Friday, December 13, 2013

HuffPost Endorses Academic Boycott of Israel (Again)

We've commented many times before how openly pro-BDS the Huffington Post is...and therefore by extension how it is pro-the destruction of Israel. So it really shouldn't come as a surprise that they have produced only one article about the recent boycott conversation around the American Society of Academics. It's also no surprise that the article is endorsing the boycott and that it comes from a brand new blogger named David Lloyd, who is not only an English professor but is apparently a professional Israel hater:
"David Lloyd is Distinguished Professor of English at the University of California, Riverside, and a founding member of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. He has published numerous articles on Palestine and Israel, including “Settler Colonialism and the State of Exception: The Example of Israel/Palestine” in The Journal of Settler Colonial Studies and, with Malini Johar Schueller, an essay on the rationale for the academic boycott of Israel in the AAUP’s Journal of Academic Freedom. "
Now that's what I call objective analysis! Or what the Huffington Post might call "balance." Don't expect them to publish a counterpoint, by the way. That isn't how you indoctrinate your readers, after all.

I don't want to spend too much time on the article because it's the exact same pro-BDS talking points you see everywhere and that have in turn be busted everywhere. But let us hit the highlights anyway:
"A boycott is not a general expression of moral disapproval. It is a last resort that targets a state or other institution because of the ongoing and remediable nature of the harm that it is doing and because other paths to redress are blocked." 
Obviously, there are plenty of other ways that Palestinians can change things without punishing innocent Israelis, they just are choosing this one among many different options. But more specifically this argument completely fails because Israeli academics are not doing "harm," and this particular boycott is targeting them, not the government of Israel or the institutions that hurt Palestinians. If they were, then Lloyd might have a legitimate point. Noam Chomsky has talked about this very phenomenon when criticizing BDS.

Now Lloyd might say that in this BDS resolution Israeli academics are not being targeted for punishment. Israeli academics can still collaborate with Americans and universities can still work together. This is actually irrelevant to the discussion. Just because in this one particular case the ASA would only endorse a watered down and toothless (aka "largely symbolic") resolution does not mean that collective punishment isn't what Lloyd and his organization wants. The USCABI said very clearly:
"We, Palestinian academics and intellectuals, call upon our colleagues in the international community to comprehensively and consistently boycott all Israeli academic and cultural institutions as a contribution to the struggle to end Israel’s occupation, colonization and system of apartheid, by applying the following"
They will take what they can get in this case, but their motives are very clear...when Lloyd feels like telling the truth about them, it is. After a litany of anti-Israel talking points, Lloyd contradicts himself in a hilarious way. Excuse me for the large use of ellipses but if you check the original article you will find the meaning remains:
"They claim that the resolution imposes a litmus test on Israeli scholars....[but] not one of these claims holds up...We continue to wait for Israel's own institutions to condemn forthrightly both the occupation and the denial of academic freedom to Palestinians. In the meantime, we call on our own academic institutions to cease collaborating with Israeli universities or investing in companies that profit from the occupation."
Gee, this is so confusing. What do you call punishing people until they agree with you about something? Oh right! A litmus test! Once again dishonest BDS supporters are confronted with the uncomfortable question: are you just an idiot who doesn't know what a litmus test is, or were you lying when you said you weren't imposing one on Israeli scholars? Personally I'm going to go with the latter: BDSers lie about all kinds of things including their own intentions so it's not particularly surprising.

The thing is, this resolution isn't even saying there should be a cessation of collaboration with Israeli universities, as Lloyd himself admits:
"Only institutions and those who expressly represent them or the Israeli state are affected. Israeli scholars will remain free to research, publish, travel to conferences to present their work and opinions. They will retain all the rights that academic freedom has traditionally protected."
So in other words, an Israeli academic from the University of Haifa can come and lecture about his work, he just can't say "I'm an Israeli" or "I'm from the University of Haifa?" What does that sound like again? Oh right, a litmus test...and it violates academic freedom too because it's restricting what academics can and cannot say.

After this he whines about the Palestinians and how mean Israel is to them. The implication being that Americans should be mean to Israel because Israel is being mean to opposed to Israelis and Palestinians working together to make sure that no one is mean to anyone. That's the kind of logic that BDS doesn't like. When the whining is finished, he makes a laughable claim:
"No other country in the world has been singled out for such exceptional treatment or gets such a free pass on its injustices." 
He's correct, without meaning to be. As Norman Finkelstein and the aforementioned Noam Chomsky pointed out before, Israel is not even close to the worst country in the world or even the Middle East in terms of "injustices" being dished out to others. Finkelstein said it's now "open season for everyone to come in and say what hypocrites you are." And Lloyd really has no defense except to regurgitate the same old tired talking points about how evil Israel is while ignoring every other state that is just as bad if not worse.

Just another classic one sided Huffington Post article that the haters are eating up, but besides that it's not particularly notable. I'm sure we'll get quite a lot more if the ASA passes the bill (or not).

1 comment:

  1. Abbas in an interview in South Africa says don't boycott Israel, only settlements. Omar Barghouti the non Palestinian Qatari bds leader & student of Tel Aviv University strikes back by claiming Abbas is out of touch with his people and has no legitimate mandate to rule. Even though today Hamas doesn't have a democratically elected Mandate to rule either i doubt Barghouti will say anything about them as long as they support bds one state for Arabs movement.


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