Useful web sites

Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter

    « UK academic boycott of Israel: UCU GenSec & Engage anti-boycott group seriously misleading about chances of stopping it | Main | Just an occasional dose of cynicism never did anyone any harm »


    Kechel List

    I am an Israeli academic with all sorts of (gradually fading) links to the UK.

    I apppreciate your vast knowledge of UK academia and politics, and I often turn to your blog first for information. (Where else - THES or the Guardian?)

    However, in my view you are overdoing it on Gideon Levy and Amira Hass. I dislike their politics, but their existence here is one of the reasons why I am still a little patriotic. A country that has no journalists of this type would be worth a boycott. Levy is, when scraped to the bottom, a good old Zionist with a moralist twist that occasionaly clouds his perception. Hass is a saint.

    On Pappe you are probably correct.


    Kechel List: Amira Hass is a saint? Well, I suppose if we look at the track record around selective condemnation of Jews of Christian saints, that might be accurate.... This "saint" of yours today in Ha'aretz refers to Israel's "apartheid"roads. It is precisely this unremitting use of outrageously inappropriate and demonizing Soviet-derived propaganda terminology cloaked in the authority of Ha'aretz with its perceived reputation of objective reporting by Jewish Israelis, that is so effective in fuelling and justifying all the boycott motions of the anti-zionist movement world wide. They regularly quote both her and Gideon Levy triumphantly to justify themselves as objective and not anti-semitic.

    None of them ever quotes or claims any authority from the pygmy toy revolutionaries of the UCU or its other UK equivalents. I am daily astonished by the romantic refusal of so much of the Israeli zionist left to come to terms with the evidence of what Levy, Hass and their equivalents do day after day after day in Ha'aretz.

    Kechel List

    Judy, what goes on in the west bank is two systems of law applied to two different nations ("races"). When most of this was instituted in the early 1980s the express aim of some of the initiators was to drive out the Arabs (Refael Eitan said: poke a finger in their ribs until they leave).

    Admittedly, this is not China in Tibet or even France being complicit (or worse) with the Rwandan genocide. But it's bad enough.

    The wall and the military presence in the west bank are necessary and life-saving. The settlements are a shame.

    Thank you again for your informative posts. Maybe you should write something about this for one of the Israeli dailies who are mostly in the dark about the whole thing, spreading hysteria, as you say.


    Kechel, as you will know if you regularly read Imshin at Not a Fish, the laws you mention originally governing the west bank derive from the British Mandate, and the Ottoman Empire before that, and they were not invented by the Israelis. Dropping a vicious mindless quote from Rafael Eitan who never exercised other than a marginal influence in Israeli government, or from other Israeli equivalents of our own George Galloway does not enhance let alone prove your case.

    Neither the settlements nor the roads begin to justify the use of the term "apartheid"-- which is outside Israel just as frequently interchangeable by the anti-zionist left and its Islamist allies with the word "nazi".

    I'm afraid this particular political mindset does not see any difference whatsoever between your belief in the "wall" as you call it and the presence of the Israeli army (or the zionist occupation army as they call it) and those of the settlers. To them you're all equally guilty and deserve boycotting and worse.

    As for writing something for one of the Israeli dailies...chance would be a fine thing.

    Thanks for your comments, anyway. And please keep visiting and commenting.


    I completely agree with your analysis Judy. Except for your apparent obsession with where the activists' institutions stand in the elitist hierarchy. What difference does it make if the call to boycott comes from a "third rate" or "fourth rate" HEI? Are Oxbridge professors somehow more representative of the academic class than former poly lecturers or FE college staff? In fact, the latter have far more influence over the mass of students out there.


    Professor Steven Weinberg declined an invitation by Imperial College and wrote that "given the history of the attacks on Israel and the oppressiveness and aggressiveness of other countries in the Middle East and elsewhere, boycotting Israel indicated a moral blindness for which it is hard to find any explanation other than anti-Semitism." He was referring to Imperial College which to my knowledge is not a "fourth rate university". It is a mistake to minimise hostility to Israel in the academic world.


    Bob, even in the third and fourth rate universities and colleges, the boycotters exercise no impact or influence on policy and practice. So they are even less representative of lecturers in hairdressing, building practice and electronic maintenance than they are of top notch Oxbridge academics. They do monopolise union meetings and so get to push through all manner of absurdist policies on their union. The union has failed absolutely miserably in its most basic pay campaigns, let alone in getting to exercise any influence over university policy or practice.

    Argertz, you will not find a single academic or department at Imperial College who will endorse or carry out a boycott.

    Recognising this is not to minimize the hostility to Israel generated by and largely confined to a few influential loose groupings of marxist or marxist inspired academics who prominently feature in the left wing press and on the BBC. I take their influence seriously enough to have devoted a substantial amount of my writing for Adloyada to exposing their history and methods as well as the emptiness of their arguments.

    But the real issue is not to see this as some sort of total collapse of UK universities and academics as a whole into anti-zionism and boycotting.

    I personally know many of these activists. Many of them used to be in or hang around the Communist Party, the Socialist Workers' Party and the International Marxist Group back in the seventies and eighties when New Left radicalism was still the Big Thing. Then, they were bright eyed young researchers. Now most of them are in or pushing their sixties, with chic homes in the cooler parts of north London.... But, having lost South Africa as the big draw for their campaigns, Israel serves them very well. In fact, as so many of them were raised as Jewish radicals it suits them even better....


    Judy wrote: "you will not find a single academic or department at Imperial College who will endorse or carry out a boycott". Why don't they say so then? Why do they keep silent? The Daily Telegraph is quite explicit: only Jewish groups are outraged at the proposed boycott: "Academics backed a mass boycott of Israeli universities last night, sparking outrage among Jewish groups." One has to take it that non-Jewish groups are not outraged.


    Worth reading:
    and also the FT leader


    Kechel calling Amira Haas 'a saint' is a bit rich; a few years ago she was found guilty in an Israeli court and ordered to pay thousands of dollars for fabricating a story about settlers' brutality.
    A couple of points about the settlers. It follows from Kechel's reasoning that the Jewish quarter of the the Old City is a 'settlement'; before 1967 it was under Jordan's control. And the moment Israel pulled back from Judea and Samaria the whole world, including Hamas, Hezbollah, Jihad, bin Laden, Noam Chomsky and even UCU, would fall in love with Israel and the Jews


    szeni: shortly, yes. Anywhere law applies differentially to jews and arabs is a settlement.

    Bin Laden et al: no, I'm not that stupid. It's not about them loving us. It's about the structure and values of our own society.


    That makes London a 'settlement'; positive discrimination means different laws for Jews (classed white) and Arabs (classed an ethnic minority). And do you really mean 'Jews and Arabs' or 'Israelis and Palestinians'? I know there is discrimination against Israeli Arabs, but here in the UK Metropolitan police was found last year 'institutionally racist' by an official enquiry.
    I am with you on 'structure and values'; just make sure you don't reduce Israel's unique predicament to a footnote.

    On a positive side:,7340,L-3407111,00.html


    I detect a lot of anger here over the UCU decison. I share it myself - all of it is justified.
    However here is a useful bit of advice - don't get mad , get even.

    Let me say first I am not a teacher but a civil servant. Every year I see anti Israeli motions down for debate at my union (PCS)annual conference. I am sure many others have the same experience. I don't doubt that the are passed. I am not happy to see my contributions and numeric "weight" being used to slander a country I love.

    I would dearly like to leave my union over this but am deterred from doing so by the legal representation I am supposed to get if I had a serious disciplinary problem with my employers. At risk of sounding heretical on what is a "left wing" site there seem to be few other compelling reasons to remain in union membership. I recall reading somewhere that the effect of TU membershp on wage levels was something like 0.2%.

    It occurred to me some time ago that if an organisation were to negotiate some form of employment dispute insurance for its members many erstwhile TU members might be interested. In concentratng on one product (it could use the net and e mail as its main contacter/advertiser) it might even be cheaper than TU membrship at a certain level of take up.

    It need not of course be restricted to those alienated by the anti Israeli boycott. To the inevitable claim that the idea breaches solidariy I would reply that the unions like UCU have breached that solidarity in an ugly and apalling way. Solidarity is a two way thing. The word "Solidarity" sounds ill in the mouths of an organisation that willingly and spitefuly allienates a portion of its members thus.

    I am not sure that I have much more to contribute than the basic idea. I do believe that the idea is a practical one that will hit the boycotters where it hurts and may even deter others from folowing in their footsteps.


    Judy wrote: "you will not find a single academic or department at Imperial College who will endorse or carry out a boycott". Why don't they say so then? Why do they keep silent? The Daily Telegraph is quite explicit: only Jewish groups are outraged at the proposed boycott

    Exactly. I don't see Lancet, for example, rushing to assure us that British professors will be expected to review Israeli papers appropriately. I'd strongly advise submitting to JAMA instead. [Modify journals for your field of choice.]


    Judy, The point is not the fact that 100 or 200 people voted for a boycott. The point is that the safe (even mainstream) position in British academia today is that of boycotting Israel; the dangerous position is to argue that a Jewish state has the right to exist.

    The point is that the boycott movement is now institutionalized. It's what people do; it's part of their routine--and like all other mammals, people are creatures of habit. We don't like change.

    Getting rid of the anti-Israeli boycott will now be change--in the UK. The rest (I very much fear) is commentary.




    It is simply not true that everybody in the Imperial College is against the boycott; at the very least there are several 'bad apples', some I know well. But the point is that most (and not just at the Imperial) care about themselves and their career. If it could be advanced by the boycott they would back it. Like with anti-Semitism in the UK, there are few obsessive Jew haters but plenty whose views are driven by self-interest.

    Paul Miller

    E-mail sent by Pamela Hardyment to The Board Of Deputies Of British Jews (

    From: Pamela Hardyment
    Sent: 26 May 2007 13:53
    Subject: Darfur


    You are worried about Dafur!!!!!!!!!!! Yet you have in a wonderful Nazi like killing machine (thousands of palestinians have died or are incarcerated in camps, including Gaza and the West Bank) backed by the world's richest jews and , you are joking about Darfur aren't you?

    Whatever you say, and I don't want to hear what you have to say because it will be the same old rhetoric, we in the UK have had enough of Israel, we (the NUJ of which I am a member) have finally voted to boycott Israeli goods (I have been doing this since 1957 so it just legitimises it and spreads the word, all items with 7.29 in the bar code, Jaffa Carmel, etc) - universities will bring in an academic boycott and architects are now joining in too. It won't stop there, we will do all in our power to make sure that you do not take any more land (you have already taken mine and refuse to pay for it). We can no longer send money to the PLO or Hamas, but we are sending people, we are not afraid of your wall, your evil soldiers (and you worry about one missing soldier, ha!) and will continue. We used to be mild, respected you because of the so called holocaust (a nice round number 6 million, what about the homosexuals, gypsies, deformed, dissenters, they NEVER get a mention and my family were among them)

    So yes, we are very angry, we are working against Israel whereas before we supported you, and we will do all in our collective power to make life as uncomfortable for you as you make it for the Palestinians, shame on you, shame on all jews, may your lives be cursed

    Yours with no shame whatsoever and no fear

    pam hardyment


    "no shame whatsoever"

    How true.




    Actually that boycot of Israeli wares has a good side.
    As it almost always comes with a list of all things
    to boycot... I keep a list in my handbag always
    and then go out of my way to buy these goods.
    If my local supermrket does not carry some of them
    I ask to speak to the manager and tell him that
    I absolutely want Carmel advocado's ('they have this special taste my husband just loves!" or Jaffa
    oranges ('they are so much juicier and sweeter
    than the other ones.' )


    (oups... well, click on my nickname to know more)


    Hi,Thanks for making this tpiascrnrt available. The Israel Lobby is such an important issue that a debate like this one is important for our Foreign Policy. However, I would have liked to see the video, but unfortunately I only have a 7r68 Flash Player which doesn't work with your video. Could you make the tpiascrnrt available in sound, so at least I could hear it? Thanks. Question:Did I notice some mistakes in your tpiascrnrt? At one point you claim the speaker is JM, John Mearsheimer, but he sounded like MI, Martin Indyk. Thanks again for the tpiascrnrt. Iggy Fajardo

    The comments to this entry are closed.

    August 2015

    Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    2 3 4 5 6 7 8
    9 10 11 12 13 14 15
    16 17 18 19 20 21 22
    23 24 25 26 27 28 29
    30 31          
    Blog powered by Typepad