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    « Is this the way to stop a boycott? | Main | Boycott hysteria: today's Israeli and UK variants »



    Judy, OK 3,000 could be bothered to come to a rally applauding a racist boycott. So, how many bothered to come to the counter-demonstration? (Keeping in mind that this IS a racist motion).

    How many UK professionals decided that saying not in my name to racism was worth their time? (And you know you don't have to be at a rally for the whole thing--you can come, zip out for a cup of coffee with some friends, come back, make a day of it.)

    I keep being told that I don't understand, that I am over-reacting, that these racist motions represent a tiny minority, etc.

    Well, OK. A tiny minority of UK professional (architects, doctors, teachers, public servants, journalists) pass racist motions. And the vast majority of UK professionals who are represented by said associations react to these racist motions when and ONLY when they are confronted with the consequences of standing by and doing nothing in the face of racism.

    There are honorable and courageous exceptions: You, Norm, Engage, Nick Cohen. But the fact is: from this side of the pond, it really does not look like you're the majority.




    "Enough!" deom. Jerusalem Post reckons even less:2000.



    There are several red herrings here. If your blog has the readership you maintain that it does then you have a duty to characterize the situation correctly. Sniping from the sidelines is all very entertaining when there's nothing at stake - but not when things are serious as they are here.

    On the UCU motion: this is the most important of the red herrings. It is not about a boycott. A boycott of Israeli academics is legally unenforceable and anyone who attempts to publicly implement it will find their career in ruins. Those who want to boycott the state of Israel and all its produce (including intellectual output) are doing so already but doing so silently.

    What the motion is about is stripping the state of Israel of its legitimacy. Of taking a supposed moral highground. If it is not stopped in its tracks the consequences will be severe. And this is where I disagree with you. I don't know how much time you spend on British University campuses but this is what I think will happen. The atmosphere will become poisonous. One year of Palestinian propaganda with no or negligible counter-arguments will silence dissenting voices. Pro-Israel academics (by that I mean those who support the right of state to exist) will engage in self-censorship: they will not air their views because of either prudence or fear. And Jewish students may decide not to flaunt symbols of their Judaism. Add posters circulating the classic anti-Semitic motifs: blood libels, money, control of media etc. And life may become unbearable for some. You may even see an exodus to America.

    As for how to stop this happening I think you are playing an unconstructive role. Instead of criticizing all the various strategies that are being adopted come up with something yourself.

    Yes, some of them are alarmist - including the one you cite. But not everyone has the mind of an academic. This is a battle for hearts, not minds. And simple, emotive slogans work. As for the Bicom initiative - you have to work in phases. Concentrate around a strategy that will gain the most support, and at least risk to its proponents. That may well be the thinking behind the Stop the Boycott petition. If that fails to pressure Sally Hunt into giving the membership a vote - and I think it will, then there are further steps that can be taken. Next would be cancelling union subscriptions. Then leaving the union. Then calling for financial sanctions against supporters of the boycott. And finally blacklisting the boycotters themselves. Do to them what they advocate doing to others.

    There is also political pressure (note the recent House of Commons Early Day Motion), and a legal route - Alan Dershowitz and Anthony Julius have said they will join forces on this issue.

    So instead of saying that we're up against a small, vocal and unrepresentative minority (which of course we are) - what are you going to do to make your readership see them in their true colours?


    Judy, thank you for the post. I was there! Yes, I was one of the few who was at the counter-demonstration. I would do it again even if we were STILL 30-40 vs 3000-4000...!
    I took loads of pics. If you need any just let me know.
    The Doc


    Judy, again, thanks for the local coverage.

    Unfortunately, the American public, fed a constant diet of hysteria, drama and fear mongering, is never going to get that they will never "see" from their side of the Atlantic, the real story, or who these people are, or how insignificant they are to regular Brits.
    They will continue to describe the UK as comparable to pre war Nazi Germany because it is more exiting than accepting that this is a tiny group who have gotten into a position where their views command more air time than they deserve.

    Paul M


    Of course the understanding that Americans have of events in the UK is inaccurate—the news readily available to them is selective and partial. This is a problem for anyone looking at events elsewhere in the world.

    As you wrote your comment did you suspect that you might be suffering from exactly the same problem, theorising and generalising about Americans "fed a constant diet of hysteria, drama and fear mongering" and seeing the UK as "comparable to pre war Nazi Germany"? It is not only British reality that is more nuanced than the headlines and sound bites and, excitable rubes though we are, even some Americans know this.

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