British Academics: Attacking Israel, Siding With the Terrorists
BBC reporter Alan Johnston has been held since March 26 by a terrorist group in Gaza, where he had been the last international journalist to keep living and working. He appeared last Thursday in a video wearing an orange sweatshirt and reading a prepared statement. Meanwhile British soldiers are under attack by Muslim and Arab terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq, and fifteen British sailors were recently kidnapped and held in harsh conditions for two weeks by Iran.In this, leftist academics are following in the footsteps of (for example) the leftist World Council of Churches. And leftist activists and bureaucrats on the Marquette campus.
Closer to home, a survey found one-quarter of British Muslims expressing sympathy for the London bombers of July 7, 2005, and British intelligence estimates that about 16,000 of them are capable of carrying out such attacks themselves. Indeed, last August 11 the left-wing Guardian reported that British Muslim “suicide bombers were within days of blowing up 12 passenger jets above five US cities in an unprecedented terrorist attack designed to commit [quoting intelligence sources] ‘mass murder on an unimaginable scale.’”
Yet Britain’s University and College Union, made up of university academics, as well as other groups have figured out who their real enemies are . . . the Jews.
Last Wednesday, the UCU voted 158-99 to “circulate the full text of the Palestinian boycott call to all branches” and to “encourage members to consider the moral implications of existing and proposed links with Israeli academic institutions.” British journalists’, doctors’, and architects’ unions have also recently proposed boycotts of Israel, the Anglican Church has decided to divest from companies cooperating with it, and later this month UNISON, Britain’s largest trade union, is to vote on cutting economic ties with the Jewish state.
The UCU’s resolution “notes that Israel’s 40-year occupation has seriously damaged the fabric of Palestinian society through annexation, illegal settlement, collective punishment and restriction of movement” and “deplores the denial of educational rights for Palestinians by invasions, closures, checkpoints, curfews, and shootings and arrests of teachers, lecturers and students.” It also “condemns the complicity of Israeli academia in the occupation, which has provoked a call from Palestinian trade unions for a comprehensive and consistent international boycott of all Israeli academic institutions.”
The resolution does not include a single mention of: Palestinian terrorism against Israel; Israel’s total withdrawal from Gaza including the destruction of decades-old Israeli villages and even the exhuming of all Israeli graves; the 1993 Oslo agreement and Israel’s transfer of civil administration in the West Bank (and Gaza) to a Palestinian government that Israel created; Israel’s 2000 offer of full statehood to the Palestinians; or the fact that all universities now existing in the West Bank and Gaza have been established since Israel took control of these territories in 1967.
The UCU does, however, call for “organis[ing] a UK-wide campus tour for Palestinian academic/educational trade unionists” and “actively encourage[s] . . . branches to create direct educational links with Palestinian educational institutions and to help set up nationally sponsored programmes for teacher exchanges, sabbatical placements and research.” It does so at a time when the Palestinian Authority is ruled by a popularly elected government of Hamas, which is officially defined as a terrorist organization by the European Union, proudly claims credit for rocket attacks on civilians, and whose charter openly calls for Israel’s destruction and the killing of all Jews.
The UCU resolution, however, states that “passivity or neutrality is unacceptable and criticism of Israel cannot be construed as anti-semitic.”
No, perish the thought. Apart from the evasive use of “criticism”—what is at stake is not criticism, but boycotts—it is of course not anti-Semitic to make Israel the sole and obsessive focus of efforts at condemnation and excommunication by academics, journalists, doctors, architects, clergy, and ordinary workers at a time of ongoing genocide in Sudan and constant severe human rights abuses in the likes of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and the Palestinian Authority itself—to go no further than the Muslim Middle East.
Is this anti-Semitism, or not?
There might well be some traces of the ancient hatred of Jews in the actions of some of these folks, but we don’t think that is the mail impetus.
Rather, Israel is an ally of the West, and particularly of the United States.
So what we have is not anti-Semitism, but rather anti-Americanism and even hostility to free and democratic societies.
But is that any better than just hating Jews? In today’s world, it pretty much comes down to the same thing.