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    « Paving the way for a new boycott of Israeli universities | Main | Is googlebombing going to free Alaa? »




    As we both predicted - and you are, as always, brilliant -, the bigots were going to return with their efforts to boycott Israel.

    As we both predicted, there is no middle ground in which Israeli leaders or policies are conceded to be racist or wrong but should suffer no consequences. That middle ground - based on a lie, viz., that Israeli policy is racist, rather than what it really is, moderately nationalistic - does nothing to prevent boycott demands.

    The first step in defending an interest under attack is to adopt an unequivocal position that is limited to the issue at hand. Any good lawyer or public relations adviser will tell you that. Then, as we say in America, hammer away at your position and only that position, staying relentlessly on message.

    Some think that by adopting an "even-handed position" (i.e. the boycott petition is bad but occupation is also bad and that we must fight anti-Arab racism by Israelis, etc., etc.) you might somehow peel away some of those who support boycotts.

    Instead, the half-way defense suggests that the boycotters have a point. That, frankly, divides Israesl's supporters, not those who support boycotts.

    Opposing a bigoted boycott petition is the wrong time and place to take a position on Israel's control of the territories - whether such control is good or evil -. To peel away undecided people, adopt a narrow position regarding which differences of opinion about Israel's control of the territories play no part.

    At this point, you now need to remind people, over and over and over again, what the Boycotters' real goal is. As, for example, Sue Blackwell claims, Israel is an illegitimate country. Which is to say, "occupation" has nothing to do with what she and the boycotters are advocating.

    A principled response that is directed to a narrow issue - rather than sounding even-handed - will help peel away support for the boycott. And, note, you can hold any view about the territories and, in a different setting under different circumstances, urge the position that Israel to cede land, if that is your view.

    When opposing bigots, you must fight fire with fire, not with appeasing equivocation. In this instance, it is as much the place of Jews in Europe as it is for Jews in Israel. Which is to say, if universities must boycott Israeli academics, the next step is to boycott supporters of Israel who work at UK universities. Or, in simple terms, the target will, in due course, become Jews at UK Universities.


    I strongly support Neal's opinion in every point, particularly his view of the strategy most appropriate to fight the threatened boycott by NATFHE.


    Too complex for the Brits, who aren't well-known for their depth. I think the oath could be simplified to the one used in the House of Commons prior to Lionel Rothschild's seating thereof.

    Merely sear the oath 'on the True Faith of a Christian'. Or a Muslim or what may be. Judaism excluded of course.


    Wow. Real people really talk like those parodies of lefty splinter groups in The Life of Brian.

    And they really do run a large influential organization.

    I still can't get my mind around that. Not so much their views, but the fact that they talk like that with no irony at all. I mean, you can't even tease them, it would go over their heads.

    That's really scary.


    Here is a few more

    Many of my friends are Palestinians.

    I would not mind living next to a Palestinian.

    I would glady give up my Israeli citizenship to a Palestinian refugee.


    wow, this is a really clear and interesting piece of work. As a jew from holland i'm shocked by the replies you got and the actions taken by this union.
    I don't know how you feel, but i feel it's very courageous how you stand up, but it also seems like a battle you can't win. These people seem very set in their ways. Anyway i still am pleased to see people standing up for their ideals like you do against the tide.
    I have to say i am terribly disappointed in the british academics though....

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