Wednesday, June 04, 2008

More Academic Fascism: Ideological Litmus Test on Israel

From the Spectator:
Today, the Universities and Colleges Union is discussing whether universities should single out Israeli and Jewish scholars for active discrimination.

Yes, you read that correctly. The UCU is debating a motion which not only raises the spectre yet again of an academic boycott of Israel but demands of Jewish and Israeli academics that they explain their politics as a pre-condition to normal academic contact. The motion asks colleagues
to consider the moral and political implications of educational links with Israeli institutions, and to discuss the occupation with individuals and institutions concerned, including Israeli colleagues with whom they are collaborating . . . the testimonies will be used to promote a wide discussion by colleagues of the appropriateness of continued educational links with Israeli academic institutions. . . Ariel College, an explicitly colonising institution in the West Bank, be investigated under the formal Greylisting Procedure.
The implication is that, if they don’t condemn Israel for the ‘occupation’, or practising ‘apartheid’, ‘genocide’ or any of the other manufactured crimes laid at Israel’s door by the Palestinian/Islamist/neonazi/leftwing axis, they won’t be able to work. Their continued employment will depend on their holding views which are permitted.

What makes it all the more appalling is that it is Israelis and Jews alone who are being singled out for this treatment. No other group is to be barred from academic activity unless they hold ‘approved’ views; no state-run educational institution controlled by any of the world’s numerous tyrannies is to be ‘grey-listed’.
Why Israel should be the bete noir of leftist academics is a bit of an intellectual puzzle.

Perhaps it is because Israel is a democracy, and leftist academics instinctively prefer dictatorships and anti-democratic forces -- leftist ones preferably but right-wing ones in a pinch. Maybe it’s because Israel is an ally of the United States, and thus we have anti-Americanism displaced onto the Jewish state.

Maybe it is because the Jews have committed the sin — both of western societies and in the state of Israel — of succeeding. Thus like Asians (who are derided by politically correct types as the “model minority”) they have failed to play the proper role of a victim group.

Whatever the cause, a bunch of leftist academics who thought maintaining scholarly intercourse with academics in Communist countries was a mark of their enlightenment wants to isolate and stigmatize Israel.

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