the boycott object to.
These are quite strong words, aimed not just at Dr. Baker's personal actions, but against "academic boycotts in general". While this petition mentions nowhere intermediate positions such as denying funding to Israeli institutions and academics while not cutting other contacts, the language of the petition makes it understood that the signatories disagree with economic measures against Israeli academia.

This is quite a delicate issue that can be discussed without particular reference to Israel. Does academic liberty demand that money still be given to institutions in states with objectionable politics? Or is this a valid means of international pressure agains such a state? There is a wide range of opinions possible, with the "no boycotts of any kind" professed by the linguists' petition and the "no academic contacts of any kind" of the Rose petition. Where do we draw the line?

Sponsors

Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure

Login

Poll
Where to draw the line?
o No contacts whatsoever with Israeli academia. 15%
o Individual contacts are OK, but no money whatsoever. 14%
o Individual contacts are OK, as small amounts of money for individuals, but no money for institutions. 9%
o Academic boycotts are plain wrong. 49%
o None of the above. 11%

Votes: 107
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o The Guardian
o controvers y
o Mona Baker
o Centre for Translation and Intercultural Studies
o another petition, by Drs. Hillary and Steven Rose of Open University, calling for breaking links with Israeli universities
o a counterpetition
o Also by Estanislao Martínez


Display: Sort:
Controversy over academic boycott of Israel | 128 comments (119 topical, 9 editorial, 6 hidden)
What about South Africa ? (4.00 / 7) (#1)
by sasquatchan on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 02:24:53 PM EST

What about the various boycotts of South Africa, before the breakdown of Apartheid ? Did folks care that they were boycotting peoples who maybe didn't support the class divisions ? Isn't the point of a boycott to put pressure of people to change ? I mean, it's not about making like easy for folks here, really. So I think the rebuttal you quote is meaningless. If you'd insert that quote in an argument at the times about South Africa, I'm sure it would have been laughed at heartily and then dismissed. Just because Isreal/Palastine is a lightning rod doesn't mean you can get away with intellectual dishonesty as that retort tries.
-- The internet is not here for your personal therapy.
Great point (3.00 / 1) (#5)
by sien on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 03:01:32 PM EST

Do you know anything about the history of academic boycots against SA ? I knew there were sporting and economic ones, but what about the academic ones ?

In this case it's more interesting though as governments as a whole are so twisted about this issue and while Western governments, with the exception of the US, appear to be close to regarding Israel as a pariah state, are not taking action because of the confusion over the issues and the influence of the Jewish lobby.

[ Parent ]

Plenty. (4.00 / 1) (#64)
by i on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 02:51:11 AM EST

Google is your friend.

and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

[ Parent ]
South Africa (4.50 / 2) (#43)
by Ken Arromdee on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 06:10:04 PM EST

Boycotts of South Africa were an attack on the legitimacy of the government of South Africa. Do the boycotters of Israel believe that Israel's entire existence is illegitimate? (I wouldn't be surprised if the answer was 'yes', actually, but they'd get a lot fewer supporters if they admitted it.)

[ Parent ]
state != government (5.00 / 1) (#51)
by danny on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 08:41:20 PM EST

Boycotts of South Africa were an attack on the legitimacy of the government of South Africa.

At least where I was (Australia), it was clear that boycotts were about the legitimacy of the apartheid system, and of a government that supported them. Not one ever thought of them as opposing the existence of a South African state. (And in the end the ANC government inherited the state structures of its predecessor.)

Similarly, attacking Israeli policies and governments is entirely separate from arguing that the existence of an Israeli state is illegitimate!

Danny.
[900 book reviews and other stuff]
[ Parent ]

no analogy here (4.00 / 1) (#87)
by israeli on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 12:19:35 PM EST

Similarly, attacking Israeli policies and governments is entirely separate from arguing that the existence of an Israeli state is illegitimate!
The similarity is imaginary here. Over 20% of Israeli population (and I am not including the West Bank and Gaza) are Arabs and they do enjoy full civil and economic rights (they don't serve in Israeli Army, though, which I doubt they'd want to do); out of 120 Parliament seats 11 belongs to Arab members. There's no apartheid in Israel.

The Palestinian Authority was obliged by Oslo agreements to stop terror activities (and all military activities) against Israel and resolve all the problems via negotiations. Now it turns out that the Arafat's administration not only didn't fight terror activities, but instead endorsed and financed it. During the last wave of violence terrorists killed over 500 israeli civilians; Israel had to respond. Yes, Israel had to enter so-called refugee camps and hunt for so-called freedom fighters (=terrorists and murderers of innocent people); yes, Israel has to impose curfew on Arab cities in order to stop free movement of terrorists between them and into Israel proper - do you believe this is done just for fun?

If that's what you call policies to be attacked - that means that you support Palestinian goal of complete destruction of the state of Israel (the goal still appears in the PLO chart)

[ Parent ]
Apartheid legislation is in the Knesset (5.00 / 3) (#98)
by isdnip on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:17:16 PM EST

While Israeli Arabs have historically had citizenship rights, there is a bill in the Knesset now, which passed Sharon's cabinet 17 to 2, which institutionalizes another pillar of apartheid.  This new law would prohibit Arabs from living in "Jewish" villages.  They would be limited to living in certain areas.

Just what areas are which is not clear to me. One press report said that it only applied to the minority of Jewish villages that had admissions committees.  It would replace existing fair-housing laws with an apartheid policy where committees exist. Another report however said that it would apply to all Jewish Agency tracts.  The former interpretation would be for, say, 15% of housing (unless/until more villages adopted admissions committees), while the latter view would apply it to a large majority of the country (urban cores of Tel Aviv and Haifa might remain legally integrated, not much else).

The Sharon plan for the West Bank, indeed like the one Barak brought to Camp David, is a plan for Bantustans, not an independent Palestine.  Again, the Israelis were copying from the Afrikaner playbook.  The "92%" map (which was in Time Magazine; you don't need to go to Gush Shalom's web site to see it though you can) left strips of Israeli land across the middle of the West Bank, breaking it into three sections, preventing free movement of Palestinians between, say, Nablus and Hebron.  Check out the historical map of Bophutatswana for a nice analogy.

BTW, I'm Jewish and support the existence of an independent, Jewish Israel.  I also support an independent Serbia.  But I didn't support  Milosovic, and I don't support Sharon.  Both are unvarnished evil, and both demagogues are enemies of their own people, as well as of their neighbors.

[ Parent ]

An independent Palestine would be a disaster (none / 0) (#114)
by israeli on Sat Jul 13, 2002 at 06:14:46 PM EST

What happens the next day is they invite Iraqi troops and missiles and there will be no state of Israel at all. I don't care about batustans at all. Maybe black people in South Africa were not very happy about that. What does this have to do with Arabs of Palestine? You base your idea on wrong presumption that every nation MUST be given independent state which is simply not true. What about Kurds? What about Tatars (in Russia)? Native Americans in the USA? Basques in Spain? The list is very long - there are more that 3000 ethnic groups in the worls and only less than 200 independent states. Yes, Arabs of former Palestine would probably want to have contiguous territory of entire West Bank and Gaza (and the rest of former Palestine, too; after all PLO was founded in 1964, when West Bank was part of Jordan, and Gaza was ruled by Egypt; look also into PA school books and emblems on their web sites). However, they don't deserve a real state; at least not now. They are just too full of blind hatred towards Israel, in particular and Jews in general - so they willl have to wait untill they grow up and become civilized. PS 1. Think whatever you want about Sharon, but he is strong and clever polititian and is the best leader for Israel for this very moment in the history. 2. Don't believe Gush Shalom - they are sick people and schizophrenic. They are more proPalestinian than Arafat himself. Barak didn't give to Arafat stripes of land - his idea was contiguous portion (97%) of West bank and all of Gaza, and the remaining 3% should be compensated from the land of Israel proper. Not that I am very fond of this plan - but the fact is that Arafat rejected it.

[ Parent ]
You exaggerate the offer (none / 0) (#118)
by isdnip on Tue Jul 16, 2002 at 04:10:38 PM EST

You're lying, of course, about what was offered to the Palestinians.  Barak's only decent offer was made after it was too late.  Gush Shalom has good maps, but Time Magazine does too, and they clearly showed the bantustan layout.

No, not every nationality needs its own country/state, but that does not mean that nationalities should be oppressed.  Mistreatment of the Kurds by modern Turkey, Tatars by Stalin, or Indians by the USA does not justify similar behavior by others.  There are other approaches to a multinational state (viz. Canada), if that is required; on the other hand, Israel wants to be (and should be) a Jewish state, not a multinational.  That leaves out the Palestinians. And they don't fit too well into any other adjacent state, regardless of what the expulsionists think.  Besides, ethnic cleansing is not a virtue.  So they need their own state.

Saying that Sharon is the best man for Israel is like saying that Hitler was the best many for Germany, or Milosevic the best for Srbja.  Strong nationalist- racist leaders are good at uniting majority races against foreigners as well as minorities, and very, very bad at making peace.

I don't get your reference to South Africa either.  Bantustans were a key pillar of Apartheid, for sure, but I'm referring to the proposed Bantustan of Palestine, an archipelago of separate little territories.  In Israel's proposed bantustan (no, they don't use the word, but it's clearly the model), the local populace is given "citizenship" of the bantustan, removing the "demographic bomb" issue that the "annex it all" forces couldn't otherwise solve.  But the leadership of the bandtustan is basically quislings, supervised by the overlord power.  I realize that Israel wants Arafat to be replaced by someone who would rule Palestine the way Israelf wants it to be, but Vidkun Quisling is dead.

And the blind hatred you cite in Palestine is not much different from what I see from the Israeli right, or saw when manyof them were in Brooklyn 35 years ago.


[ Parent ]

Apartheid (none / 0) (#121)
by felixrayman on Fri Jul 19, 2002 at 12:27:58 AM EST

There's no apartheid in Israel.

Nelson Mandela disagrees with you, but what does he know about it?

In particular, Mr. Mandela has said:

<QUOTE>
...in Israel for the last 30 or 40 years, you clearly find a vulgar racism that includes a third of the population who openly declare themselves to be racist. This racism is of the nature of "I hate Arabs" and "I wish Arabs would be dead". If you also follow the judicial system in Israel you will see there is discrimination against Palestinians, and if you further consider the 1967 occupied territories you will find there are already two judicial systems in operation that represent two different approaches to human life: one for Palestinian life and the other for Jewish life. Additionally there are two different approaches to property and to land. Palestinian property is not recognised as private property because it can be confiscated.

As to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, there is an additional factor. The so-called "Palestinian autonomous areas" are bantustans. These are restricted entities within the power structure of the Israeli apartheid system.

The Palestinian state cannot be the by-product of the Jewish state, just in order to keep the Jewish purity of Israel. Israel's racial discrimination is daily life of most Palestinians. Since Israel is a Jewish state, Israeli Jews are able to accrue special rights which non-Jews cannot do. Palestinian Arabs have no place in a "Jewish" state.

Apartheid is a crime against humanity. Israel has deprived millions of Palestinians of their liberty and property. It has perpetuated a system of gross racial discrimination and inequality. It has systematically incarcerated and tortured thousands of Palestinians, contrary to the rules of international law. It has, in particular, waged a war against a civilian population, in particular children.
</QUOTE>

But, again, what does he know about apartheid? You, sir, are the true expert on the matter.

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

[ Parent ]
Mandela is a paranoic idiot (none / 0) (#128)
by israeli on Thu Jul 25, 2002 at 12:48:29 PM EST

No comments

[ Parent ]
Continuing the analogy (3.00 / 1) (#52)
by RandomPeon on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 10:04:19 PM EST

This is like boycotting anti-apartheid activists. These people are opposed to the actions of the Israeli government and have actively campaigned against it.

[ Parent ]
Yes, except that... (none / 0) (#107)
by haflinger on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 10:13:39 AM EST

The anti-apartheid activists inside South Africa were among the loudest voices calling for the boycott. Nelson Mandela, for example, was strongly in favour of a total boycott of South Africa until apartheid was ended.

And look at where apartheid is now. He may have been right.

Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey
[ Parent ]

I don't understand this at all (4.80 / 5) (#2)
by revscat on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 02:30:28 PM EST

It seems to me that the key to communicating disapproval is to keep the lines of communication open. Shutting out those who disagree with you is counterproductive not only to the immediate goal of stopping violence, but also goes against the spirit of the university and free exchange of ideas.

This looks like the academic version of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I might disagree with what you say, but I won't punish you for your beliefs.



- Rev.
Libertarianism is like communism: both look great on paper.
Furthermore... (4.00 / 1) (#3)
by zonker on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 02:44:07 PM EST

I might disagree with what you say, but I won't punish you for your beliefs.

And it's awfully hard to argue with someone who isn't there...

This is a stupid move if you're trying to gain support for any cause - if you fire the people who disagree with you, you're just going to generate sympathy for them no matter how wrong they are.
I will not get very far with this attitude.
[ Parent ]

You don't understand (2.66 / 3) (#4)
by Estanislao Martínez on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 02:52:47 PM EST

This is a stupid move if you're trying to gain support for any cause - if you fire the people who disagree with you, you're just going to generate sympathy for them no matter how wrong they are.

The firings are not based on disagreement, but merely on the basis of academic affiliation. One of the persons fired from a journal position is actually a former chairperson of Amnesty International in Israel.

And anyway, the goal of a boycott campaign like this is not to dialogue-- it is to put pressure in a country by isolating it from the rest of the world. The premise is that Israel is going to be negatively affected if its academics can't do anything outside their country.

--em
[ Parent ]

One of the reasons... (4.00 / 2) (#40)
by SPYvSPY on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 05:30:04 PM EST

...that activists against Israel are so pathetically unsuccessful, is that they are not devious enough to be effective. The truth is that Israel (and I say this out of the *maximum* respect) has a Machiavellian grip on the nuts of the world, and is perfectly capable of intimidating its way out of nearly any situation. I'm not referring to tanks in the street; I'm referring to Mossad in the shadows. I guess you can only understand when your culture has stared extermination in the face and lived to tell the tale.

This boycott is laughable -- talk about bringing a knife to a gun fight. When are the righteous ideologues going to learn? The real action is in the shadows, and you've got to be there to make a difference.
------------------------------------------------

By replying to this or any other comment in this thread, you assign an equal share of all worldwide copyright in such reply to each of the other readers of this site.
[ Parent ]

And yet, mention Jewish control of the world (3.50 / 2) (#50)
by The Littlest Hobo on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 07:31:38 PM EST

And be called an anti semite. Go figure.

[ Parent ]
People as a group (4.42 / 7) (#6)
by frankcrist on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 03:01:55 PM EST

I think this boycotting of Israeli Universities is idiotic and counter-productive, although I certainly empathize with the frustrations of Baker, Rose and Rose over the situation. Why alienate the students, the youth, from whom revolution and change stem? I disagree with the statement that, to paraphrase, it is unethical for universities to be drawn into the fray because they're not concerned with government policy. In a war, which this is, acedemics definitely occupy influential posts with regards to governmental policy and actions. However it has been made painfully obvious that the only chance for peace will come from within Israel, and that is why I'm against the Baker, Rose and Rose petitions. You want the universities to work for peace, not be alienated from it.

Much more productive is when Israeli soldiers refuse to serve in the occupied territories. This gives the proper message to the Israeli government, Palestinian people, and the world -- that the people who are involved in the day-to-day actions, especially on the side of the instigators (occupied territories, remember?) want it to stop.

--x--x--x--x--x--
Get your war on!
So wotcha gonna do? (5.00 / 4) (#8)
by orangecutter on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 03:14:43 PM EST

Yes, Israeli soldiers boycotting their service is more effective, but unless you happen to be an Israeli soldier, what are you going to do? Just sit there and cheer from the sidelines?

I also think boycotting Israeli academics hurts individuals arbitrarily, but:

  • How does one, as a non-Israeli, hit out at the Israeli government only? (Without going to war?)
  • Hitting a country's universities (and companies, etc) does hurt its government of the day, albeit indirectly.
  • The individuals in the country voted as a majority for the government they have so they should be sent a message. They can pass the message on.
I'll reiterate my point: What else are you going to do? Stand by and let it happen?

--
Sort out your work problems by talking to others
http://www.workkitchen.org
[ Parent ]
yes, stand by and let it happen (3.66 / 3) (#10)
by Delirium on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 03:17:15 PM EST

Just like they do in all the other cases of abuses. I don't see them rushing to boycott China, Pakistan, Egypt, and other countries with terrible human rights records, so why are they doing so in the case of Israel?

[ Parent ]
Hey, that's a tough one (4.66 / 3) (#16)
by The Littlest Hobo on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 03:35:41 PM EST

Could it be because... the media is positively saturated with stories about Israel?

[ Parent ]
because israel is one of us (4.33 / 3) (#37)
by eLuddite on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 05:07:02 PM EST

You certainly seem to think so anyway.

Check it out. They are boycotting Israel for the reasons they should be "rushing to boycott China, Pakistan, Egypt, and other countries with terrible human rights records." So while you want something done about human rights, you ask that something be consistent with nothing. Israel, meanwhile, has your support to do "something." The logic of inaction is air-tight: nothing is something so long as nothing interferes with your pet something. Why, if something could fit together more beautifully, it would be nothing short of something.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

hmm (3.00 / 2) (#44)
by Delirium on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 06:17:05 PM EST

In case you didn't understand my argument, it is roughly as follows: in the case of all countries other than Israel, academic work is not hinged on a like or dislike for the government that work takes place under. I am merely arguing that this standard should be upheld in Israel as well as the rest of the world. We should work freely with Chinese academics, and we should work freely with Israeli academics. If one disagrees with the policies of either the Israeli or Chinese governments (and there is certainly lots of room to disagree), then one needs to find another way to express such disagreement.

Meanwhile, I'll allow you to continue babbling nonsense about nothing filled with something possibly hanging from a helium balloon.

[ Parent ]

That wasnt your argument. (4.66 / 3) (#47)
by eLuddite on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 07:11:31 PM EST

In case you didn't understand my argument,

I understood your "argument" perfectly. Orangecutter argued reasons why boycotts against academics may be undertaken as a form of political action to discourage objectionable conduct on the part of the boycotted academics' government. Here is your counter-argument in its entirety:

Yes, stand by and let it happen. Just like they do in all the other cases of abuses. I don't see them rushing to boycott China, Pakistan, Egypt, and other countries with terrible human rights records, so why are they doing so in the case of Israel?
That is not an argument of anything; that is an example of circumstantial ad hominem. You persist that you are "merely arguing that this standard should be upheld in Israel as well as the rest of the world," but despite your mere persistence, you still have not made an argument against academic boycotts. Can you understand this? Let me help you out: "If one disagrees with the policies of either the Israeli or Chinese governments, then one needs to find another way to express such disagreement" because ______________. Why must we find another way? What is wrong with the boycott way? Please identify the errors in Orangecutter's argument. Unless and until you fill in the blank, because nothing or because I said so convinces only the faculty of kuro5hin.

Finally, you are incorrect on the matter of your "standard." South African academics were boycotted in 1965 and again in the late eighties so there is precedent in our relations with apartheid regimes.

Meanwhile, I'll allow you to continue babbling nonsense

You misunderstand, I was paraphrasing your "logic."

Note: Nothing in this comment should be interpreted as my support for or against this boycott. I just wanted to point out that you are an idiot.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

The essential question as an American. (5.00 / 2) (#18)
by frankcrist on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 03:40:45 PM EST

That, really, is what it boils down to as an American especially (because of our unflagging support towards whatever Israel decides to do), and also, with different circumstances, as a member of the EU.

So what can you do as an individual?  It really depends on your level of extremism and devotion to the cause.  How do you affect this struggle without just complicating it?


  • Write your congressman?  A very passive and ineffectual illusion of power, especially with regards to Israel, to which your congressman has probably pledged his undying devotion.

  • Travel to Israel?  I have often fantasized about visiting my Palestinian friend in East Jerusalem, and standing there in front of a camera as an American standing with the Palestinians for peace, but what will that achieve besides grandstanding for myself?  Plus, as an individual, chances are pretty good that I would be killed or detained.

  • Visit Palestine as a group?  That I think is better than the above.  In numbers there is both power and safety.  Could a group of Americans (say, over 100) safely stage non-violent protests in the Gaza Strip?  It would require a lot of clandestine maneuvering to avoid detection by the Israeli government (if they wouldn't allow U.N. Inspectors in Jenin, they surely won't allow American no-goodniks in Gaza).  It would also require having some sort of backing in Palestine for security reasons.


One of the big problem with acting against the situation is that it is a relatively "cold" war, with only approximately 2000 casualties on both sides in 21 months.  The real problem is detention and illegal occupation, more diplomatic than heated problems.  Throw in the temporal fanaticism on both sides and you pretty much rule out diplomatic solutions.

So, I'm sorry Orangecutter, but ultimately I find myself unable to present an acceptable answer to your question. :(

--x--x--x--x--x--
Get your war on!
[ Parent ]

Visiting Palestine (4.00 / 1) (#35)
by winthrop on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 04:49:46 PM EST

The International Solidarity Movement acts as observers and as human shields in Palestine, and I'm told Grassroots International also does some of the same. I've gone to a report-back meeting from an ISM volunteer and just back from a trip through the West Bank, and I have a friend on his way there. Democracy Now has done some shows on them, though I can find only one.

[ Parent ]
And as individuals. (1.00 / 2) (#14)
by Apuleius on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 03:30:40 PM EST

So now when an Israeli academic does go on reserve duty, to defend his coutry against Hamas terrorists, he deserves a boycott? Screw that.


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
The person you responded to didn't say that (3.33 / 3) (#19)
by The Littlest Hobo on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 03:45:47 PM EST

But don't let facts get in your way this time. I know they never have before.

[ Parent ]
No shit, Sherlock. (none / 0) (#21)
by Apuleius on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 03:54:30 PM EST

Go to the dictionary. Look up "imply."


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
You've got to be kidding me. NT (none / 0) (#24)
by The Littlest Hobo on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 04:00:27 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Boycotts (4.50 / 2) (#7)
by Pac on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 03:07:15 PM EST

I am not certain if an all-encompasing boycott can achieve real political gain. I have doubts if allienating everyone, including those who may be allies in the political cause in question, is productive.

Some other poster compared this situation with the South Africa boycotts elicited under the international anti-apharteid movement. Well, I also have many doubts if the non-economical boycotts (in sports, academy and others) to South Africa had any effect short of making life difficult to a lot of South Africans who were not responsible for apharteid and who could have helped more otherwise. The endorsement of an Olympic gold medalist has far more political weight than the endorsement of an unknown athlete. As it was, South Africa could not have any Olympic gold medalist after they were banned from the Games.

Evolution doesn't take prisoners


Out of curiosity (3.50 / 2) (#9)
by medham on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 03:14:52 PM EST

Was Noam's signature on the linguist list?

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.

No signatories from MIT. (3.00 / 1) (#15)
by Estanislao Martínez on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 03:31:54 PM EST

But the thing is hot off the presses, and got sent just today to the Linguist List. Which means that it should appear in MIT inboxes today or tomorrow.

--em
[ Parent ]

Correction (3.00 / 1) (#22)
by Estanislao Martínez on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 03:56:31 PM EST

I don't know for a fact that it's been sent to that mailing list. The most I can tell is that it's being circulated and that it will be there sent at some moment. I now suspect they are trying to get more names before sending it.

--em
[ Parent ]

He's made a statement. (4.00 / 1) (#62)
by i on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 02:47:47 AM EST

Here, #2.

and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

[ Parent ]
Goes to show you (2.50 / 2) (#94)
by medham on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 04:34:43 PM EST

Noam is always correct. This is because he's much smarter than all of you, and he's spent his lifetime engaged in scholarly inquiry. Leads to damn-near omniscience, it does.

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.
[ Parent ]

And (4.83 / 6) (#11)
by medham on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 03:18:34 PM EST

I think it's obviously wrong to isolate Israeli academics. I think it would have been wrong to isolate South African academics. As a U.S. academic, I certainly have more to answer for than any other nationality; and I wouldn't want the same logic applied.

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.

South African academics were isolated. (5.00 / 1) (#67)
by i on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 04:50:43 AM EST

Looks like a precedent, heh?

and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

[ Parent ]
I am against this (4.66 / 9) (#12)
by psychologist on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 03:21:46 PM EST

Think about it, who is more likey to listen to you, your friend or your enemy? If you tell a person who hates you not to throw a stone, or a person who likes you not to do so, who is more likely to heed you?

For that reason, this total boycot, and cutting away of Israelis and Israel from the sane world will only aggravate their insanity. If the don't talk to you any longer, radicals among them will begin to seem like moderates.

Israelis have got to be welcomed everywhere. but when they are welcomed, one has to be clear that their policies are terrible and racist, and that their society is not a normal one. That is the only way they will ever become normal; not by isolation.

Israeli society is permeated with discrimination. I was watching CNN today doing an interview with Israelis on the street as to what they think about the law banning Arabs from living in Jewish settlements. Most didn't want it to pass as law, but all insisted that Arabs should stay where they are, and not mix with the Jews.

That is the attitude on the Israeli street. If whites in America would do that against blacks, that would be a huge scandal. But in Israel, that is a normal attitude towards a minority.

whites vs. blacks (4.75 / 4) (#17)
by Delirium on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 03:40:27 PM EST

Whites in the U.S. did do that against blacks a mere 40 years ago. The situation in the U.S. has changed drastically in 40 years, which gives me at least some hope for the middle eastern situation.

[ Parent ]
Yes, I think so too (3.00 / 3) (#20)
by psychologist on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 03:48:23 PM EST

I am sure that Israelis and Arabs will reconcile faster than we expect. Give a man a Job and a wife, and he won't want to fight. Arafat has called the Israelis his brothers. Many Israelis want an open society with the Palestinians.

I jsut wish that the Zionist dream would die already. Just make Israel democratic, let all the Arab refugees come back, merge Palestine with Israel once again, and let everything go back to normal.

In that same CNN interview, a Palestinian builder said that for him, and ideal situation would be Sharon as President, and Arafat as Foreign Minister.

That would be peace indeed. Societies all over the world have reconciled - blacks and whites in America, blacks and whites in South Africa, hutus and tutsis. The Jews and the Arabs can do it also. But before then, Zionist will have to die.

[ Parent ]

Raison d'etat (4.50 / 2) (#30)
by bobpence on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 04:28:49 PM EST

The very reason that Israel exists is for there to be a Jewish homeland. While America is a nation of immigrants, and thus has no strong argument for one racial, ehtnic, or religious group to remain a majority, Balkanization is quite normal in most of the world.

Neither the Tajiks nor the Swedes are likely to welcome an overwhelming number of Portuguese, especially if the Portuguese would be likely to promptly take over and execute, persecute, or tax the natives simply for being Tajiks or Swedes.

Even as we speak, persecution in Iraq and Turkey cries out for a Kurdish homeland. Shall we allow the formation of Kurdistan, but fifty years hence demand that the Kurds let the natives back in whose fathers tried to destroy them?

The one-state solution is not the answer. Do you also demand that the member states of the former USSR rejoin, rather than remain with a foundation of ethnicity? Birth rates among the non-Jewish 20% of Israeli citizens are enough of an impediment to Israel remaining a Jewish state, much less allowing millions of returnees (whose right of return is of dubious origin to begin with, but whose loss may be better compensated with cash to help them get traction in a new state).

'Everything back to normal' would mean much the same as things were in the late 1930's and early 1940's, but with a majority-Arab government in place instead of British control. Is it any more likely that such a "normal" Israel would have provided refuge for refugees from the Holocaust? Integration is a fine thing, so long as you have a place to call home.
"Interesting. No wait, the other thing: tedious." - Bender
[ Parent ]

Are you advocating arpatheid? (4.75 / 4) (#32)
by psychologist on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 04:40:25 PM EST

These homeland arguments no longer hold in this modern world. Is a black Englishman an African? We have made a great deal of effort to move away from this old system - which caused countless wars and atrocities like enslavement.

But now, you are actually advocating the return to this destructive concept on one ethnic group, one nation state?

Jews have got a homeland. Their homeland is called Poland, Russia, U.S.A, Germany, Israel, Palestine, France, Britain, Uganda, Ethiopia, Canada, Argentina, etc. Jews are welcome everywhere. Noone is persecuting them there. Why transport Jews from Germany to Israel? Germany is home to these people.

It wouldn't be a problem if these people that migrate in don't force out the original inhabitants. But they do. And they are breeding hatred that is being directed at not just them, but all Americans. Do we really need this fight of Ideology in our modern world. Are we still such savages?

And the very last person that should say the Palestinians refugees have not got a right to return is that person who defends the right of Jews to live in Israel. If Palestinians have not got a right of return, what rights do Jews have to return to Palestine?

[ Parent ]

Today (5.00 / 3) (#42)
by bobpence on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 05:37:39 PM EST

Let's review some of your Jewish homelands within the last couple of generations:

  • Poland - home to Nazi death camps
  • Russia - pogroms
  • U.S.A. - refused refugee boats
  • Germany - National Socialist German Workers Party mildly anti-Semitic
  • France - still severe anti-Semitism
  • Ethiopia - recent source of refugees to Israel
True, no one is persecuting them now in Germany, at least not this weekal, though burning down synagogues in France might count for something. Ask the Tutsis of Rwanda about "never again."

You say that these homeland arguments no longer hold in this modern world. You mean the one so evident in Afghanistan? Or the one in Iran since the revolution? The people threatening Israel and America hate modernity, they are rebelling against it.

Try to get a Jewish slave from Israel. Not likely, they will be defended. But a Christian slace in Sudan is as easy to buy as were prisoners of war on Africa's west coast in the 1800's, in both cases because their country cannot or will not defend them.

Americanus Civis Sum - "I am an American citizen" - means something (outside Saudi Arabia, at least). It means that your government watches out for you, not that it views foreign lives as cheap, but that it views your life and liberty as dear.

Call on the Arab states to welcome Christians and Jews without special taxes. Call on Indonesia to protect Chinese entrepreneurs. But realize that all the world is not America (sometimes even America isn't, as with the internment camps during World War II), but is already very much divided by ethnicity. It is a tenuous work of progress to get beyond it, but we have no right to call on historically oppressed people to be at the vanguard.

I called the right of return doubtful because of the debate on the facts of history. If you abandon your home so that your ethnic relatives can drive someone else into the sea, do you really have a claim over the land you left?

The two-state solution was offered long ago by the U.N., and like any development called for some movement of people. The Arabs living in Palestine - historical Canaan, historical Palestine, historical Israel - rejected the state they were offered in favor of a one-state solution. From the first they wanted it to include only one ethnic group. Today most of them want the same thing, to be achieved the same way that was tried before - by spitting on multiculturalism and slaughtering Jews.
"Interesting. No wait, the other thing: tedious." - Bender
[ Parent ]

Wow, psychologist (3.16 / 6) (#23)
by Shren on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 03:59:54 PM EST

Wow, psychologist. You're usually trolling with style. This honest bit of opinion must indicate that you have strong feelings on this issue. *grin*

I agree that boycotting Israel is wrong. I also agree that Israel's handling of Palestine is quite inhumane.

However. Israel has been pushed too far, really, to expect them to be well-behaved about this. After the years of pressure they've gotten, one almost expects them to do worse.

Radical Islamic factions seek to establish rule by Islamic Law, as thier religion commands, in practically every country bordered by a country with a Moslem majority. Think middle east. Now think of thier neighbors. Northeast Africa, southern former USSR states, India, China. All of them have problems with Radical Islamic terrorism. I compiled a list for an opinion piece I wrote. Israel has borne a good portion of the burden of the weight of this problem for a long time.

I have some small bit of sympathy for the cause of Palestine - Israel was carved out of a big hunk of land and caused great upset in the region - but I have no sympathy for thier methods. With groups with similar religious creeds causing trouble all over the globe, it's hard to have any sympathy at all.

I object to all laws guided by religion. I wish I could get a beer on Sunday in the US. Radical Islam is an especially large problem because they use guns, and bombs, and airplanes. Anything to convert another country. The problem is that there's such a plague of submission to authority in the cultures in that area of the world that the 99.99% of the Moslems on the planet who are perfectly good people won't stand up and say, "Quit blowing up our neighbors, asshole."

In conclusion. I feel strange calling the violent forces behind the recent terrorism events "Radical Islamic factions". They're not Moslems - they violate the tennants of that religion. They're not radical. They take money and power by force. That's actually sort of mundane. And given that they arn't Moslems, they can hardly be a faction. They have no country that they are all from. They have no ethnic group that they're all a part of. They have no common name, more to hide than anything else. There is a call for a new word, just to describe them, or maybe the old word 'Facist' will do.

But there is room for a new word. The powers that be around the world are obsessed with keeping things running smoothly for them, and they bomb anyone who gets too far out of line. We've entered some kind of global transnational stasis. All of the tension inside the system no longer turns into war - it turns into terrorism. We're entering an age full of the stuff.

[ Parent ]

Islamic terror (4.50 / 2) (#29)
by psychologist on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 04:24:35 PM EST

I think you are making a logical error here. You are looking at it from the wrong angle. Look at it from the seccesionist angle - there are rebel groups all over the world who want to seccede. some are islamic, some are not. so you can't say Abu Sayaf is a terrorist organisation - they are exactly the same as the RUF or Sierra Leone.

Take away all seccesionist movements, and leave only the organisations that are attacking a country to convert it to islam. I don't think there are a great many.

We are not entering an age of terrorism. Only an American would talk that way. Look at the graph of terrorist incidents over the past 10 years, and you will see that there is a sharp downards trend. Disregard Palestine and these "warnings" that the US government produces.

Radical Islam is not really a problem. There are a billion muslims, and the radicals are very very few in number. Radicalism in general is everywhere, it is just that it takes a different form. It looks as if the human is looking for an excuse to be radical - look at the rise in the right wing fanatics in Europe and Russia.

[ Parent ]

It's more complicated than that. (4.00 / 1) (#31)
by rsidd on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 04:37:25 PM EST

A lot of movements started off as being non-Islamic, and the Islamic colour got injected (typically from outside) later. Palestine is one example -- it was originally not an Islamic movement at all, there are a good many Christians affected too. Kashmir is another -- there is a secessionist movement but it wasn't Islamic to begin with, in fact Islamic fundamentalism (beards, burqas, etc) is totally alien to Kashmiri culture. But people across the border thought it would be a good idea to try and make it an Islamic cause.

So yes, the original poster was oversimplifying too -- there is a dangerous Islamic-fundamentalist component to the Palestine problem today, but the problem existed before the Islamists.

And most of these Islamists originated from the Afghan Mujahideen who were financed by the CIA 15-20 years ago...

[ Parent ]

Arafats wife is Christian (4.66 / 3) (#33)
by psychologist on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 04:43:01 PM EST

The islamic problem comes from Hamas, which was created and funded by Israel as an alternative to the PLO. But the Palestinian people choose the PLO. There is no problem of Islamic terror in Palestine. The problem of Palestine is a fight against an occupying force, and has NOTHING to do with Islam.

Arafat married a christian wife. Would you president have been elected if his wife was a devout muslim, and wore a veil?

[ Parent ]

Land (4.50 / 2) (#49)
by Bad Harmony on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 07:21:34 PM EST

The proposed policy bothers me, but what about the common policy in the Arab world, including the P.A., of considering any land sale to a Jew to be a capital offense? It isn't just rhetoric. Many Arabs have been killed for selling land to Jews.

54ş40' or Fight!
[ Parent ]

And (2.00 / 3) (#13)
by medham on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 03:28:24 PM EST

Check out signature number 826 on the Leonid Ryzhik petition.

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.

Ok, I give (none / 0) (#54)
by p3d0 on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 10:26:49 PM EST

How did you find the petition, and what is name #826?
--
Patrick Doyle
My comments do not reflect the opinions of my employer.
[ Parent ]
Try google [nt] (none / 0) (#55)
by medham on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 10:47:29 PM EST


The real 'medham' has userid 6831.
[ Parent ]

Thanks, jackass (none / 0) (#110)
by p3d0 on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 01:43:53 PM EST

Do you think that wasn't the first thing I tried?
--
Patrick Doyle
My comments do not reflect the opinions of my employer.
[ Parent ]
the critical point is: (4.75 / 4) (#25)
by KiTaSuMbA on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 04:02:36 PM EST

Does a university back that state's actions and positions in a formal manner? In that case, economic (but no other) boycots could be admissible. In the case that members of the academic community support the positions, one should ask for action taken for the very persons and not the university in general as long as they present these opinions using their academic position to strengthen them - if these positions are presented on a totaly personal basis, they have the freedom to do so.
In any case, this can be very problematic, as on deciding *who* and *why* deserves this "punishment". As a matter of fact, I believe the academic community should be left out of the political controverseries altogether.
On the specific case of the 2 academics fired my Baker, we do not know anything useful about it. Were they fired because of advocating through the structures of the open university? If that's the case, Baker did have the right to do so. If not, and no other reason is presented, I'd say Baker made a horrible injustice and straight forward legal actions should be the answer, not web-based petitions.

There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
This just in: Academia: Not that bright (4.80 / 5) (#34)
by quasipalm on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 04:49:34 PM EST

Cutting off academic communication with Israel makes about as much sense as cutting off medical supplies to Iraq.

We need a solution to both problems, but we need a solution that actually addresses the problem. Duh.

(hi)
Bush (4.33 / 9) (#36)
by Lai Lai Boy on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 04:50:13 PM EST

I'm as Pro-Palestine as they come, but the academic world should be above this - I don't want to be held accountable for President Shrub's actions.


[Posted from Mozilla Firebird]

Great Idea. (2.00 / 2) (#39)
by SPYvSPY on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 05:22:29 PM EST

Cut ties between centers of learning. For what? To transpose the subjective opinions of certain individuals onto institutions that are supposed to be concerned with opening the minds of young people. Of course, most young people are smart enough to know what unenviable jackasses most college professors are anyway, so the net-net is null. Just another waste of time and energy from the hallowed halls of tenured summer vacationers.
------------------------------------------------

By replying to this or any other comment in this thread, you assign an equal share of all worldwide copyright in such reply to each of the other readers of this site.

who do you hold responsible? (4.66 / 3) (#45)
by mikelist on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 06:56:43 PM EST

I'm sympathetic to making strong statements regarding the (in my view) unacceptable policies and practices wrt the native Palestinians, but wonder if punishing the institutions which are most likely to generate a more reasonable future government is a good idea. To further muddy the waters, I recognize the implicit government involvement and connections with the Israeli military to educational institutions, which does seem to mnake them part of the problem, per se.

Hello? (4.00 / 4) (#46)
by karb on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 07:05:51 PM EST

Ever heard of northern ireland from about 70 years ago until five or ten years ago?

Originating from a country with no human rights abuses means you come from luxembourg, or something. For a briton to discriminate against a person because their nation of origin is oppressive is the ultimate irony.

(Not taking a swipe at britain ... just trying to point out that every country has serious human rights abuses, and by Mona Baker's own admission, she evidently should be relieved of her academic duties.) :)
--
Who is the geek who would risk his neck for his brother geek?

Terror is terror (3.14 / 7) (#57)
by israeli on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 11:26:17 PM EST

No logical error at all. PLO and Hamas are terror organisations not because Israel or America don't want to give Arabs of Palestine independence, but simply because of methods these organizations use to achieve their goals. Say whatever you want but when Arab gunman enters a house in a Jewish village and kills in cold blood a mother and her children including a 5-years girl sleeping in their beds I call that inhumane, not the Israeli "oppression". And please don't tell me that these actions are the result of "despair". There's a lot of peoples around the worl who really suffer but only Arab fanatics happen to commit such barbaric actions.

Right.... (4.00 / 2) (#59)
by flimflam on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 11:40:16 PM EST

There's a lot of peoples around the worl who really suffer but only Arab fanatics happen to commit such barbaric actions.
That's right. Only the Arabs. Oh, except for the Basques. And the Irish. But besides them it's only the Arabs. Oh, almost forgot about the Tamils. I guess Timothy McVeigh doesn't count, but perhaps the Colombians should, and the Chechens, and who else am I forgetting? Those guys in the Philipines and Indonesia....


-- I am always optimistic, but frankly there is no hope. --Hosni Mubarek
[ Parent ]
Missing the point (4.00 / 2) (#61)
by bouncing on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 01:06:39 AM EST

I think sir, that you are missing the point. No one is debating whether Isreal or the Islamic extremists are correct in the motives or means. What we are considering is whether an institution of higher learning boycotting another because of their governments political disagreements is legitimate.

[ Parent ]
It's all in the words... (3.00 / 1) (#65)
by Betcour on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 03:55:32 AM EST

Say whatever you want but when Arab gunman enters a house in a Jewish village and kills in cold blood a mother and her children including a 5-years girl sleeping in their beds I call that inhumane, not the Israeli "oppression".

What the Israeli (and you) call "village" (aka "Israili neighbourhood") is actually a fortified colony. It was built on stolen land, often by throwing away by force (and sometimes by killing) the rightful Palestinian owners who used to live there for centuries. The colons who settled there know they are part of this ethnic cleansing operation. They not only know it but most of them are hard-line right wing religious zealots who want to make the "grand Israel" by driving away Palestinians and taking back their "promised land". While I can only feel sorry for any kid who get killed in this war, I think adult colons who don't want to get shot should think about it first before deciding to live in enemy territory.

[ Parent ]
Amnesty International (none / 0) (#70)
by i on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:28:22 AM EST

seems to disagree with you.

and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

[ Parent ]
Disagree ? (none / 0) (#71)
by Betcour on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 07:11:49 AM EST

They don't seem to disagree. I'm talking about attacks on colonies. They are talking about attacks on civilians. Those are two different and only partly overlapping subjects.

[ Parent ]
you keep saying (4.00 / 1) (#66)
by KiTaSuMbA on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 04:33:44 AM EST

the same off topic words... As others have pointed out, the issue here is not who's "right" but wether boycotts and sanctions should be applicable to academic institutions as well, and not only regarding the israeli situation. The author uses Baker's actions and the subsequent petitions as an opportunity for further discussion.
Please do not tempt people answering your off-topic comments on either nation's rightness of cause and necessity of method. Both sides' points (and not only points) have been widely posted, commented and rebuted on K5. Care to do some search. I'm pretty sure you will find a lot of intellectual "food" both you agree and disagree. Your position is already fully covered, there is no point in repeating (since K5 is not about counting pros and cons and letting the winners celebrate victory, but rather discussing fresh ideas).

There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
[ Parent ]
This is off topic, I agree, (4.00 / 1) (#76)
by israeli on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 08:04:47 AM EST

but the preceding commentators also were off topic when mentioning "autrocities and oppression" allegedly commited by Israelis. OTOH, it's hard to conduct such a discussion in abstract terms...

[ Parent ]
2 wrongs (none / 0) (#78)
by KiTaSuMbA on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 08:34:35 AM EST

don't make a right, as the old saying goes. If people start pulling off charges at each other the best reply is that they are not pertinent to the discussion.
I agree that it's not an easy task to keep this discussion as objective and cool-tempered as possible, but some people posting here have done honest efforts. Some others didn't. Life is made that way ;-)
Many posters with known pro-palestinian positions are saying their big fat "NO" on academic boycotts. I must agree. I never saw neither the utility (you just p*ss off people) nor the "right" to retaliate on populace for the (alleged or real) wrongdoings of their government. Especially academics! If there is a force that can downgrade the hatred currently running in middle east, then it's academics, intellectuals and artists. Why propagate the escalation on these intercommunicating sectors as well?

   
There is no Dopaminergic Pepperoni Kabal!
[ Parent ]

Defining a true intellectual (2.75 / 4) (#60)
by bouncing on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 01:02:11 AM EST

The groups supporting this "academic boycott" are not intellectuals. They are instead childish, ignorant, and not thinking too hard. Education and academic debate create a culture that cuts through political and social bigotry, making violence obsolete. You may disagree with your counterpart's government, but how are they going to know what you're disagreeing with if you severe the ties of intellectual dialog and communication?

Moreover, the academics of another culture are not responsible for the actions of their government. I thought this was the argument many from institutions of higher learning were using against the United States' sanctions on Iraq? There is no intellectual or well-reasoned idea behind this "boycott" -- it's the human emotions of Europeans who sympathize with the plight of the Palistinians. When we let rage and anger overcome our reasoning and thought process, we see things like this boycott.

My final point is, if the Arab sympathizers in Europe believe that indeed Isreal is committing attrocities, they should consider for a moment that depriving Jews of higher education will certainly not advance the cause of non-violence.

But then again, the people implementing this boycott are probably so blinded by their hatred, that they really have no thoughtful commentary to contribute anyway. Isreal's academics would spend their time better by speaking with the open minded anyway.

One strawman after another... (3.66 / 3) (#63)
by Estanislao Martínez on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 02:50:40 AM EST

The groups supporting this "academic boycott" are not intellectuals.

I think their academic credentials speak for themselves.

Education and academic debate create a culture that cuts through political and social bigotry, making violence obsolete.

I think you are living in fantasyland.

You may disagree with your counterpart's government, but how are they going to know what you're disagreeing with if you severe the ties of intellectual dialog and communication?

You send them a letter telling them. You switch from dialog mode to monolgue broadcast mode. Duh.

Moreover, the academics of another culture are not responsible for the actions of their government.

And, badly enough for your "argument", the people who are behind this boycott largely agree with you. Which shows that you don't understand the point.

My final point is, if the Arab sympathizers in Europe believe that indeed Isreal is committing attrocities, they should consider for a moment that depriving Jews of higher education will certainly not advance the cause of non-violence.

How is refusing to work with members of Israeli insitutions of higher education "depriving Jews of higher education"? This is a product of your fantasy.

--em
[ Parent ]

Not really (4.00 / 1) (#92)
by Betcour on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 03:46:34 PM EST

Education and academic debate create a culture that cuts through political and social bigotry, making violence obsolete.

I disagree with that. From the Nazi "scientist" who would swear they could tell your intelligence from the color of your skin or shape of your head, to the "climate experts" that Bush shows around to say that global warming isn't really there, many accademics have been active on the political biggotry side.

My final point is, if the Arab sympathizers in Europe believe that indeed Isreal is committing attrocities, they should consider for a moment that depriving Jews of higher education will certainly not advance the cause of non-violence.

You don't understand the situation obviously. It's not about supporting Arabs vs Jews (or the opposite), it's about Palestinians vs Israelians. There are some Arab Israelians (and a handfull of Israeli Palestinians, mostly peace activists). It's not a religious war, it's a colonization war.

[ Parent ]
Stereotypes (3.80 / 5) (#68)
by godix on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:07:49 AM EST

Ya know, I'm really starting to hate the stereotype that Europe is full of pansy ass liberals who support known terrorists while the US is full of gun carrying maniacs in support of government oppression. It's rather disappointing that academics appear to fall exactly along those lines. Maybe there should be an academic swap, the US can send our gun toting facists to educate Europe that bombing civilians is not a good thing and Europe can send thier pansy ass liberals here to educate America that driving tanks over a town isn't good either.

Wrong stereotype (3.00 / 3) (#79)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 08:39:19 AM EST

American academics are pansy-assed liberals too, they just have more jewish members.


--
ACK.


[ Parent ]
More stereotypes. (4.00 / 1) (#81)
by godix on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 09:28:08 AM EST

I considered that, but an American pansy ass liberal is an European moderate. That's why my mildly conserative American views seem to make me one of the most extreme rightwingers here on K5.

[ Parent ]
Moderate? (2.50 / 2) (#83)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 10:28:53 AM EST

Given some of the wacky hijinks American universities get up to - if they are moderate then so was Mao. You have my sympathies.


--
ACK.


[ Parent ]
impact (2.00 / 2) (#69)
by dinu on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:26:04 AM EST

Let's face it. Even if an academic boycott would be established the impact on Israel will be next to nothing. It is more like a moral gesture in which the academic comunity is distancing itself from Israel's policy. The alternative would be to bomb the shit out of Israel until they revise their actions. I personaly would start with the academic boycot and moral gestures of that kind first.

Some Proportion (3.50 / 10) (#84)
by GalGadol on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 10:56:40 AM EST

Well it's my first (and hopefully last) post in here. I created this account and logged in cause I was truly getting sick of the amount of bullshit on this site whenever the MidEast issue is brought up.

My name is Nir. I was born and raised in Israel. I currently live in Tel Aviv. Every morning, when I ride the bus to work, I look at the other passengers - is there someone dark looking, carrying a large pack ? perhaps a large overcoat ? What are the chances this bus will explode today ?

When we wake up in the morning, my girlfriend sometimes asks me to take a taxi to work today. She knows its much more expensive, but she just has a bad feeling about today... this may be the day.

I'm not trying to make you feel sorry for me. I honestly couldn't care less for your pity. I'm just trying give you just some taste of what it's like to live here now.

So I make it to work, and log in my machine, and read semi-intellectuals, self-proclaimed-humanists or simply nutcases (eg. psychologist) give Israel shit about what we're doing to the Palestinians.

People in this website are actually clueless enough to say that Israel funded the Hamas (the most extreme of palestinian organizations, the one responsible for most bus bombings), or that the settlements in the west bank are built on arab villages after killing the native occupiers (while the settlments are very unpopular with most Israelis, they were all built on uninhabited land or inside arab towns, eg. Hebron). Yet those same people see themselves fit and able to solve this long, bloody war we have here with a few lines on a fartsy website.

Let me tell you something, that some of you would probably be shocked to hear: Zionist do not see oppressing the palestinians as their raison detre. Everyone knows Israel has a strong army, but it is not because Israelis love to fight - it is because Israelis have been FORCED to fight ever since they set foot in this land.

In Israel, war is not something you see in a Chuck Norris movie. War is very much a part of life. If war breaks out everyone stands to lose. There are'nt many people in Israel who don't have a loved one which serves in the army or serve in the army themselves. War is not about soldiers getting killed. War is about me getting killed, or my brother, or my friend, or my neighbour. We have every reason not to want war.

So why do we do it ? Why do we set up roadblocks ? Why do we put Palestinians on curfew ? Why do we enter their cities with tanks ? The reason is because we dont want to die.

Roadblocks are set to make it harder for suicide bomber get into Israel. Curfews are there to make it harder for militant organizations to carry their operations. Tanks enter towns to find and kill or capture the suicide bombers and the people who send them, before they get to the bus I'm riding to work.

As far as I am concerned, this is fine. I don't care a rat's ass for your bleeding heart rants. I just want to get to work without exploding. You can keep writing whatever you like in your jerk off weblog, I support everything the goverment does - quite simply, I want to live.

Try thinking about that. Well who am I kidding anyway, huh?

Yes, it's always distasteful (none / 0) (#85)
by Ken Pompadour on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 10:59:57 AM EST

When the slaves revolt, isn't it? Ah, but they can "leave any time they want," right? Right.

...The target is countrymen, friends and family... they have to die too. - candid trhurler
[ Parent ]
yeah, I've been reading you, Master Ken (none / 0) (#90)
by GalGadol on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 01:34:08 PM EST

From what I read of you so far your knowledge of Middle East issues is even less then the average BBC reporter. The Palestinians are not my slaves nor have they ever been. I have worked on many jobs side to side with Palestinians, as a fellow worker. We have had exactly the same rights, by law. I understand that over in England you can look at all this as entertainment, but its not how it looks from here. To any of the sides. I believe a Palestinian wouldn't appreciate your comments any more then me, as it is clear to anyone they are the product of a lazy, retarded mind who thinks that a war is like some stupid soccer game. I wonder what you will say when buses explode in YOUR town. In short, you are an idiot.

[ Parent ]
Indeed it is. (none / 0) (#99)
by Apuleius on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:49:07 PM EST

Especially when they carve out an enclave and make it miserable for their former masters, which is what the Dhimmies when we got Israel up and running.


There is a time and a place for everything, and it's called college. (The South Park chef)
[ Parent ]
The irony (none / 0) (#91)
by Betcour on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 03:38:01 PM EST

I have a tip for you : tell your girlfriend that every year more peoples die in Israel on the road from car accidents than from terrorism...

And stop whining : your chances of getting killed would be higher if you were a Palestinian. That and your house won't be razed by tanks, you don't have to live with a curfew, you are free to move within your country and you still have a job. A few kilometers away people don't have your chance...

[ Parent ]
Heh. (none / 0) (#102)
by delmoi on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 07:50:47 AM EST

Funny, but since a few months ago, not true.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Show your sources (none / 0) (#104)
by Betcour on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 08:20:34 AM EST

For example in 1997 Israel had 530 death on the road. Assuming the number is the same for 2001 (it's unlikely to change much), you'll have to find 530 civilians who died from terrorism in Israel in 2001. Repeat exercise for 2002 (assuming about 250 deads for the first 6 months). Good luck.

[ Parent ]
He did say, killed by terrorism on the road. (none / 0) (#108)
by haflinger on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 10:33:37 AM EST

That's a subset of all those killed by terrorism. Your points may be valid, but you're going to have to only list those who were outside, in their vehicles, when they were blown up.

I know of no statistical sources for this data, unfortunately.

Did people from the future send George Carlin back in time to save rusty and K5? - leviramsey
[ Parent ]

No (none / 0) (#109)
by Betcour on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 10:53:45 AM EST

Actually my point is still valid even if you take all victims of terrorism in Israel, not just on the road (that includes people in bars, restaurant or other places). Of course you still cannot count armed soldiers or people outside of Israel (in the colonies...). You'll still find that more people died of car accidents. Or to put it plainly : that "we must protect ourselves" is plain propaganda, since it would be safer (and cheaper) to work on reducing car accidents.

Much like, in the US, more people died of gun shot or on the road than in the 9/11 attack. In 1996 for example, 41967 Americans died from car accidents.

Terrorism is spectacular (that's what it's meant to be) but as far as statistics goes, it goes from minor to insignificant.

[ Parent ]
Your point is not valid (none / 0) (#111)
by majubma on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 04:23:48 PM EST

unless you compare the death rate of automobile passengers to the death rate of bus passengers. (Hint: there are a different number in each group.)


--Thaddeus Q. Thaddelonium, the most crookedest octopus lawyer in the West.
[ Parent ]
Invest in a bicycle. (4.00 / 1) (#101)
by delmoi on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 07:49:23 AM EST

Whats the matter, are you so much better then the chinese? I'd rather bike it then bus it and there arn't many suicide bombers in Iowa.
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
The other point of view? (4.00 / 1) (#105)
by Khendon on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 09:12:27 AM EST

I wonder if you consider the point of view of the other side? What would make "We use suicide bombers to try and stop Israeli military forces from killing us and destroying our homes" less valid than *your* point?

[ Parent ]
So you live your life in fear... (none / 0) (#122)
by Khedak on Mon Jul 22, 2002 at 11:15:32 AM EST

You live alongside Palestinians. Are they all mad? When your ancestors arrived in Palestine fifty years ago and declared themselves to be sovereign rulers of the country, who gave them that right?

I am an American. If I had been born a hundred fifty years earlier, I might feel the same way about Native Americans: They were here first, but in my hypothetical personal life as an American, I have seen both freindly Indians who are assimilating into my culture, and mean Indians who want to kill whites and their families. Now as you know, the Americans systematically wiped out the Indians or forced them onto reservations. Was that the right thing to do, since they wouldn't tolerate our "manifest destiny" in the new world? Don't you see a parallel here?

P.S. I could give a shit about you setting up roadblocks. What I don't like to hear is when you say "Oh, we suspect refugee camp X supported a terrorist attack." Then you bulldoze refugee camp X, or even worse, send in armed soldiers who seem to fuck up and shoot children and civilians an awful lot.

What do you think will end the buses exploding? Put all the Palestinians in handcuffs? What do you want? You want to get to work without exploding, no matter the cost to the Palestinians? They have the same rights under the consitution, you say! Fine, are Israelis on curfew? Are israeli and palestinian neighborhoods destroyed by the army on an equal basis? Does the squalor and poverty of Palestinian encampments a few kilometres from wealthy middle-class Israeli settlements speak to the great equality of your nation?

In short, you've got problems. If you want the problems to stop, I suggest you quit sticking your head in the sand and beleiving that your militarist leaders are truly working for peace, and realize they're just as complicit as the terrorist leaders themselves. It takes two to tango. If you think my sentiments conflict with my country's current foreign policy, you may be right. Unfortunately, my government isn't open to criticism at the moment on that matter. I can flap my lips all I want, Freedom of Speech you know, but it changes nothing. I suspect even if you agreed with me, you'd discover the same of your government.

[ Parent ]
You (US, Europe, Soviets) gave us that right (none / 0) (#123)
by mlapanadras on Mon Jul 22, 2002 at 04:05:25 PM EST

Israel is not something that poped up like a mushroom after rain. More than fifty years ago Israel was officially declared as a Jewish state and this claim was backed by international treaties and supported by almost any civilized country, including US.

You'd better know what you're doing.

[ Parent ]

It's not us you have to live with... (none / 0) (#124)
by Khedak on Mon Jul 22, 2002 at 05:02:21 PM EST

Israel is not something that poped up like a mushroom after rain. More than fifty years ago Israel was officially declared as a Jewish state and this claim was backed by international treaties and supported by almost any civilized country, including US.

Not at all, I didn't mean to imply you had no legal right to sovereignty as far as the international superpowers were concerned. I'm concerned with your relationship with the people who were living in the area when you arrived. That is why I chose the United States as my example with the native americans. Other European countries recognized the right of colonial Americans to live in North America, just as the international community supports the rights of Israel. That's not at issue, at issue is how you're handling your neighbors. I don't think we're proud of how we dealt with the native Americans, but there's obviously no way to undo it now. Is this the kind of future the Israelis have in mind for the Palestinians?

More importantly, don't you think that violent acts (as opposed to peaceful things like roadblocks) can only make things worse? They're a part of your population, and until you can figure out how to relate to them peacefully, you're by definition doomed to a perpetual state of civil war.

[ Parent ]
Civil rights (none / 0) (#125)
by mlapanadras on Tue Jul 23, 2002 at 01:18:29 AM EST

Violence seem to be the only language Israel can speak to be heard. Look, Israel is not a banana republic that can accept having guerilla tribes all around the country. This is a modern state with a strong laws. In the occupation and war policies this state follows international laws.

However, why the Palestinians chose the violent way in their fight for civil rights? This way is proven to be very ineffective comparing with Ghandi-King-Mandela's non-violent social protest. I guess that Mandela and Arafat (or his predecessors) has started approximately at the same time - what was achieved by the first and where is the second?

[ Parent ]

In my honest opinion? (5.00 / 1) (#126)
by Khedak on Tue Jul 23, 2002 at 11:55:04 AM EST

Violence seem to be the only language Israel can speak to be heard. Look, Israel is not a banana republic that can accept having guerilla tribes all around the country. This is a modern state with a strong laws. In the occupation and war policies this state follows international laws.

However, why the Palestinians chose the violent way in their fight for civil rights? This way is proven to be very ineffective comparing with Ghandi-King-Mandela's non-violent social protest. I guess that Mandela and Arafat (or his predecessors) has started approximately at the same time - what was achieved by the first and where is the second?


Don't you see how plainly reversible your argument is? You ask why the Palestinians use violence, pointing out that it's ineffective, while saying your own use of violence is necessary. At this point, the Palestiniants can say the same thing. Has the Israeli use of force and violence, however it may be condoned by the international community, been effective in ending terrorism and enforcing its law? Have you brought the peace?

No. The answer to your question is simple: They use violence for the same reason you do, because they think it is necessary. The sheer extremism of their actions should make that as plain as the nose on your face. If Israel wants to kill Palestinians, you can fly a helicopter gunship over the area and launch some rockets. If Palestine wants to attack Israel, what are they going to do, send men with rifles into lines so they can be run over by your tanks in civilized warfare? Of course not, they're going to resort to terrorism, taking their own lives to fight a war of attrition against you. I think you've gone way beyond the point of trying to settle the matter on the basis of international approval. And if you think that Israel's conduct has been acceptable, then maybe the standard set by the international community is unreasonable. After all, this seems to be the opinion of the Palestinians, and it doesn't seem that your 'legal' actions have had any effect on reducing terrorism or bringing the situation to resolution.

[ Parent ]
Nobody wants to stop it (5.00 / 2) (#127)
by mlapanadras on Tue Jul 23, 2002 at 03:22:14 PM EST

Thanks for the reply, you've got the point. Neither Israel nor Palestinians are ready to cease the violence. Palestinians can't stop because they just haven't got enough gray cells to think about non-violent protest, the culture doesn't accept such nonsense. Israelis prefer simple and fast military response. Both sides, like two pubertant youths, think that "violence = power" and "compromise = weakness". Unfortunately, when Arabs think that their enemy is weak, they double their attempts to break his neck.

The real strong man should choose the hard non-violent way. There are no such leaders in Middle East and world is not ready to help. Europe, despite the rant about human rights, doesn't give a damn about neither Jews nor Palestinians. They ignored the manslaughter right before their eyes in Yugoslavia so who cares about the Middle East? The latest US demands for a democratic Palestinian leadership is the way to go, liberals was talking about it for ages but US was always more keen to deal with Middle-East dictators and oil-Tsars then to promote democracy in this region as they did in East Europe during the Cold War.

Middle-East crisis (or the more broad conflict with the Muslim world) is a fault of entire Western culture. It is so hard to be strong because you have to take responsibility for your less advanced and mentally sick neighbour.

[ Parent ]

Oh, the ironic richness (4.33 / 3) (#86)
by jolly st nick on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 12:19:31 PM EST

of providing yet another example of the mentality that, when faced with a problem it is powerless to solve, manages to find some incomprehensible solace in harsh but pointless action.

Pointless how? (none / 0) (#112)
by autonomous on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 08:40:19 PM EST

I'm not sure how you find this a pointless action. It seems to me that by driving the point home to some of the most well and out spoken members of the israeli's is a good thing. We all know how political academics are, it seems foolish to assume that this will not point out that there are limits any government must observe, even when defending itself. Now if only I could convince the rouge state south of my boarders to stop killing civilians.
-- Always remember you are nothing more than a collection of complementary chemicals worth not more than $5.00
[ Parent ]
"Driving the point home"? Bah! (none / 0) (#116)
by jolly st nick on Mon Jul 15, 2002 at 09:10:04 AM EST

I don't think the point needs to be "driven home". Exactly what kind of point can some middle class American college professor living in relative comfort and security "drive home" to people living day to day in bloody and degrading conflict? It is a spiteful attempt to add insult to injury.

Most charitably, I think this shows a tenuous grasp of the realities of the conflict. Least charitably, it looks rather like selfish political posturing.

In either case, it is the worst possible choice from the very limited sphere of actions available to academicians. It can only worsen the conflict by taking a key segment of Israeli society and driving towards insularity. If anything, contact with and between scholars on both sides of the conflict should be increased.

[ Parent ]

I wonder... (4.50 / 2) (#88)
by Lode Runner on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 01:15:11 PM EST

Would have Mona Baker fired those Israeli academics if they had been Israeli Arabs?



funding? (4.00 / 1) (#100)
by RelliK on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 10:11:07 PM EST

Why does Europe fund Israel's universities in the first place?
---
Under capitalism man exploits man, under communism it's just the opposite.
oic. (3.50 / 2) (#103)
by delmoi on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 07:58:13 AM EST

Collective punishment is good now?
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
Palestinians? (none / 0) (#113)
by FatHed on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 11:14:54 PM EST

Does the European Union fund any colleges for Palestinians? I don't support the boycotting of academia, but people also have the right to spend their money where they please. I also know that you are not going to get along with everyone, but hating a race is stupid, and on that note, I support the liberation of the Palestinians and their land, and the stop of the racist/religious bickery. Racism in academia, which most people in that part of the world do not participate in, seems like a small problem.
Intelligence is a matter of opinion.
Controversy over academic boycott of Israel | 128 comments (119 topical, 9 editorial, 6 hidden)
Display: Sort:

kuro5hin.org

[XML]
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest © 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!