Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Anti-Semites in Academia

Richard Cohen wrote today about a British Association of University Teachers boycott against two Israeli universities. Their outrage is directed at Bar-Ilan University and the University of Haifa. The sin of the former is its association with the College of Judea and Samaria, which is in the West Bank settlement of Ariel. The latter committed the offense of rejecting a student paper alleging an Israeli massacre of Palestinians during the 1948 war. The paper was rejected not because of its content but because the information it was based on was invented and distorted. Cohen concluded:

The trouble with the boycott movement -- the trouble with most such movements directed at Israel -- is not that they are constructed out of whole cloth but rather that they seem fueled by an indignation that applies to Israel and almost nowhere else. The word "apartheid" -- used by those urging the boycott -- is flung in Israel's face. Yet Israel is nothing like the South Africa of old. Ethiopian Jews, who are black, are not deprived of the vote or forced to live in townships. Arab Israelis elect representatives to the parliament. This is hardly apartheid. In fact, the people who label it so trivialize that loathsome practice and smugly refuse to recognize the historical forces -- periodic war, incessant terrorism -- that have helped cause the ethnic separations that now exist. What is being boycotted is common sense itself.

Let's call this what it is: anti-Semitism. The sad reality is that more and more we find this disease hiding in academia, whether in the U.S. or Britain or elsewhere, among predominantly liberal, educated people who should know better. When did anti-Semitism become a line-item in the liberal worldview? And how does anti-Semitism ever die the death it so richly deserves when leading intellectuals in respected universities pass it on to students who respect them and their ideas? This is one of the great moral failings of our age.

16 Comments:

Anonymous AHS MilBlogger said...

While I cannot relate to it, I can at least understand where racism comes from. It is basically derived from someone who is clearly different. But, anti-semitism? What is that all about? You can't just look at someone and tell that he is Jewish, unless he is wearing a yamika. And what is the rub? I don't get it. Is it just because the Jews and Arabs are enemies and the Arabs are the more socialist of the two, so liberals side with them?

2:58 PM, May 24, 2005  
Anonymous Jadegold said...

Given the fact Jewish-Americans vote for the Dems over the GOP by about a 3-1 margin, we can only surmise AHS is smoking crack.

WRT to Cohen's op/ed, the "invented and distorted" massacre he obliquely refers to is the Deir Yassin massacre where Irgun and Stern gang paramilitaries attacked a town of noncombatants and virtually wiped it out. That the massacre took place is beyond dispute--the only real points of contention are why the attack took place and the greater effect of the massacre on Arab-Israeli relations.

Telling the truth isn't anti-semitism but distortion of history is Orwellian.

5:28 PM, May 24, 2005  
Blogger Tom Carter said...

Deir Yassin? What's your next trick, Jadegold? Quoting The Protocols of the Elders of Zion?

In any case, according to Cohen's account, the paper was rejected because of problems with the sources. Any university would be justified in rejecting a paper based on questionable or invalid sources, even if it dealt with a fact completely beyond question, such as the fact that the 911 attack actually happened. Do you have information that the sourcing problem isn't the real reason the paper was rejected, or are you relying solely on knee-jerk reactions?

6:06 PM, May 24, 2005  
Anonymous Jadegold said...

Citing an Irgun website, TC? And you accuse me of using The Protocols of the Elders of Zion?


Why not cite famed Israeli historian, Benny Morris, in
Haaretz:


Q:According to your findings, how many acts of Israeli massacre were perpetrated in 1948?

Morris: "Twenty-four. In some cases four or five people were executed, in others the numbers were 70, 80, 100. There was also a great deal of arbitrary killing. Two old men are spotted walking in a field - they are shot. A woman is found in an abandoned village - she is shot. There are cases such as the village of Dawayima [in the Hebron region], in which a column entered the village with all guns blazing and killed anything that moved.

"The worst cases were Saliha (70-80 killed), Deir Yassin (100-110), Lod (250), Dawayima (hundreds) and perhaps Abu Shusha (70). There is no unequivocal proof of a large-scale massacre at Tantura, but war crimes were perpetrated there. At Jaffa there was a massacre about which nothing had been known until now. The same at Arab al Muwassi, in the north. About half of the acts of massacre were part of Operation Hiram [in the north, in October 1948]: at Safsaf, Saliha, Jish, Eilaboun, Arab al Muwasi, Deir al Asad, Majdal Krum, Sasa. In Operation Hiram there was a unusually high concentration of executions of people against a wall or next to a well in an orderly fashion.

"That can't be chance. It's a pattern. Apparently, various officers who took part in the operation understood that the expulsion order they received permitted them to do these deeds in order to encourage the population to take to the roads. The fact is that no one was punished for these acts of murder. Ben-Gurion silenced the matter. He covered up for the officers who did the massacres."

Perhaps Morris believes in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as well.

How about Martin Buber? He wrote: "In Deir Yassin hundreds of innocent men, women and children were massacred. Let the village of Deir Yassin remain uninhabited for the time being, and let its desolation be a terrible and tragic symbol of war, and a warning to our people that no practical military needs may ever justify such acts of murder..."

Is Buber a Protocols of the Elders of Zion fan, too?

6:39 PM, May 24, 2005  
Anonymous Jadegold said...

BTW, TC--you might wish to check out your Irgun site's explanation of the bombing of the King David Hotel.

They have the audacity to say Irgun wasn't responsible.

6:56 PM, May 24, 2005  
Blogger Esther said...

Tom, thanks for once again proving how awesome you are! Great post and great comment/response!

10:25 PM, May 24, 2005  
Blogger Gindy said...

Tom: I am going to go with Esther on this one. Thanks.

5:53 PM, May 25, 2005  
Blogger MaxedOutMama said...

I am no expert on the history of Israel in the 1940's. I do know anti-Semitism when I see it. Tom is asking the right question here - why are people not willing to discuss the obvious?

So AUT feels its august academic principles require it to boycott Israeli universities. Does it boycott Palestinian universities when they teach, write and publish nonsense? Does it boycott Saudi Arabia professors, who publish learned screeds in newspapers explaining that Jews murder gentile children in order to celebrate Passover? Of course not. Nor does it feel it necessary to censure the UK Parliament for having Israel Shamir come and give a speech slandering Jews.

When you apply a different standard to two different groups, Jadegold, it is called "bigotry". That is what we are seeing here. Because bigotry against Jews has such a long and extensive history, we have a special word for it called "anti-Semitism". That is what we are seeing here.

If you feel called upon to defend it, don't expect admiration for your advanced principles from me. Your thinking is not advanced and not respectable.

11:44 PM, May 25, 2005  
Blogger Phil said...

If the boycott is anti-semitic, how come there are Jews supporting, advocating and calling for it? Wouldn't it be simpler to assume that people who appear to be motivated by opposition to the policies (and some of the founding principles) of the state of Israel are in fact motivated by... opposition to the policies (and some of the founding principles) of the state of Israel?

The 'double standard' argument is spurious: you might as well ask environmentalists why they don't also campaign against Chinese Communism. The fact that somebody denounces injustice A and not injustices B-Z doesn't make them a hypocrite, it just means they're focusing their efforts (just like the rest of us). If you want to start a campaign against Saudi Arabia, MaxedOut (may I call you Max?), go ahead - I'll support you. In the mean time, here's another angle on the AUT boycott.

4:39 AM, May 26, 2005  
Blogger Tom Carter said...

MOM, thanks. I couldn't have said it better.

Phil, all criticism of Israel isn't anti-Semitic. But some is. A good example is the UN General Assembly's vote, since rescinded, that Zionism equates to racism. When you repeat scurrilous charges such as Isrealis murdering one or two Palestinian children every day on their way to school, or when you equate the Israeli academy to the German academy in the 1930s, you put yourself pretty squarely in the anti-Semitic camp.

In all the crap and propaganda that swirls around the Arab-Israeli conflict, there is one immutable truth: When Palestinians, egged on by their wild-eyed supporters in the Muslim world, stop murdering innocent Israelis, Israel will stop defending itself. Until then, the U.S. will at the end of the day support Israel, and we damned well should.

6:22 AM, May 26, 2005  
Blogger Sigmund, Carl and Alfred said...

The AUT boycott became anti semitic the day the AUT decided to use different criteria to measure Israel than they do everyone else. China, Arab and some African countries are far worse human rights violators. To this, the AUT says nothing.

For some reason, only Israel is singled out. We're waiting for the AUT to explain that.

8:42 AM, May 26, 2005  
Anonymous Jadegold said...

When you apply a different standard to two different groups, Jadegold, it is called "bigotry".

This is a logical fallacy common to rightwing extremists seeking to excuse their own abuses and bigotry.

Put another way, it means a race to achieve the lowest common denominator. For instance, if North Korea behaves in a brutally dictatorial manner--we should be free to behave just as badly.

Essentially, that is what is being argued by TC and MaxOutMama. That any abuse or excess committed by Israel is ok so long as other countries behave equally badly or worse.

A mighty slippery slope you've elected to navigate, folks. An argument, I suspect, you wouldn't accept from your own kids if they were to say Gee, Mom, all the other kids are doing it, too!

BTW, I really believe TC owes me an apology for: 1. equating my rebuttal with The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and 2. attempting to foist an extremist website as a defense.

7:06 PM, May 26, 2005  
Blogger Tom Carter said...

Not likely, Jadegold.

7:11 PM, May 26, 2005  
Blogger Phil said...

When you repeat scurrilous charges such as Isrealis murdering one or two Palestinian children every day on their way to school, or when you equate the Israeli academy to the German academy in the 1930s, you put yourself pretty squarely in the anti-Semitic camp.

I didn't write the Ellis Sharp piece & don't agree with everything in it (the tone, not least). But I simply don't understand this argument.

It may be the case that some of the charges in Sharp's piece are untrue or exaggerated; it may be that the people making those claims were prejudiced against Israel, or opposed to the existence of the state of Israel in its current form. That doesn't make them anti-semitic - any more than my own opposition to many basic features of British political life makes me anti-British. To put it another way, if those views are anti-semitic, there are a lot of anti-semitic Jews out there - the ex-member of Irgun who signed this letter, for one.)

5:46 AM, May 27, 2005  
Blogger Tom Carter said...

Sorry, Phil. The "you" in my comment was meant to be general and referred to the Ellis Sharp piece. I should have been more clear.

6:06 AM, May 27, 2005  
Blogger Carl said...

AUT reversed itself (by a 2/3rds margin) to end their boycott--and start a cover-up. I've written it up on No Oil for Pacifists.

2:52 PM, May 28, 2005  

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