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A note about the boycott-Israel movement's latest setback, this one in the UK.

Nothing too earth-shattering, unless you like I/P stuff.

The UK's University and Colleges Union, their higher education union, has been since May creeping through a procedure for putting in place an academic boycott of Israel, in which UCU members would be encouraged to forswear working with any Israeli academic who had not been deemed sufficiently ideologically pure (through some unnamed and unknown purification mechanism). They hadn't yet called directly for a boycott, but the skids were greased to move in that direction with what was intended to be a union-financed "road show," a travelling anti-Israel Chautauqua that would wend its way from campus to campus.

Neither the union's president, Sally Hunt, nor -- by a wide margin -- the union's rank and file actually wanted such a boycott; however, a coalition of activists on the executive council forced the issue. The same group blocked calls for a vote of their own rank and file, because they knew they'd lose.

In June in the US, Lee Bollinger -- the guy who's now famous for telling Mahmood Ahmadinejad that the truth has a well-known anti-Ahmadinejad bias -- issued a statement saying, "If you boycott Israeli universities, you'll have to boycott us (i.e. Columbia) too." By August, over three hundred presidents of US universities and colleges had signed that statement; there was a full-page ad in the New York Times (don't know how much they paid for it, but that's a different story).

Today, UCU's legal counsel weighed in with an unambiguous legal opinion: such an academic boycott would be against UK anti-discrimination law and can't be implemented. The union's strategy and finance committee has put out the word: the academic boycott of Israeli universities and academics is permanently what they'd call "tabled" and what we'd call "off the table."

The anti-Israel boycott/divestment/sanctions movement in the US went off like a damp firecracker in about 2003, hit a brick wall immediately, and hasn't been heard from since; failing in the universities, they moved on to the corporations; they failed with the corporations (four years of anti-Caterpillar activism later, Cat stock had doubled in value), so they moved on to the churches; they've failed in the churches (perhaps because they had Norman Finkelstein do the talking, never the best thing). We saw them try in DailyKos, and they failed here too. And their giganto-humongo-mega-march and rally on the Capital lawn this June, on the 40th anniversary of the occupation of the West Bank, turned into a expensive and humiliating micro-event, mostly (I'd speculate) due to their failure to explicitly support the two-state solution, thereby causing most friendly critics of Israel to give it a pass rather than risk attending only to find out they were expected to march elbow-to-elbow with "Hurrah for Hezbollah" types.

In the UK, conversely, the movement is more prominent and has had a few temporary successes, the most notable being within the AUT (Association of University Teachers), predecessor to the recently reconstituted UCU. The AUT congress in 2005 voted for a boycott of two Israeli universities; the rank and file rose up in anger and dismay, called via union rules for a special session, and the boycott was overturned only a month later, before it could be implemented. Recently the AUT merged with another union, NATFHE, and in their new incarnation as the UCU proceeded to make the same mistake -- letting a small group of activists set a divisive policy the rank and file did not approve of.

What's a particularly interesting development in the UK, though, is that a few days ago -- before the UCU's decision -- the Socialist Workers Party, a revolutionary socialist party that had been in the placard-waving lead of the boycott movement, made a 180-degree turn and said that it would no longer be calling for an academic boycott.

They gave a handful of reasons -- that the left wasn't unified behind it (even Noam Chomsky, the CEO of Israel-Is-Always-Wrong Industries, opposed it), that the divisive battle was badly hurting the union, and that if everything came to a vote, The Evil and Well-Funded Zionist Machine would simply overwhelm them with its octopus tentacles.

If the radical left is starting to pull their energies out of the boycott/divestment/sanctions movement in pretty much the only area they've had anything that even remotely temporarily looked like temporary success -- the bit with academic boycotts -- then maybe what took only months in the US is finally starting to happen now in the UK: maybe that's the sound of a movement hitting a brick wall.

You can argue -- you can certainly argue, in cases like the calculating George Galloway -- that the emphasis of some figures on the UK left on trying to out-anti-Israel each other is in part a political equation. When Galloway in 2003 or so first set up the party that took him to Parliament, RESPECT, it aimed at forming a coalition between two disparate groups, socialists and Muslims. The points of unification were opposition to the war in Iraq and to anything Israel does. As you might expect, it was a marriage of not much convenience -- as Marxists asked themselves what they were doing supporting fundamentalist theocrats of the women-must-be-veiled variety and vice versa -- and the rest of the story hasn't been uplifting. (And that was before George Galloway went on "Celebrity Big Brother," but that's another story.)

It could be that the leftists of the UK are learning that being vociferously anti-Israel isn't an effective platform in itself, and that it fails as an effective rallying point to garner the Muslim vote. If true, I'd expect them to begin to look elsewhere for the next galvanizing issue du jour. God knows there are enough possibilities to choose from.

Originally posted to zemblan on Fri Sep 28, 2007 at 03:02 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  tip jar (24+ / 0-)

    for wonks.

    If Venus is made of ketchup and lions play pinochle, why doesn't the framistan frizzmaz the flomaton?

    by zemblan on Fri Sep 28, 2007 at 02:55:40 PM PDT

  •  Knowledge and politics don't mix (12+ / 0-)

    Nor should they.

    An avidity to punish is always dangerous to liberty. It leads men to stretch, to misinterpret, and to misapply even the best of laws. -- T. Paine (-6.25, -7.18)

    by DH from MD on Fri Sep 28, 2007 at 02:57:48 PM PDT

    •  huh? (0+ / 0-)

      We boycott just about everybody we don't like academically.

      It is time to consider Israel occupation the same as South Africa apartheid regime.

      The main point of US boycott of course is weapons, massive amount of free money and technology transfer.

      Israel will not be able to keep up its military aggression without US trade.

      Use Tor and PGP on the net. (google it)

      by fugue on Fri Sep 28, 2007 at 03:15:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Who do we boycott academically? (11+ / 0-)

        I would say that all academic boycotts are stupid, even against apartheid South Africa.  

        The exception would be conferences that involve weapons and so on.  

      •  Uh, no (9+ / 0-)

        We boycott just about everybody we don't like academically.

        The Bush administration makes it harder for scholars of some nations to attend conferences here, which is reprehensible. But that is not a policy of American academia or the AAUP, the American Association of University Professors.

        The rest of your stuff isn't worth replying to.

        If Venus is made of ketchup and lions play pinochle, why doesn't the framistan frizzmaz the flomaton?

        by zemblan on Fri Sep 28, 2007 at 03:22:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Collective punishment? (22+ / 0-)

        The Israeli academy is the sector of Israeli society that is most vocally critical of Israeli policy toward the Palestinians. An academic boycott punishes those people who are our best hope for sane policy.

        Academic boycotts are also contrary to the most fundamental tenets of scholarship. The free and open exchange of ideas doesn't stop at the border of a country you don't like.

        Nor should it.

        •  what? (0+ / 0-)

          you are against collective punishment now? I don't see you crying when Israel starts bombing everybody or locking the ghetto, because it feels hurt.

          Most fundamental tenet of scholarship is humanity and asking "why".  Obviously these things either don't exist in Israel or has zero effect since same things keep happening.

          Here is a question:

          1. do you think Israel is a military regime or not? (ie. is there such thing as free election outside pre determine military leaders) If not, how come it has only rightwing military leaders?
          1. if so, what is the structure that prop such power elite? Isn't it time to dismantle them? Or at least Not supporting a system that keep killing people.
          1. More importantly: a personal question to you.: Is what Israel doing is right or wrong. Do you support it? What concrete step can you take? Are you informing yourself honestly?

          Remember this is not some cute philo 101 question. People are dead by the thousands.

          Use Tor and PGP on the net. (google it)

          by fugue on Fri Sep 28, 2007 at 03:37:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oh, you don't see me crying? (15+ / 0-)

            How would you know what I do? How many times have I written here about how much I disagree with Israel's policies toward the Palestinians? I don't talk much about what specifically I do here because folks like you have a tendency to jump to conclusions like the ones you just made, and I have neither the patience nor the desire to deal with such nonsense.

            But since it seems you don't care about that fact and you just want to rely on straw men to attack me, how about this: aren't you a hypocrite if you don't also demand an academic boycott against the US for the Iraq war? Against Zimbabwe for Mugabe's policies? Against North Korea for violating human rights left and right? Against Myanmar for denying that human rights exist in the first place? Against Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, and a few dozen other countries for their policies of putting to death LGBT folks? Against Russia for Putin's return to Soviet-style repression? I could go on...

            And aren't you a hypocrite if you are opposed to collective punishment against the Palestinians, almost none of whom have done anything to deserve any punishment at all, but you favor it against Israeli academics, almost none of whom have done anything to deserve any punishment at all?

            •  Let's go further (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              arielle, wiscmass, MBNYC, GoldnI

              let's all boycott everyone who does anything bad!  

              Oh wait..... then we'd all be alone.  

            •  Boycott them all... (0+ / 0-)

              unless there's no cause.

              aren't you a hypocrite if you don't also demand an academic boycott against the US for the Iraq war? Against Zimbabwe for Mugabe's policies? Against North Korea for violating human rights left and right? Against Myanmar for denying that human rights exist in the first place? Against Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, and a few dozen other countries for their policies of putting to death LGBT folks? Against Russia for Putin's return to Soviet-style repression?

              The U.S.? What I can I say?

              "Yeah, yeah, yeah...we killed or caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands possibly in the million of Iraqis. And if it wasn't for us, a coupla millions of them wouldn't be sittin' as refugees in countries that don't want you. Hell, we don't want you. And yes, we detain the innocent and the child. Okay, okay. Some of them are tortured and raped. And too, we are seriously considering a Round Three. But boycott? That's extreme. It isn't fair. Don't you see that this is collective punishment against Americans. No American dies, of course, but still. It's the principle. This boycott would be a grave hardship for us. Dammit, there's a conference coming up soon. We're told pastries are being catered. Pastries for God's sake!! But, most of all, no one will know how intelligent we think we are."

              Man, the level of outrage regarding this boycott is frankly, ridiculous. And that this boycott is actually described as 'collective punishment' is doubly so.

              The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world She didn't exist.

              by callmecassandra on Fri Sep 28, 2007 at 08:21:18 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Let's put it this way (0+ / 0-)

              Israel is so depended on US money and military technology, they can't even win a war against hezbollah 20 miles out of the border on their own feet.

              And you want to talk about 25% of military budget and almost all of advance military hardware?

              gimme a break. Israel won't exist longer than 8 years without US money.

              Nevermind Syria and Iran, Israel won't be able to win war against Jordanian army if they have a border war.

              Use Tor and PGP on the net. (google it)

              by fugue on Sat Sep 29, 2007 at 11:27:45 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  So your pipe dream now is (0+ / 0-)

                that the US is going to stop supporting Israel?

                Given the broad, deep, and long-lasting support for Israel among the American people, you might think twice about holding your breath on that one.

                If Venus is made of ketchup and lions play pinochle, why doesn't the framistan frizzmaz the flomaton?

                by zemblan on Sat Sep 29, 2007 at 11:32:44 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  I don't believe in boycotts (7+ / 0-)

        that interfere with the right of people to talk to each other. It's profoundly in opposition to any concept of enlightenment and I am glad to hear that this did not succeed. One does not need to be on one side or the other in the Israel- Palestine conflict to recognize that victimizing individual academics for the situation is wrong. By the same token, I would defend the right of any Palestinian to be free to travel anywhere in pursuit of the same thing. I am reminded that British scientists and philosophers traveled freely to Paris at the height of the Napoleonic Wars to present papers and to meet with their colleagues. We must have advanced a little in 200 years, surely?

        Ambition is when you follow your dreams. Insanity is when they follow you.

        by Batfish on Fri Sep 28, 2007 at 03:56:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  boycott (0+ / 0-)

          The essence of boycott is:

          You don't help/be an accomplice to somebody else crime.

          If what we do help sustaining what Israel is doing. (lots of people die, suffers) Then we are in it.

          Use Tor and PGP on the net. (google it)

          by fugue on Fri Sep 28, 2007 at 04:02:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's your problem. (0+ / 0-)

            Most here, and elsewhere, don't "boycott" anything.

          •  Well you could look at it the other way (0+ / 0-)

            Boycotting Israeli academics would help the Palestinians who have also murdered innocent people for many years. If you are opposed to murder and oppression, you should noot do anything to help either side.

            Ambition is when you follow your dreams. Insanity is when they follow you.

            by Batfish on Sat Sep 29, 2007 at 09:04:49 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  spare me the fake talk. (0+ / 0-)

              oh what a crock. stop the fake tear. Nobody buys your concern about "palestinian"

              here is why academic boycott is important:

              1. data. That means Israel cannot easily get a whole lot of academic data and how to interpret them (anything from sociology, electronics, all the way to nuclear and biochemicals. Let alone industrial processes.)

              Israel have to generate all those data and expertise to interpret them alone.

              1. Equipments. No more access to world class academic equipments. How many electron microscope that Israel has? (that's just basic, we are not talking about accelerator or world class equipments)
              1. That means no more money for Israel university, followed by industry.

              All this must be sustained until Israel seeks peaceful solution.

              Use Tor and PGP on the net. (google it)

              by fugue on Sat Sep 29, 2007 at 10:51:01 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  The academic boycott is dead. Get used to it. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                livosh1

                No point in regurgitating the talking points in support of a policy that turns out to have been illegal anyway. Not just illegal, but futile.

                Since there was never any danger of the US participating in any academic boycott, there was no reason to expect Israel to have been shut out from acquiring any research data. Same with high-tech equipment; in order for your pipe dream to work out, you have to presume that the US would go along with the boycott, which is your basic snowball's chance in hell.

                The South Africa analogy fails. It fails as fact, and it fails as strategy. The sooner you stop chasing after it, the sooner you can start helping, rather than hindring, peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

                If Venus is made of ketchup and lions play pinochle, why doesn't the framistan frizzmaz the flomaton?

                by zemblan on Sat Sep 29, 2007 at 11:05:50 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  It hasn't even begun yet (0+ / 0-)

                  current Israel strategy:

                  1. thuggery. slam everybody that talks about any peaceful boycott. (cause they know if it gets started, they gonna get hurt bad.)  So if you observe, it's all over the place, pressuring people, letters, money power, etc. etc.  Give it time, the bad behavior will catches up sooner or later as academias simply sick getting pushed around by Israel rightwing thugs.Try shutting up everybody.
                  1. second. Trivialization. (Oh it's just academic. it really doesn't matter, it won't work. can we move on please)

                  .. I am here to informed you, you can only sustain unjust act so far. Before the backlash hit you bad.

                  You have to push the world ever harder, until one day everybody say enough.

                  You have to start killing everybody and use force to  hold what you are doing.

                  Use Tor and PGP on the net. (google it)

                  by fugue on Sat Sep 29, 2007 at 11:18:31 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Current Israel strategy: (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    arielle

                    Watch attempt after attempt at boycott fall to pieces like a facial tissue in the rain.

                    Then watch tough-talking tough-talkers talk toughly about how next time's a-gonna be different.

                    Then repeat step one.

                    If Venus is made of ketchup and lions play pinochle, why doesn't the framistan frizzmaz the flomaton?

                    by zemblan on Sat Sep 29, 2007 at 11:25:47 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Israel == South Africa (0+ / 0-)

                  just because you try to deny it doesn't mean it is not  happening.

                  How are those "fences" going? Road blocks?

                  Use Tor and PGP on the net. (google it)

                  by fugue on Sat Sep 29, 2007 at 11:20:28 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Well, actually, you're right in the sense (0+ / 0-)

                that I think both sidesz are wrong, and both sides can go fuck themselves. I was really making the argument that you can spin it both ways, unless of course you are bigoted.

                Ambition is when you follow your dreams. Insanity is when they follow you.

                by Batfish on Sat Sep 29, 2007 at 11:18:04 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  Good... (12+ / 0-)

    ....this was always a terrible idea.  Not that protesting Israel is a terrible idea, just the notion of an academic boycott.

    The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

    by Jay Elias on Fri Sep 28, 2007 at 02:57:55 PM PDT

    •  The Only Academic Boycott I Support (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dufffbeer, MBNYC, LynneK

      Is of non-academic ideologues who claim academic status.

      Israel does not fit under that premise; so I never supported it.

      With that said, in some cases academic boycotts are legit; like with apartheid era South Africa.

      Physicist Wolfgang Pauli upon reading a paper: "This isn't right, this isn't even wrong."

      by ChapiNation386 on Fri Sep 28, 2007 at 03:06:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  ? (0+ / 0-)

        We boycott everybody in South Africa, including athletes.

        They eventually collapses and change their way.

        Use Tor and PGP on the net. (google it)

        by fugue on Fri Sep 28, 2007 at 03:16:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  South Africa collapsed (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Batfish, GoldnI, zemblan, echatwa

          because of internal problems.

          How long did we boycott?  
          Is there any evidence that the boycott brought about the collapse?

          •  The Athletic and Academic Boycott (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            corvo, word is bond, plf515, zemblan

            Didn't work; but the other external pressures had some effects.

            Physicist Wolfgang Pauli upon reading a paper: "This isn't right, this isn't even wrong."

            by ChapiNation386 on Fri Sep 28, 2007 at 03:27:42 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Exactly-- (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Rusty Pipes, plf515, zemblan

            somehow lots of diamonds and gold managed to find their way out of South Africa despite the awfully porous boycott.  And somehow large amounts of cash went into South Africa at the same time.

            •  Israel (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              corvo, Eiron, Lib Dem FoP

              Yeah wonder of all wonder why Israel and South Africa was such tight buddies during apartheid era.

              READ history! (see how much, specially nuclear technology was flowing in and out)

              ever wonder where Israel get their uranium? or where south africa gets their nuclear and biochem weapons?

              (It's the same criminals running around in the scene)

              http://www.guardian.co.uk/...

              Going nuclear
              The biggest secret of all was the nuclear one. Israel provided expertise and technology that was central to South Africa's development of its nuclear bombs. Israel was embarrassed enough about its close association with a political movement rooted in racial ideology to keep the military collaboration hidden.

              "All that I'm telling you was completely secret," says Liel. "The knowledge of it was extremely limited to a small number of people outside the security establishment. But it so happened that many of our prime ministers were part of it, so if you take people such as [Shimon] Peres or Rabin, certainly they knew about it because they were part of the security establishment.

              "At the UN we kept saying: we are against apartheid, as Jewish people who suffered from the Holocaust this is intolerable. But our security establishment kept cooperating."

              So did many politicians. Israeli cities found twins in South Africa, and Israel was alone among western nations in allowing the black homeland of Bophuthatswana to open an "embassy".

              --------
              Now watch hits latest Israel trick. (ie. it has relevancy with academic freedom, nuclear transfer, etc)

              http://uk.reuters.com/...

              Israel has asked nuclear exporters to consider adjusting non-proliferation rules to help it build safe civilian atomic plants, a senior official said.

              Some diplomats in Vienna, headquarters of the U.N. atomic watchdog, said Israel recently approached the Nuclear Suppliers Group about a possible exemption from NSG technology controls, like that sought by Washington for an accord with India.

              Such a waiver could raise a storm in the Middle East where Israel's Arab neighbours and Iran have long condemned its presumed regional monopoly in nuclear arms, never confirmed or denied, and its shunning of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

              The senior Israeli official denied Israel had sought any waiver, but said the Jewish state had asked for criteria-based changes in rules to help non-NPT states acquire less sensitive technology for expanding safe use of atomic energy.

              Use Tor and PGP on the net. (google it)

              by fugue on Fri Sep 28, 2007 at 03:46:55 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Who is supplying weapons to apartheid regime (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              corvo, Lib Dem FoP

              http://en.wikipedia.org/...

              Israel relations with post-apartheid South Africa

              Former ANC leader Nelson Mandela first visited Israel in 1999. Mandela said: "To the many people who have questioned why I came, I say: Israel worked very closely with the apartheid regime. I say: I've made peace with many men who slaughtered our people like animals. Israel cooperated with the apartheid regime, but it did not participate in any atrocities". [17] Then Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert visited South Africa in 2004[18], meeting with South African President Thabo Mbeki, the first visit by an Israeli leader since the end of apartheid.

              http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/...

              History
              lsrael's ties with South Africa seem to be especially disturbing to many who follow Israel's international activities. Perhaps it is natural that Israel has been castigated more harshly for its arms sales to South Africa than for its sales to other countries: first, because there has been for a decade an arms embargo against South Africa; and second, because of the unsurpassed criminality of the white regime and the uses to which it puts the Israeli-supplied weapons.

              Use Tor and PGP on the net. (google it)

              by fugue on Fri Sep 28, 2007 at 03:53:01 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Axis of avarice (0+ / 0-)

              US, Iraq (oil) and Israel, were the last holdouts on the SA boycott

              Those who hear not the music-think the dancers mad

              by Eiron on Fri Sep 28, 2007 at 04:44:50 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Protesting some of Israel's actions (7+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      livosh1, Eiron, wiscmass, MBNYC, GoldnI, zemblan, echatwa

      is a good idea.  Just like protesting some of America's actions is a good idea.

      Or some of the actions of almost every other nation on the planet.  Who's pure?  Sure as hell ain't the USA, but it isn't anyone else, either; some do better than us, some are worse (Myanmar anyone? North Korea? Zimbabwe?)

  •  Then again... (1+ / 3-)
    Recommended by:
    LynneK
    Hidden by:
    arielle, condoleaser, blueness

    ...there's little need to enforce an "official" boycott since so many academics, American or European, Jewish or not, already boycott Israel as a matter of principle.

    As usual, the Zionist propaganda machine is focused on appearances. Considering the hideous reality that Israelis must live with, that's not surprising.

    Forthcoming, at the Orange Press: "Planet Marx."

    by Trotsky the Horse on Fri Sep 28, 2007 at 03:05:32 PM PDT

  •  I am opposed the boycott, but (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fugue, Rusty Pipes, corvo, echatwa

    I would point out that it is a NON-VIOLENT form of protest.

    It makes me a little queasy to get up in arms about non-violent protest when we've made it clear we don't want people who support Palestinians to go down the other road...and when it's also clear that just walking around holding signs doesn't help their cause at all.  People are looking for some way to meaningfully influence the Israelis to do what is, ironically, in their own damned best interest (removing the settlements being the most salient issue at this time), and frankly, the options are slim.  What do academics control? their own union. It's the only place they can exert any influence.

    Yes, it's the wrong boycott. But the smugness of some who jump up and down about it isn't much better.

    •  People in one country (5+ / 0-)

      have very few ways to influence the policy of people in other countries.

      It's pretty much universal, much as we might like to end Mugabe's rule, or have a different North Korea, or Myanmar...

      For that matter, we'd all like a different leadership of the USA....

    •  Here's what I'd jump up and down about (8+ / 0-)

      A pledge from the UCU to become involved more closely with both Palestinian and Israeli universities in a constructive way that encourages dialogue.

      If Venus is made of ketchup and lions play pinochle, why doesn't the framistan frizzmaz the flomaton?

      by zemblan on Fri Sep 28, 2007 at 03:18:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  that's great (0+ / 0-)

        but it won't do anymore to resolve the conflict than the boycott option.

      •  There's an idea! (10+ / 0-)

        Let's work towards positive change by involving both sides....  

        Let's increase the contacts between sensible people in all countries....

        Let's show more and more people that a) Palestinian does not equal terrorist  b) Israeli does not equal likudnik  c) American does not equal supporter of Bush!

      •  Divestment (0+ / 0-)

        would be more impactful and meaningful.  I don't agree with academic boycotts

        Those who hear not the music-think the dancers mad

        by Eiron on Fri Sep 28, 2007 at 04:38:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Campus Divestment (0+ / 0-)

          sank in 2003, pretty much before they could get their flag all the way up the mast the day they first set sail. Not the first time the South Africa analogy failed; not the last.

          If Venus is made of ketchup and lions play pinochle, why doesn't the framistan frizzmaz the flomaton?

          by zemblan on Fri Sep 28, 2007 at 04:43:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The religious orders and pension funds divestment (0+ / 0-)

            seem to be accellerating, though.  If I recall, they were bellwethers in SA divestment, campus wonks followed later..

            Those who hear not the music-think the dancers mad

            by Eiron on Fri Sep 28, 2007 at 04:49:18 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  "Seem to be" (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              MBNYC, Eric S, valion

              Yes, for example, the US Presbyterians did indeed recommend divesting from Israel. Then they thought about it -- with Stormin' Norman Finkelstein's help -- and reversed their decision at the earliest opportunity.

              Funny thing about this stuff -- the few organizations that do go for it tend to reverse themselves at the earliest opportunity.

              At any rate, I'm off for a bottle of ersatz champagne, the first one I've had since I heard Stormin' Norman had been denied tenure.

              If Venus is made of ketchup and lions play pinochle, why doesn't the framistan frizzmaz the flomaton?

              by zemblan on Fri Sep 28, 2007 at 05:04:22 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Good idea (0+ / 0-)

                better plan than confronting reality. Congrats of Finklestein victory, and Juan Cole.  That's an insidious sort of academic boycott by Campus Watch , no?

                Those who hear not the music-think the dancers mad

                by Eiron on Fri Sep 28, 2007 at 05:11:30 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  False (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Terra Mystica

                The PC(USA) did not reverse the decision of the 2004 GA: Selective Divestment was not abandoned as an option.  The Church just apologized that some people got their feelings hurt when Presbyterianese was mistranslated in the past and it made a concerted effort to write about what it was doing in a way that outsiders could understand it more clearly.  Obviously, some groups can misconstrue what the PC(USA) said even when it was trying to be clearer.

                The PC(USA) has a particular process of engaging with corporations when it wants to effect change which it has used for almost 30 years, called Constructive Engagement.  The Committee that handles investment issues is called MRTI (Mission Responsibility Through Investment).  There are several steps in the process of choosing corporations in which the PC(USA) holds stock, meeting with the execs as shareholders to express their concerns and then (if the corporations do not amend their ways) divesting from the companies.  Selective Divestment is the final step of Constructive Engagement, which has been used in several cases with different countries and industries over the decades.  The PC(USA) no longer holds shares in major weapons manufacturers because it divested from those companies in the early 80's.

                The PC(USA)'s MRTI has continued to proceed through the steps it started 3 years ago.  Five companies were selected that were considered to be profiting from the occupation.  If those companies change their practices, then there will be no need to divest.  If they do not, then the MRTI will recommend that the PC(USA) divest its shares.

                The PC(USA) has not abandoned Selective Divestment as an option.  It is just grinding through the tedious process of doing things "decently and in order."

                "Tyrone, you know how much I love watching you work, but I've got...my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder and Guilder to frame for it; I'm swamped."

                by Rusty Pipes on Sat Sep 29, 2007 at 02:53:48 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  "the retreat from divestment" (0+ / 0-)

                  Except...

                  The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted yesterday to back off from a decision it made two years ago to pursue divestment from companies that profit from Israel's involvement in the Palestinian territories.

                  The resolution, passed overwhelmingly at the church's general assembly in Birmingham, Ala., responded to outcries by some church members and Jews who accused the church of insensitivity to Israel. The resolution apologized for "the pain that this has caused" among "many members of the Jewish community and within our Presbyterian communion."

                  Church leaders said it still permitted divestment as a "last resort," but emphasized positive, not punitive, steps the church can take to support Middle East peace efforts. . . .

                  The national director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, Salam al-Marayati, invited to represent a Muslim viewpoint, said he was disappointed at the retreat from divestment, because it was a nonviolent strategy to put pressure on Israel.

                  But Mr. Marayati said of the Presbyterians, "There's still a commitment to opposing the occupation, and I think that's the most important thing."

                  If Venus is made of ketchup and lions play pinochle, why doesn't the framistan frizzmaz the flomaton?

                  by zemblan on Sat Sep 29, 2007 at 04:47:07 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The NYT is off (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Terra Mystica

                    Just because the JCPA declared "Mission Accomplished" and went home, doesn't mean they got the story straight regarding the apology:

                    The statement opens with this expression of apology:

                    We acknowledge that the actions of the 216th General Assembly (2004) caused hurt and misunderstanding among many members of the Jewish community and within our Presbyterian communion. We are grieved by the pain that this has caused, accept responsibility for the flaws in our process, and ask for a new season of mutual understanding and dialogue.

                    Or regarding the Church's 2006 action:

                    "We believe that this new statement clarifies the engagement process, which has not yet led to any recommendation for divestment," she told the GA. "The earliest any divestment could occur is in 2008, and only with the permission of the General Assembly."

                    During a press conference following the vote, Stated Clerk Clifton Kirkpatrick, said today's action does not overturn the actions of the 216th General Assembly (2004), and newly elected moderator Joan Gray emphasized the church's longstanding focus on peacemaking.

                    The Stated Clerk is the closest thing to a Presbyterian Pope: he doesn't make the rules, but he does give the authoritative interpretation of them.  I just talked to the head of MRTI a month ago; the process is still moving along:

                    Regarding corporate engagement involving Israel and Palestine, MRTI will continue with the five corporations from 2005: Caterpillar, Citigroup, ITT Industries, Motorola and United Technologies.

                    But believe the New York Times if it makes you feel better.

                    "Tyrone, you know how much I love watching you work, but I've got...my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder and Guilder to frame for it; I'm swamped."

                    by Rusty Pipes on Sat Sep 29, 2007 at 05:47:56 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

      •  Will be a while (0+ / 0-)

        University of Gaza is under Gaza embargo.

        Those who hear not the music-think the dancers mad

        by Eiron on Fri Sep 28, 2007 at 04:55:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Lord, I hope we are all happy about this. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zemblan
  •  One follow-up (7+ / 0-)

    A comment from one of the leaders of the campaign against the boycott, aimed at good little Israel-hating Marxists:

    It will be claimed by the campaign to exclude Israelis from our campuses, conferences and journals that the end of the boycott in UCU represents a capitulation to ‘bourgeois’ or ‘Zioinst’ law (the two adjectives have become inter-changeable amongst some ‘anti-Zionist’ ‘anti-capitalists’). In truth, however, anti-discrimination law is not a mode of state repression but a victory, hard-won, by generations of antiracist activists. It is a good thing that there is law in place which prohibits bodies like our union from discriminating against Jews. In the old days there was no legal prohibition on Jewish quotas and silent or explicit exclusions and boycotts of Jews by civil society organizations such as universities, golf-clubs and trades unions. The exclusion of Jews is no longer a private matter of choice for an organization; it is now illegal. This is good.

    It is scandalous that the proposal to exclude Israeli academics was seriously considered by political people, trade unionists and by our union. It was a proposal for direct unfair discrimination on the grounds of nationality and for a policy of indirect unfair discrimination against Jews. It was, in effect if not in intent, a racist proposal. Engage, the network which came together to oppose the boycott, the antiracist campaign against antisemitism, said, from the beginning, that it was a racist proposal. People who consider themselves to be antiracists and who were seduced by the plan to punish Israeli academics for the consequences of the Israel/Palestine conflict should be ashamed that it took ‘bourgeois’ law to finish off this racist proposal.

    If Venus is made of ketchup and lions play pinochle, why doesn't the framistan frizzmaz the flomaton?

    by zemblan on Fri Sep 28, 2007 at 03:46:54 PM PDT

  •  Oh Noeses... (7+ / 0-)

    ...teh evil Zionists of GIYUS/AIPAC have triumphed again! Ooooh, teh evil Zionists they make me sooo angry!

    /Shergald

    Seriously, that's good news, and probably in part reflective of the pronounced displeasure of Her Majesty's Government at the extremist manifestations of so-called "anti-Zionism". This is part of a larger backlash against hate now seemingly arising on the left:

    Feminist Film Festival horrified by boycott of Israel

    Anti-Israel boycott movement is misplaced

    AJC Welcomes German Union Decision to Protest Israel Boycott Measures

    The Germans were especially forceful against the "anti-Zionists":

    In an interview in this week's edition of the German newspaper Judische Allgemeine, the head of the DGB, Michael Sommer, said, "Some of the formulations in the call for boycott measures are reminiscent of the Nazi slogan "Dont' Shop at Jewish Stores!"

    In July, more than 40 U.S.-based unions signed a letter protesting the boycott movement. The letter was coordinated by the Jewish Labor Committee.

    "[A]n ass-kissing little chickenshit. I hate people like that." - Admiral Fallon on General Petraeus

    by MBNYC on Fri Sep 28, 2007 at 06:45:46 PM PDT

    •  What most interests me is this (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      arielle, word is bond

      This comes down to the difference between being pro-Palestinian and being anti-Israel. The project of demonizing Israel by painting it with the South Africa brush is failing badly. Divestment has failed, boycotts have failed, sanctions have failed. Why? Because they're based on a simple strategy: there would be jsutice for the Palestinians if we all just hated on Israel hard enough.

      That's a radicalizing strategy, and there's no doubt we've seen here the emotional lengths it drives some people to. But as a large-scale rallying technique, it's failed and failed and failed. At the UCU it's just failed again.

      The deeper problem is, because so many anti-Israel activists take this approach, they make it impossible for the mainstream -- who do not hate Israel and are obstinately failing to be persuaded to -- to join in common cause. We saw that with the teeny-tiny turnout at the Washington march and rally:

      I was at the rally, and if this was the "largest" ever, we are in trouble.

      Mainstream media reported "hundreds". Washington Indymedia reported 1,000. There were not 5,000 people there at any point, even counting the counter-protestors. Numbers are not important, but this rally was planned for a year, and it cost thousands to put on- the full page ad in the New York Times was over $100,000, itself.

      I am just wondering if this is the best use of limited activist time, energy and funding.

      That's the tiny, sparsely populated cul-de-sac the anti-Israel crowd has pushed the pro-Palestinian movement into.

      Incidentally, Deborah Lipstadt reports on her blog that last year's International Mr. Gay competition had an Iranian contestant, but the winner was from Israel. Maybe that's what had Ahmadinejad so upset?

      If Venus is made of ketchup and lions play pinochle, why doesn't the framistan frizzmaz the flomaton?

      by zemblan on Sat Sep 29, 2007 at 09:39:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There will never be peace (0+ / 0-)

        as long as "justice" is the prevailing goal.  

        Everyone is screaming for peace and justice but what is justice to person A is an injustice to person B.

        You can't tell Jews they are not allowed to live in Judea without that being an injustice.  Yet the Jewish settlers in the Occupied Territories are going to have to give up their claims to the land for there to be any justice at all for the Palestinians.  So what you need is a practical agreement.  That is, an agreement that will work in practice.

        Peace through superior firewater! - MBNYC

        by arielle on Sat Sep 29, 2007 at 10:20:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Great comment (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        arielle, zemblan

        The difference between being pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel is key (and similarly, the difference between being pro-Israel and anti-Palestinian). It's a distinction that is too often disregarded - here as elsewhere - and those who are more interested in being "anti" then "pro" make meaningful discussion, let alone progress, difficult to achieve.

        As for the news item in your last paragraph - I'm still mopping up the coffee I sprayed.

  •  If people want to boycott (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    word is bond, zemblan, dfb1968

    then they should make it meaningful by boycotting things that would entail self-sacrifice.

    So put your money where your mouth is and stop using:

    cell phones
    anything with a Centrino chip
    voicemail
    mammograms
    many cancer treatments
    heart attack diagnostic tools
    stem cell research advancements
    and, of course, Gottex swimwear

    Peace through superior firewater! - MBNYC

    by arielle on Sat Sep 29, 2007 at 08:54:32 AM PDT

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