Boycott Israeli academics – but ask for their support on Gaza?

July 19, 2014 at 2:45 pm (academe, Chomsky, israel, Jim D, Middle East, palestine, SWP, tragedy, war)

A wounded Palestinian baby receives treatment at a hospital in the Gaza Strip on July 18, 2014.

Above: wounded Palestinian baby, July 2014; a coherent response is needed

This response to the present horror in Gaza is a little confusing:

BDS (total boycott of all things – and people – Israeli) activist Haim Bresheeth appears to be heavily involved in an appeal, also involving Noam Chomsky, which quite rightly, calls on Israeli academics to speak out against the bombardment and siege of Gaza:

How does this fit with his and others’ desire for a boycott? The appeal is signed by at least one SWP’er (Mick Cushman, assuming he’s still a member) and also by leading boycotter and Hamas apologist Ilan Pappé.

An account of the difficulties of getting Israeli signatures (written by a supporter of Pappé) is linked to, but criticised for being “too dismissive of the Israeli reaction.”

The actual statement has so far been signed by about 40 Israeli academics and is a clear call for a negotiated settlement and peace agreement that will end the occupation and settlements. Unless anyone tries to interpret this as a voluntary liquidation of Israel it can only be a call for a two state solution.

It says:

The signatories to this statement, all academics at Israeli universities, wish it to be known that they utterly deplore the aggressive military strategy being deployed by the Israeli government. The slaughter of large numbers of wholly innocent people, is placing yet more barriers of blood in the way of the negotiated agreement which is the only alternative to the occupation and endless oppression of the Palestinian people. Israel must agree to an immediate cease-fire, and start negotiating in good faith for the end of the occupation and settlements, through a just peace agreement.

So the BDS movement (SWP included) is calling for action, from people they say should not be engaged with in any way, advocating support for two states and laying into Pappé’s supporters for being unduly cynical about it.

Can anyone explain the logic behind this?

H/t: Comrade Pete


  1. Boycott Israeli academics – but ask for their support on Gaza? | OzHouse said,

    […] Jul 19 2014 by admin […]

  2. Andrew Coates said,

    Obviously the academics should join the boycott by cutting off all contact with themselves.

  3. rebeccalesses said,

    I’m an American academic, and I oppose the war in Gaza, but there is no chance in hell that I would ever sign anything proposed by Bresheeth and his putrid comrades. I don’t see why any Israeli academics would want to go along with him either.

  4. With 'lefties' like these - who needs fascists? said,

    I’m going to read the Chomsky article against BDS – at least I’m confident he would actually like to see justice for the Palestinians.

    The questions posited by the article seems to me so childishly disingenuous it’s barely worth commenting on. That said, there’s only so many hours in the day and, to be frank, I haven’t had time to read it properly. That said, my immediate feeling is that any Israeli academic who’s genuinely interested in justice for the Palestinians will forego the pleasure of the occasional overseas speaking tour – or maybe I’m missing something (?)

    How telling that the only post I’ve seen SS post about the current ‘situation’ in Gaza is an attack on those who actually want to do s’thing to make the Israelis serious about peace i.e. the ‘dreaded’ ‘antiSemitic’ BDS campaigners,

    Btw a quick question for Jim Denham and anyone else on the ‘Trotskyist Friends of Israel’ payroll – joke 🙂

    1 So sanctions didn’t play any part in the end of Apartheid in South Africa (?) Does that mean Mr Denham and co would have lined up with the likes of Thatcher and Reagan in opposing the imposition of sanctions against South Africa in the 1980s along the lines that ‘sanctions don’t work’!

    2 I presume that although I would guess the likes of AWL have your differences with the likes of Obama, Cameron etc, you would credit them with intelligence, if not conscience. If sanctions don’t work, why are, and were, they imposed against Iraq and Iran. In other words Camerana are evil barstards, but stupid they ain’t. So sanctions still don’t work?

    Genuinely interested in your answers to my, probably ‘banal’ questions.

    The man from T.A.M.A.M. 🙂

    • Jim Denham said,

      1/ Don’t be so silly

      2/ Bourgeois politicians have their own reasons for doing things. We have ours.

      • Erm, I don't think you really answered my question said,

        Hi Jim,

        I know that you think my posts and questions are banal etc, and particularly in the case of the ones sent after too many ciders, you may well have a point, but both were serious questions and you must be aware that your answers are a long way from satisfactory.


        The man from T.A.M.A.M

    • Zionism is not Racism said,

      I think it’s probably your lazy and ignorant comparison between Israel and South Africa – that and your calling Mr Denham a “fascist”, which is even more infantile – which has led to you receiving less than the detailed and serious reply you (laughably) expected.

      • Ignorant belligerence may or may not be ''fascist' but it's pretty damn lazy! said,

        Oh contraire. Perhaps the word ‘fascist’ was OTT but his belligerent support for Zionism, which is on your planet ‘not racism’, prompted it.

        This is about simple irrefutable logic my ‘friend’.

        1 The fact that I used the username ‘with lefties like these….’ didn’t stop him responding the first time. Admittedly though he was, and seemingly is, either unable or unwilling to answer the questions.

        2 Anyone who takes the time to objectively look at the treatment of the Palestinians with an open-mind and looking at the facts, rather than the propaganda, tends to see that the major difference between their situation and that of the black South Africans under apartheid is that the situation of the Palestinians is considerably worse, for obvious reasons that at least the black South Africans were not surrounded by a wall and bombed and blockaded and deliberately deprived of basics like running water following ‘terrorist attacks’ to which the sufferers of this barbarism were not a party.

        3 Thus, it is not that ‘I’ am making a lazy comparison between, given that this point has been made by, for example, Alice Walker, Desmond Tutu as other terrorist types such as Jimmy Carter and even John fxxxcking Kerry. It’s not a case of making a lazy comparison, it’s a statement of the bleedin’ obvious. This is why the South Africa and Zionist apartheid regime were so inexorably linked and the former had to ask the latter how they managed to ‘get away with it’ propaganda-wise. This is all well-documented btw. It’s not just a ‘lazy comparison’.

        4 While points 2 and 3 are important, even if my initial question is based upon a ‘lazy comparison’, whether the Zionist and South African regimes are comparable is irrelevant to the following questions which I’ll ask again in the hope of receiving a somewhat more considered and less ‘lazy’ answer.

        – A. Mr Denham has argued that the imposition of sanctions made little or no contribution to the fall of South African apartheid. Therefore, would he have been arguing with Ronald Reagan and Thatcher etc that they should not be imposed because they ‘do not work’.

        – B. Would he, or you also argue that sanctions ‘do not/did not work’ in the case of their recent imposition against e.g. Iran/Iraq. This is not a loaded question btw. It simply requires an answer. I’m genuinely interested in your or his opinion on this matter.

        What is ‘lazy’ is your attempt to fudge the issue and claim that my questions come from ignorance. It strikes me that you guys are to ‘ignorant’ to form a cogent answer.

        Hoping for some considerably less ‘lazy’ answers to some simple questions.

        Btw, to anyone who seeks to ridicule any semantic errors in this post, I wasn’t aware that ‘Socialists’ had to have on Oxbridge education……

        Wake up, smell the coffee and stop being so ‘lazy’.


      • Zionism may or may not be racism, depending on how lazily it's defined, but it sure as hell ain't Socialism, Shiraz or otherwise said,

        More or less, ‘nough said…….

    • Zionism is not Racism said,

      (Sigh) Okay, if you absolutely insist:

      1.) I think he’s unwilling…still, never having met the man or had a conversation with him I’ve no idea. Not really that interested. Just think your calling him a “fascist” was adolescent and silly. Don’t you feel just a tiny bit ashamed of bandying about the term “fascist” like that? Assuming you’re under 21 years old I’ll let it drop.

      2.) No, the main differences between South Africa and Israel are these: firstly, white SAers were not a people who had just been decimated all over Europe in huge quantities, following 2000 years of mass murder, torture, forced conversion and exclusion from society. Nor were they returning to a place where they had maintained a presence for thousands of years. Nor did they endure decades of their neighbours launching attacks on their citizens.
      Secondly it is utterly absurd to compare the positions of Arabs within Israel to black South Africans. Did Apartheid SA have black high court judges? Did it have black generals in the army? Did it allow black people access to universities, to important jobs, to stand in parliament? Of course not, but Israeli Arabs certainly occupy these positions. To discuss “apartheid” in the West Bank may be disingenuos but not totally ridiculous – to call Israel itself “apartheid” or compare it to SA is ludicrous and betrays a total lack of understanding about the place. Israel is the ONLY country in the Middle East which DOESN’T have an apartheid system. Any future Palestinian state however will exclude Jews entirely. That has been established by the PA (Hamas, as you know, have no interest in any Jews being allowed to live anywhere in the Middle East, or anywhere else for that matter).

      Incidentally the Wall was constructed as a defence against suicide bombers. Prior to its construction Israel entertained around 90 such attacks per year. It now has none. Perhaps one way of getting rid of the wall would be for the PA to guarantee an end to these sort of attacks…but that’s not something you’ll be requesting any time soon, is it?

      3.) Alice Walker is suffering from dementia, to the point where she believes David Icke to be a wise and intelligent man whose beliefs regarding giant lizards and their path to world dominance are truthful and important. She also shares Icke’s rabid, David Duke-approved “antizionism”. Have a read of some of her recent interviews and tell me she’s sane and rational.
      Also, I love the way so many on the Left (or rather, those who believe themselves to be on the Left) are scathing of religion and religious leaders excelpt when they happen to make inflammatory pronouncements about Israel. Archbishop Desmond has as much relevance to me as any other religious leader, i.e. none at all.
      Jimmy Cater? I mean, f**k off…

      4.) I don’t believe in sanctions against anyone. No, I don’t believe they were responsible for the downfall of apartheid, nor do I believe that the downfall of apartheid has made any significant improvement to the lives of Black SAers. It was a hateful system that urgently needed removing, but getting rid of it wasn’t nearly enough in itself and it’s high time the so-called Left stopped congratulating themselves on its abolition and started doing something to help this poor, wretched, violent, chaotic nation.

  5. Abtalyon said,

    The sentiments expressed in the statement might conceivably be acceptable but for the fact that there is no mention of the attempted slaughter of innocent Israelis by an aggressive Hamas that rejected a ceasefire proposed by Egypt a few days ago. One usually expects academics to exercise a minimal amount of logic but clearly not in this instance.

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