Opposing the campaign to exclude Israelis from the global academic community | Engage

An interesting piece by David Hirsh (see Engage | The anti-racist campaign against antisemitism, with a left-wing perspective, on how to oppose the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) campaign against Israel, and linking this to other forms of hate and racism. A reminder that there us a plurality of approaches against antisemitism:

  • “The conflict on our campuses seems to be between wavers of the Israeli flag and wavers of the Palestinian flag.  We refuse to pick up one or the other flag and to hope for its victory; better to embrace a politics of reconciliation
  • We need to have a conversation about what solidarity is….
  • Academic freedom and democratic norms
  • Consistency
  • Antisemitism.
  • Understanding, analyzing, making arguments, educating….”

The Israeli and Jewish right tends increasingly to embody a politics and a way of thinking which has little in common with our own.  What they say about the roots of the Israel/Palestine conflict, about how to get peace, about how to relate to the boycott, about how to relate to the Palestinian national movement, about how to relate to the Islamists is highly problematic.  Their paradigm and their way of thinking is not likely to be influential amongst academics.

But the Israeli and Jewish right are sometimes quite good at sniffing out antisemitism.  When they are angry and militant against antisemitism – that is when they’re right, it isn’t an indicator that they must have got it wrong.

Just as liberty, freedom, the rule of law, democracy, lesbian and gay rights, womens rights and human rights are values which should not be abandoned by the left, as though they were right wing issues, so the issue of antisemitism should not be abandoned to the right either.

The left cannot be influential amongst Jews if it teaches people to recognise concern for antisemitism and opposition to boycotts of Israel as right wing issues.

The problem with the approach of the right isn’t that their militancy against antisemitism is misplaced – the problem is that they’re not consistent, they’re not antiracist, they’re not for a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine – indeed the problem with the right is similar, in these respects to the problem with the boycotters and the people who think that anti-imperialism is the only important left wing value.

We need a movement and a network to give people good arguments, to build a cosmopolitan anti-nationalist sensibility, to propose genuine solidarity in place of the hollow boycott-version.

Opposing the campaign to exclude Israelis from the global academic community | Engage.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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