Blogs > Liberty and Power > Jew See This?

May 31, 2007 12:37 pm

Jew See This?

The NYT reports that “The main union representing 120,000 British college teachers voted Wednesday to endorse a Palestinian trades’ union call for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.” I didn’t notice any similar resolutions concerning academics in China, or Iran, or in the old USSR, or in Syria, or in Cuba. Hmm. Yes, we're having a sale on Wagner this week. Wagner, Max! Anyway, let me save everyone a lot of time and trouble. Cue the script – Move 1: a commenter asks what’s the big deal. Move 2: I complain that this smacks of anti-semitism. Move 3: comments flood in reminding me that criticizing Israel isn’t identical with anti-semitism. Move 4: I reply that yes, I know that, but the plain double-standard evidenced here reveals a special animus. Move 5: some comments to the effect that since no state has the right to exist, Israel doesn’t either. Move 6: I reply that as long as any states can exist, Israel can too, and to say otherwise is anti-semitism. Move 7: Angry comments pour in about Israeli misdeeds. Move 8: I link to FLAME and AICE. Move 9: I express bewilderment that antipathy towards Israel is so prevalent on the left as well as in several wings of the libertarian world. Move 10: I get lectured on how I’m not really a libertarian at all, accompanied by some ad hominem. Move 11: I close the comments thread.

Seriously, though, and leaving the anti-Israel/anti-semitism thing alone, this seems like an amazingly anti-intellectual thing to do."We don't like your government's policies, so we won't allow your chemists to co-author papers, etc." Absurd.

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Aeon J. Skoble - 6/1/2007

>when special criticism of Israel >occurs...[one possible explanation] >is that the speaker simply holds >Israel to a higher standard than >other countries, because of a >fundamental fondness or respect for >its people

That might explain individual remarks from someone like you, but it wouldn't explain this boycott.

Otto M. Kerner - 6/1/2007

I should like to point out that, when special criticism of Israel occurs, "special animus" is only one plausible explanation. The other is that the speaker simply holds Israel to a higher standard than other countries, because of a fundamental fondness or respect for its people. Indeed, this always the case when I criticise Israel, since I consider myself entirely a judeophile (although, partly for this reason, I find myself less and less interested in actually criticising Israel; still, when I have criticised it in the past, that was why).

Also, I think that one may legitimately hold a view in which the criteria for a country's right to exist are not identical to the criteria for a country's overall goodness. In other words, in might be the case that Country X has done many more bad things than Country Y, and yet Country Y's problems are more relevant to the issue of whether it has a right to exist as a particular state.

Additionally, if your anarcho-capitalistic interlocutors are bringing up the anti-state argument as an argument against Israel per se, then I think that's a red herring. Surely, AC's should understand that "Israel" is more than simply a state, and that the abolition of the state won't make Israelis the same as their neighbors.

In any event, anarcho-capitalists believe that Israel would be better off without the State of Israel, so this can hardly be construed as an anti-Israeli argument, let alone an anti-semitic one.

Aeon J. Skoble - 5/31/2007

Yep, perfect example of the double-standard. Wild.

Keith Halderman - 5/31/2007

Let me get this straight. The President of Iran participates in a Holocaust denial conference and that event does not raise an eyebrow among British academics. On the other hand Israel reacts to its neighbors sending suicide bombers and rockets against its civilian population and the UCU thinks that may be grounds for an academic boycott of Israeli institutions of higher learning which are often hotbeds of criticism directed towards their own government. Well, how could anyone possibly construe that as Antisemitism.

Mark Brady - 5/31/2007

go here.

David T. Beito - 5/31/2007

You'll get no argument from me. This boycott is stupid.