BRITISH ACADEMIC BOYCOTT
Condemnation has been swift. But perhaps there is less here than meets the eye.
Consider, for a moment, what this vote really means.
Does it mean institutions are committed to boycotting Israeli academic professionals and institutions?
Does it mean that academics in fields in which Israeli academic professionals and institutions contribute will be required to boycott?
Does it mean that worthwhile papers by Israeli academic professionals and institutions will not be published?
I think we can assume that in fields which are already dominated by anti-Semites there will be little change.
In fields to which Israeli academic professionals and institutions contribute significantly, there will also be little change.
British institutions are not bound by this vote, nor will they gladly disregard worthwhile material. Unlike unions, universities are committed to academic freedom.
And in any case, by June 1st the matter will be moot.
[Because the union in question is amalgamating with another union, and the resolution becomes merely advisory at that point.]
There were two resolutions which were voted on by NATFHE:
The first called upon the NATFHE membership to 'aid, protect and support PA institutions and universities, and to continue to maintain ties with the PA'. It also called the cordon sanitaire against the terrorist group Hamas "scandalous".
The second motion demanded a boycott against "Israel’s persistent apartheid policy" - it is not clear exactly what was meant by this, as gibberant left-wing rhetoric standardly becomes unintelligible when grunted through foaming lips.
Both motions do not force a boycott of Israel, but are recommendations to the membership to consider taking action privately.
What would either of these motions mean in practise?
Well, imagine that an Israeli institution found a cure for a disease. If anyone where to take the "boycott" seriously, they would neither publish the research findings, nor permit their associates to use the research findings in any way. In actuality, only the Arabs are crazy enough to follow this course of action (or sane enough, as publishing Israeli research results might bring a firing squad or lynch mob into your future in large parts of the Islamic world).
As you can imagine, serious scholars will blithely ignore this call to boycott, and mediocrities will pay it lip-service until they need to plagiarize.
And please note that if they broke British laws while "supporting Palestinian Institutions", they would be in trouble no matter how enthusiastic the pc glee club was about their actions.
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Related thereto, there has been an absolute barrage of hate e-mail to the address of union leadership. Hundreds of venomous, vituperative, and very badly written e-mails from American 'non-academics' (judging by spelling mistakes and trailer-park grammar) were received.
What exactly do the writers of such poison-pen screeds hope to achieve?
Other than creating the impression that they are idiots?
I can understand anger and fury. I can understand wanting to break something. But if you want to convince someone of the rightness of your position, jumping up and down screaming like a baboon is not an effective approach.
Trust me on this.
I base this statement on personal experience.
All it got me was a good spanking.
[I shall not publish the e-mail addresses of the leadership of the union, as I do not wish to encourage such misbehaviour. You will kindly note that my own e-mail address is nowhere to be seen on this blog either, as I have no need to get roped into private spitting matches - please use the comments field and entertain the other readers of this blog if you're that rabid. Thank you.]
If you really want to change minds, you will coherently and rationally argue your points, with grace and good cheer, on your blogs and in your articles. Those who are irrational will not change (and would not even if you did call them names), those who are wrong may change their minds (but will certainly not do so if you call them names).
There is indeed an air of anti-Semitism to this - it would be odd if there were not. But anti-Semitism is a normal and natural state for slope-brows. They also hate, despise, and condemn pretty much everybody else (including penguins, postage workers, and dachshunds).
The problem is not the anti-Semitism, it is the ignorance, and blinkered points of view, of fairly decent individuals, who are hampered by their cultural praeconceptions besides. Now that is something that you can work on.
Be patient, and maintain a positive attitude, as you will have to explain much.
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Below are two examples of the hate e-mail which I mentioned - please note that both are remarkably badly written (just over the border of illiteracy, in fact), and have no point other than relieving the unfortunate medical conditions of the authors. We wish them a full recovery. Do not read if you are easily offended.
From: Guy Yanai
Sent: 28 May 2006 04:54
To: Paul Mackney
Subject: JEW HATER!
its nice to hate jews and single them out for everything!!!
its called ANTISEMITISM you disgucting piece of shit!!!
you and your family should be ashamed of yourself!!
you should boycot yourself!
Sent: 29 May 2006 17:21
To: Paul Mackney
Examine yourself You dirty little Jew Baiting cunt. You and your fellow filth will end up the way all black and red facists do as dust to be walked on.
PLEASE NOTE: Paul Mackney spoke against the resolutions. He was the recipient of these e-mails because he is an officer of the union, and thus in the line of public fire.
As a further note, it is interesting that we have had a debate about the official language of the United States recently. Judging by these and similar e-mails I have seen, it will indeed be nice when Americans learn English.
I can hardly wait.