Monday, December 23, 2013

Palsbarists Rally Around Boycotts, Palsbara in Action?

The Huffington Post, after ignoring the ASA resolution to impose an academic boycott on Israel for days on end, published a flurry of op-eds about it in addition to the couple that they have already shared. Shockingly, they actually included a couple of articles that criticized the decision: one by Professor Feisal G. Mohammad at Illinois and the other by President Michael Roth of Wesleyan University. You are probably familiar with what they have to say: academic boycotts are contrary to the fundamental ideals of the university, and as Prof. Mohammad pointed out there's no good reason to single out Israel:
"The "Israel" it has in mind is in no small measure not the actual nation but the symbolic one, which, in the collective imagination of many, represents the inequities of western imperialism generally and of US imperialism in particular. Focused on this object of reproach, a group can solidify its self-identification as united in the cause of justice."
The reaction in the Israel hating talk back section was very informative. First of all, anti-Israel and pro-boycott comments were routinely handed more than 25 favorites, which made me wonder if BDSers were gaming the articles (something they have done before), as that is much greater than we have sen among Huffington Post articles. Especially after the recent comment change policy.

But what was most notable was the argument that the pro-boycotts bring to the table: namely, the lack of one. All they had to say was endless variations on "Israel sucks," which in fact proves Prof. Mohammad's point and doesn't explain why academic boycotts are acceptable, though they do try and justify why Israel is singled out.

I especially like this one: "I can't understand how you can represent the boycott as an attack on academic freedom...moving on!"

Like I said, to be a Huffington Post Israel hater rational thought is not required.

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