Archive for February, 2013

Yet more on BDS

When I started this blog the idea wasn’t to write about BDS all the time but anway, that’s what there is for the moment. I just posted the comment below here

I’m glad of Mark’s contribution to the effect that a boycott would have to be harsh and coercive.  Were it not so, it would not be one at all. And Mohan is also right, if you think the harshness and coercion necessary to   put an end to some worse wrong, then you’re on the way to having a defensible justification.

I might be wrong, but I’d guess that the chances of a boycott of Israeli educational institutions gaining enough traction to have any real effect on them are slight.  Indeed attempts to impose one may prove to be illegal in some countries.  There are people, however, who are sure to be affected by a boycott and they are non-Israeli Jews working in academia.   Some will be affected positively of course as they will have opinions similar to Judith Butler’s and would be pleased to participate in a boycott. However, the many that don’t would face some difficult choices. They might assent to the boycott for the sake of a quiet life and to show in public that they are lined up with the righteous, either without being especially convinced of its merits or even while actually disagreeing with it. “Ah but the boycott would be strictly voluntary! No one would be forced to do anything against their will”.  If  no method, formal or informal, exists to enforce a boycott then it’s not a boycott at all and there’s no point in advocating it that it be implemented. After all, as things stand now, no one who doesn’t want to is obliged to collaborate with Israelis or Israeli institutions.

Or they might refuse to cooperate with it and risk being branded as supporters of what some people now see as a uniquely evil and illegitimate state, and being subjected to some degree of ostracization, however mild.

To which it might be replied: it’s not just Jews who would have to decide that, it would be all academics.  The thing is though, about half the world’s Jews live in Israel.  Whether they love it, hate it or aren’t too bothered about it either way, asking Jewish colleagues to boycott it isn’t the same as asking non-Jewish ones. Their reactions to a boycott would be subject to particular scrutiny. While a boycott would give some a chance to demonstrate what they would see as their high degree of moral probity by endorsing it, it would likely make others very uncomfortable indeed, if talk of it hasn’t already. Of course, some may regard such discomfort as trivial and a price well worth paying if it helps to put an end what they see as uniquely evil activities elsewhere.

Time to Boycott Judith Butler??

I have posted the text below as a comment in response to Mohan Matthen’s post here,  which  arises from Judith Butler’s support for BDS and her speaking in favor of it at Brooklyn College in the company of Omar  Barghouti.

And by sharing a platform with Mr. Barghouti, currently a PhD student at Tel Aviv University and therefore a participant in/beneficiary of the Israeli education system, could she not be said to be breaking the very boycott she seeks to impose? Or does Mr. Barghouti get her a free pass due his support for a boycott of his own institution, and indeed of himself?

One might even go futher, by sharing a platform with what, as they would see it, is a current member of an educational body that forms an integral part of the Zionist apparatus of repression, might more radical elements of the BDS movement not be within their rights to call for Ms. Butler herself to be boycotted on the grounds that she is a de facto collaborator with Zionism?

It all gets dashed complicated when you start to think about this boycott business.

Escuela Normal

Extraordinarily good, Wiseman type, fly on the waller. School as a place for everything except teaching and learning.  La sombra de Sarmiento  saluda la película, pero llora lo que ha pasado con su visión.

Chávez, coup leader and killer

21 years ago today Hugo Chávez and his followers set out to overthrow the democratically elected government of Venezuela by force. Among their heroic exploits that day was an attempt to murder President Carlos Andrés Pérez and his family. Dozens were killed in the fighting, among them staff at the door of the VTV television station, shot out of hand by  rebels trying to take it over.  Had Chávez and his gang been properly punished for what they did the Venezuelan people would have been spared  a  a lot of later suffering.

Brooklyn College and BDS

Here, here, and here you’ll find respectable academics urgently defending the rights of other people to argue for the boycott of the world’s only Jewish state. I wonder if they’d get so worked up about the First amendment rights of people who wanted to argue against marriage equality or in favor of qualified voting, to give just two possible examples.


%d bloggers like this: