Ahmed Moor: Why I am for academic boycott

on 47 Comments

The boycott of Israeli academics and academic institutions has always made me a little uneasy. We all read books by Israeli academics that at their humanist best elucidate and inform, and at their racist worst reveal something about the Zionist zeitgeist. I read Ha’aretz, Ynet and the Jerusalem Post on a daily basis – and communicate pretty regularly with Israelis through email (the majority of whom admittedly, are anti-Zionists). Despite all this, I do support the academic boycott. The issue is very muddy, however.

The issue of academic boycotts has achieved renewed attention here in Beirut after a Beirut-based publishing house decided to translate Amos Oz’s novel “A tale of Love and Darkness.” Oz’s books have previously been published in Arabic in both Egypt and Jordan, but the context is a little different here; Lebanon is still at war with Israel and anti-normalization currents remain strong, as they should. More recently, a professor at the American University of Beirut, Sari Hanafi, co-authored a book with two Israelis at Tel Aviv University – something that has angered many people here. Lebanese civil society is currently organizing around the issue, which is an explosive one. Hanafi appears to have made a poor decision.

Academia is usually a bastion of (relative) liberalism anywhere in the world. A recent study helped explain why; it’s something to do with type-casting. Opponents of the academic boycott of Israeli institutions can plausibly argue that Israeli academics mostly need our support and historically resist the jingoistic anti-intellectualism that runs rampant in Zionist society vis-à-vis non-Jewish human rights and anti-Zionism. I am sympathetic to their arguments, which is why I have so much trouble with this issue. But academia is easily segregated into different global disciples. What I mean to draw attention to is the fact that engineers are not post-colonial scholars and vice versa. That fact enables us to draw finer distinctions.

There is a straightforward case for boycotting Israeli engineers and others who directly enhance the occupation by, for instance, building unmanned drones. These are not the cases I wish to discuss here.

Instead, I’ll put forth a hypothetical case. Dr. Z is an anti-Zionist history lecturer at an Israeli institute of higher learning who actively contributes to the delegitimization of Zionism through his research. He feels strongly that Palestine/Israel ought to be one country and that Jewish privilege has no place in a modern democratic state. He is, in every way, an ally to the cause for equal rights in Palestine/Israel. So, why do I feel he should be boycotted?

After a lot of thought and discussion with friends, I managed to identify two principles that offer a decision-making framework on the issue of academic boycott: coercion and parity.

Boycott is a coercive measure adopted to influence the behavior of different actors. Because Israel is a democracy for Jews, it follows that Jewish people in Israel have an opportunity to correct the racist government policies of their government and society. However, there is no evidence that most Israeli Jews have the desire to relinquish Jewish privilege in Palestine/Israel. Many Israelis will decry the evils of occupation and military administration of a civilian population, but very few of those are actively willing to confront the extremists in their midst or in their government. Therefore, our boycott effort is specifically aimed at making the lives of Israeli thought leaders more difficult, so that they can exert the democratic pressure that is their sole purview to bear. It is this coercive element of BDS that compelled Avraham Burg to describe BDS as a form of violence.

I respectfully disagree with Burg; Zionist Israelis can hardly be counted on to relinquish their racial privilege in the absence of pressure. More importantly, BDS is an expression of Palestinian agency which is non-violent according to more traditional definitions of violence. I hope the reader will forgive me for not attempting to define violence in this context.

The case of Dr. Z is resistant to the coercive component of our analysis. As an anti-Zionist Israeli who actively contributes to undermining Zionism, his behavior already conforms to liberalism’s standards, which are our standards. I do not agree with those who argue that if Dr. Z is truly an anti-Zionist, he must leave Israel and all it stands for behind, like the awesome Ilan Pappe. On the contrary, the Palestine/Israel I hope to see one day will rely on these people. Nor does the argument that Dr. Z is a necessary casualty in a sledgehammer boycott, which by definition is all-encompassing, sit well with me. The idea of collateral damage is inherently illiberal and immoral in my view. 

This is where the parity principle can be engaged. Much of the important revisionist (post-Zionist?) scholarship that emerged in the past twenty years from Israel – which we rely on a great deal – emerged from an exclusivist Zionist state framework. The archival material available to Israeli researchers is simply not available to Palestinian scholarship. The Zionist state, through its institutions, has created a structural bias for Jewish scholarship in Israel. Whether that material bias is employed by Dr. Z to undermine the state or not is irrelevant in this context. Dr. Z is afforded access, exclusively because of his privileged role as an Israeli Jew. That access is not available to scholars from the Islamic University in Gaza or Birzeit University in the West Bank, for instance. The much more obvious restrictions on movement imposed by Israel on Palestinian scholars only underline my point here.

Forgetting the state of war that exists between Lebanon and Israel for a moment, let Dr. Hanafi travel abroad to promote his book with Israelis when he is capable of traveling abroad to promote a book with Palestinians from the occupied territories. Let Dr. Z promote his anti-Zionist scholarship in tandem with his peers from Al-Azhar University in the Gaza Strip.

This is the principle of parity as I understand it. 

Putting aside the theoretical framework, there are particulars which merit discussion. When Benjamin Netanyahu presented his dissembling and obfuscatory vision for a ‘two-state solution,’ Bar Ilan University provided him with a platform for his dissembling and obfuscation. The fact that Bar Ilan University embraced such an intellectually dishonest policy is important (and my claim that Bar Ilan embraced the policy by providing a platform is debatable) but not unique. Academia is supposed to provide a safe haven for competing (but illiberal? Harvard and Kramer?) ideas, and the free marketplace of collective idea adoption by laypeople acts as the litmus test by which all ideas (and products) are tested.

But I believe that the Zionist state has co-opted the intellectual legitimacy afforded by academia to its own ends. One strong example of this was Ehud Barak’s decision to upgrade the status of Ariel College, which sits in an illegal settlement, to Ariel University. In that case, the military governor of the occupied territories made a political decision to enhance the prestige and increase the funding of an institute of higher learning for whatever reason – it’s not important why he did it. To its credit, the Israeli academy strongly protested Barak’s decision.

I am making a personal judgment here that the reader may disagree with, that Israeli academic institutions are not independent of the Zionist states political aims and goals. I believe that Israeli institutions of higher learning are actually Zionist institutions of higher learning partly as a result of structural issues (funding, tenure, access, etc…), but also as a result of lived experience. The daily lives of academics and the environments they exist in inform their scholarship. In the case of Zionist Israel, that experience taints scholarship. It is true that there are Neve Gordons in Israel, but their scarcity and marginalization in the dominant Jewish Israeli society reinforces rather than disqualifies my judgment. Again, the reader may disagree here.

I mentioned earlier that we have relied on Zionist Israeli scholarship for our own understanding of history. And it is true that Zionist Israeli scientists have provided crucial breakthroughs for the material advancement of humanity; an Israeli woman – Ada Yonath –  recently received the Nobel Prize in chemistry for her pioneering work in that field. But the gains they have helped us make in medicine, technology, and numerous other fields are subordinated to liberal considerations. Scientific research is already restricted by our ethics. Psychology research, for instance, cannot expose subjects in a study to harm, construed broadly. This was not exactly the case when Stanley Milgram conducted his experiments on human suffering and proximity, from which we learned a lot, but our societies have grown since then. Israeli technology may one day cure me of cancer, but do I really want to live in world where those advancements are evaluated independently of the repressive regime in which they are realized?

To sum up, I believe that there are two moral principles that compel us to boycott Israeli academia. First, we seek to coerce Israeli thought leaders, a large portion of whom are academics, into behaving humanely towards their neighbors by more closely binding their individual activity to that of their state. Second, we seek to enforce parity across scholarship. The Zionist Israeli state is largely responsible for the extant disparities, and we are obliged to treat its academics in the same way.

About Ahmed Moor

Ahmed Moor is a Palestinian-American who was born in the Gaza Strip. He is a PD Soros Fellow, co-editor of After Zionism and co-founder and CEO of liwwa.com. Twitter: @ahmedmoor

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47 Responses

  1. Citizen
    March 12, 2010, 11:10 am

    Didn’t the boycott of Nazi Germany by “World Jewry” ignore the many positive aspects of German science and social science recognized today by democracies copycatting same, and building off them?

    Marlene Deitreich (sic?) would understand your pov, Mr Moor.

    • Chaos4700
      March 12, 2010, 11:24 am

      Yeah, heh, Citizen, that fact is something that will send Witty packing, every time.

      I’ve never actually read up on Marlene Deitrich before (spelling corrected, as I have ancestors with a similar name it I figured I’d pitch in :) ). Pretty neat.

    • aparisian
      March 12, 2010, 12:22 pm

      Wow Witty is not the first one to comment? well done Citizen! He is coming don’t worry guys!

      • Chaos4700
        March 12, 2010, 12:39 pm

        Oh, he was here briefly this morning. He waltzed in, swooned melodramatically over the virtual couch and kindly deigned to inform us that, not only is he employed, but, oh my heavens, he has to work HARD! For three days a week! I declare.

      • Chaos4700
        March 12, 2010, 1:01 pm

        You can find his comment here, in fact.

        Though, strangely, he didn’t deign to justify his token response about the “unique qualities” of Netanyahu’s and only Netanyahu’s government alne where it finds itself completely refuted by this article.

        Fancy that.

      • aparisian
        March 12, 2010, 1:03 pm

        you know Chaos4700 the settlements and the occupation cost a lot, he has to work so he can send his more US tax free dollars.

    • zamaaz
      March 14, 2010, 3:38 am

      Yes, truly indeed, to strongly sustain your pro militant Palestinian cause, you must be academic boycott, otherwise valid, legal, and formal facts and rationality dissolve your cause….Yes, You must be an academic boycott to be truly anti-Israel…

  2. Mooser
    March 12, 2010, 11:22 am

    “Marlene Deitreich (sic?)”

    Unfortunately, not just sic (sic), but deceased for lo, these many years.

    • Psychopathic god
      March 12, 2010, 12:10 pm

      you should be pun ished for that, Mooser.

      • Mooser
        March 12, 2010, 1:18 pm

        Hey, I wear the silly-string I sprayed in life…

      • DICKERSON3870
        March 12, 2010, 2:51 pm

        I just can’t seem to ‘get my mind around’ string theory.

      • radii
        March 12, 2010, 5:10 pm

        string theory (Schwarz at Caltech) essentially posits the notion of indivisible units of energy which give rise to all other forces and matter and that they resemble oscillating loops or strings … this has been taken in a new direction by Witten, who proposes branes – zones of interface between dimensional states that give rise to his version of a theory of everything

  3. Chu
    March 12, 2010, 11:31 am

    Jeff Gates interviewed on the Americas association with Israel:
    link to informationclearinghouse.info

  4. Donald
    March 12, 2010, 11:47 am

    This is a very thoughtful post and deserves a longer answer than I’ll give. Anyway, I disagree. I want anti-Zionist Israeli professors to have access to Israeli historical archives, for example. I don’t want scientists working in any country to be boycotted (unless their research is specifically involved in some way with the government’s oppressive practices).

    Also, on a practical level you’re never going to get this to fly in the US. It’s enough of a problem even getting people to agree to a boycott of weapons going to Israel–Dan Flescher over at Realistic Dove is opposed to that. Pick the battles where there moral aspect is clear and unambiguous–even then it’s an uphill fight in the American context.

    • Mooser
      March 12, 2010, 12:14 pm

      Which is making more progress, the academic and cultural boycott, or the economic boycott?
      One might have an actual economic effect, the other might have a moral and intellectual effect, even if it doesn’t shut universities in Israel down.
      I wonder if it is indeed a “moral problem”? Why can’t it just be a problem of who much Israel can destroy the Palestinians vs. what pressure can be put on Israel to stop?
      Or is the subtext here really ‘don’t provoke the Israelis, cause they’ll go crazy on the Palestinians and others.
      Besides, doesn’t Zionism pretty much posit that any moral demands placed on Israel are the result of anti-Semitism?

    • Mooser
      March 12, 2010, 12:25 pm

      “I want anti-Zionist Israeli professors to have access to Israeli historical archives, for example.”

      Why, cause somewhere in those dusty archives of parchment scrolls a secret document will be unearthed which will discredit the Israel regime, in spite of the beneficios, democratic, and pacifistic front they put up?
      Don, the entire world is just emerging, maybe, from a several hundred year spate of Western colonialism (hell, now that I think about it, it wasn’t just us), extending all over the world. The Israelis are not going to deviate very much from everything which has been tried before to meet the colonial exigencies endemic to that kind of enterprise (if “endemic” is the word I want). Heck, we know ’em all, seen ’em a hundred times: starting with conditional “citizenship” based on group status, all the way to gaining territory by conquest and settling, and ending in genocidal measures, all combined with the internal control of it’s own citizens, we could go on all day. Does it really matter if the Star of David gives Jewish colonialism a different set of scriptural references, if Arabness takes the place of blackness, if Moslem takes the place of “heathen”?
      I don’t think there are any big surprises left in the archives. I don’t think that’s the place to look for your moral compass.

      • Donald
        March 12, 2010, 7:20 pm

        I won’t argue my own position very hard, because I’m not really sure who is right. I think it is easier to make a case for targeted boycotts, but wouldn’t argue strongly against people who want to do it wholesale.

        On the archive thing, I brought that up because Ahmed did. But it does matter somewhat. Benny Morris (who is of course a racist creep) has uncovered quite a bit of evidence of Israeli massacres in 1948 and unfortunately you need Israeli evidence before it is taken seriously in the US. It’s true that one should expect, based on hundreds of years of colonial history, that there would be massacres and coverups in Israel’s history, but it’s still important to have one’s common sense suspicions confirmed, especially if you get into arguments with people like RW. Of course facts make no impression on him, but I’m glad the facts are available to discredit his position, even if he himself doesn’t admit it.

  5. prem
    March 12, 2010, 12:01 pm

    I think Jewish academic excellence precludes this.

    • Chaos4700
      March 12, 2010, 5:53 pm

      And what is that supposed to mean, exactly? One notes that neither Noam Chomsky, nor Norman Finkelstein will be impacted by this boycott in the slightest. And there are plenty of other examples.

  6. Psychopathic god
    March 12, 2010, 12:20 pm

    Boycott is a coercive measure adopted to influence the behavior of different actors. Because Israel is a democracy for Jews, it follows that Jewish people in Israel have an opportunity to correct the racist government policies of their government and society. However, there is no evidence that most Israeli Jews have the desire to relinquish Jewish privilege in Palestine/Israel. Many Israelis will decry the evils of occupation and military administration of a civilian population, but very few of those are actively willing to confront the extremists in their midst or in their government. Therefore, our boycott effort is specifically aimed at making the lives of Israeli thought leaders more difficult, so that they can exert the democratic pressure that is their sole purview to bear. It is this coercive element of BDS that compelled Avraham Burg to describe BDS as a form of violence.

    Patrick Clawson made a similar argument in defending the morality of imposing punishing sanctions — collective punishment — on the people of Iraq: According to his analysis, in democratic states, voters may rightly be held responsible for the people they voted for, and for their acts. In states where people do NOT have the ability to choose their own government, the people may still be held responsible for the acts of their despotic government because the people should have risen up against that despotism.

    If Clawson can allow himself to advance such an argument when the punishment under consideration is death by starvation (as in Iraq sanctions), or destabilization of a country’s economy by financial strangulation (as in Iran sanctions, with a soupçon of starvation, if Ephraim Sneh has his way and it comes to that sigh), then making Israeli academics a leetle bit uncomfortable should not give cause for losing one moment of sound sleep.

  7. Shmuel
    March 12, 2010, 1:03 pm

    Thanks, Ahmed. I’m not sure I agree with your parity argument, although it is perfectly sound from a moral perspective.

    Academics and academic activity directly connected to Israel’s security industries and the oppression of Palestinians are a no-brainer. Then come areas not directly related to Israel’s violations of human rights and international law, but which afford Israel legitimacy and prestige – readily exploited for hasbara purposes. I believe such areas too are eminently appropriate for BDS for a number of reasons (some obvious, others a little less so).

    Then we come to your hypothetical test case. This is where I disagree. Such academic and political activities are not only essential to educating and mobilising the world on the Palestinian issue, but they also do so at personal and professional risk. Ilan Pappe would still be in Israel had he been given the academic standing he deserved at Haifa U (which he got in England in a matter of months). There has been pressure on Ben Gurion University to dismiss Gordon. Silencing these voices simply plays into Zionist hands, as morally consistent as doing so may be.

    A side question: What if Dr. Z. were a Palestinian Israeli?

    Disclosure: I translate to and from Hebrew in the field of Judaic studies. My livelihood depends on working with Israeli academics, although (I rationalise) not in a field that brings Israel any particular prestige. I have also refused work on ideological grounds. I do recognise however, that I am somewhat of a hypocrite.

    • Citizen
      March 12, 2010, 4:24 pm

      Ah, you want to clarify how you are a self-confessed hypocrite? We’d like to know since you are among the most well-informed and objective commenters on this blog.

      • Shmuel
        March 12, 2010, 6:26 pm

        Citizen – I was referring to the fact that I preach BDS and even academic BDS, yet do most of my work for and with Israeli academics and academic institutions. I can explain (as the expression goes), but the fact remains.

      • Donald
        March 12, 2010, 7:27 pm

        Well, you’re a pretty good example of why too broad a boycott might not be a good idea. And I could have saved myself the bother of replying to Mooser just now, since you did a better job making the point I was trying to make. (And Pappe is a better example than Morris, since on a personal level Morris deserves a boycott, though his work on 1948 has been important.)

      • Evildoer
        March 13, 2010, 5:51 am

        BDS is against Israeli institutions. If you support boycott of either Pappe or Morris, you do not support BDS. In fact you are undermining the principles of BDS.

        Morris is an open racist advocating mass murder and ethnic cleansing. He should therefore be shunned and disrupted on the principle that racist speech is not tolerable. That is unrelated to BDS.

  8. radii
    March 12, 2010, 5:13 pm

    a temporary isolation of israel to wake them up to their monstrous behavior and force change upon them is long overdue, this includes academic contacts … once a more reasonable and realistic leadership emerges there – ready to deal for lasting peace – the isolation can end

  9. VR
    March 12, 2010, 5:37 pm

    There are three reasons why I would hold to academic BDS, the first is the nature of the Israeli state. There is unfortunately in this scenario the reality that everything is skewed by the colonial occupation, every institution – including education from elementary to higher. In fact academics suffers greatly as all a primed to “serve” in the IDF. As an example, we saw it in the recent polls among high school youth, but it starts much younger than this, society is completely vitiated. Therefore it in principle reaches beyond the mere institutions, it is from the very fabric of society and therefore is extant in all disciplines overtly or covertly, and therefore is showcased in the institutions.

    That flows into the second point, there is not the same equality in education afforded not only in the OT but for the Palestinian Israelis. There has never been a concerted effort by institutions of the Israeli variety to address this inequality (however, there have been small isolated efforts), in fact with the colonial system it is seen as “normal.” So if you cannot even have some semblance of equality how can you claim that it cannot be a target of BDS when it is so severely biased? (See Palestinian Vision document)

    Third and last, is the Euro-centric nature of the education, not only in the sense of the common differences, but the virulent nature of this with the colonial tincture. The nature of Orientalism cannot be avoided in any aspect of the educational process, nor any discipline employed – both in access and content.

    All of the other posts are stellar, and Mr. Moor’s is excellent. Just add this to the list of raison d’être behind BDS of education.

  10. Chaos4700
    March 12, 2010, 5:54 pm

    One notes that a lot of anti-Zionist Israeli academics (and artists and filmmakers) support BDS as well.

  11. Evildoer
    March 12, 2010, 6:02 pm

    While it is crucial for scholars in relevant fields to expose and analyze the colonial situation in Palestine, this academic imperative should not imply that one overlooks how scholarship engages this colonialism. That is, this book, as a collaboration of various scholars – Israeli and non-Israeli contributors – was completed with support from the Van Leer Institute [2]. In other words, through working under the aegis of the Van Leer Institute, this project has cooperated with one of the very institutions that PACBI and an overwhelming majority of Palestinian academics and intellectuals have called for boycotting.

    Though intellectual projects may aim to rigorously articulate the complex matrix of control that exists in Palestine, the intellectual process has a fundamental ethical and political component. As such, it is incumbent upon all scholars to realize that any collaboration which brings together Israeli and international academics (Arabs or otherwise) under the auspices of Israeli institutions is counterproductive to fighting Israeli colonial oppression, and is therefore subject to boycott.

    A project involving only Israeli academics, on the other hand, receiving support from an Israeli academic institution, may be seen as a justifiable exercise of a right or an entitlement by Israeli scholars as tax payers and, as a result, may not per se be boycottable.

    link to pacbi.org

  12. Evildoer
    March 13, 2010, 6:42 am

    While there is a lot to appreciate in the article, there are two significant failures that need addressing. These are the lack of distinction between the existence of privilege and accounting for that privilege, and the lack of attention to the principle of Palestinian leadership of the boycott campaign.

    1. Privilege and accountability

    Any justice struggle is a struggle against one sort or other of unearned privilege. And any such struggle must worry about the role of members of the privileged class in the struggle itself. You already touch it when you say: “the Palestine/Israel I hope to see one day will rely on these [anti-zionist] people.” But one cannot separate the war from its outcomes. The way one organizes the struggle will determine the range of possibilities within victory. A struggle that completely excludes members of the privileged will not be able to be transformed into a victory that relies on them. Of course, that does not mean that their participation isn’t problematic. There must be accountability for that privilege and thought about how to ensure that it doesn’t undermine the struggle. A big part of the BDS campaign is providing clear thinking on that manner. Israelis have privileges, and it is a principle of the campaign that not only they can but they should participate in the struggle by using their privileges (for example, by using state funding, academic positions, privileged access, etc. for the purpose of the struggle). They should however be accountable for that privilege and not use it to determine the direction of the struggle. For example, they should recognize the Palestinian leadership of the struggle.

    2. Palestinian leadership

    The Palestinian boycott initiative (BDS), including its academic component is not only an effective weapon against Israel but a complete modeling of the struggle, including the recreation of a pole of opposition, Palestinian self-determination and ownership of the cause after the Oslo damage that is not just a goal but also a principle of the struggle itself. Part of this work is the building of the campaign as a response to a Palestinian led call ( the BDS 2005 call), and the establishment of a Palestinian leadership that provides the campaign its moral and political compass.

    Of course, you can disagree with the direction pointed by these compasses. That is totally legitimate. But by building your arguments in isolation, without reading or reflecting on what the leadership of the BDS campaign has to say about the Hanafi-Ophir affair, and by establishing your boycott logic independently of the extensive reasoning already written as explanation and clarification of various questions, for example, the question of the role of dissident Israeli academics, you model for the reader a type of engagement that undermines the work of BDS as a form of organizing the Palestinian struggle on the basis of Palestinian leadership and self-determination.

  13. Richard Witty
    March 13, 2010, 8:27 am

    Any isolation movement is a tragedy.

    It corrupts the proponents of it. It is inneffective. And, it results in a world in which propaganda (both sides) is the only possible information that people will hear.

    It is why I call it “war”, a tactic, rather than a principled movement.

    Those that sincerely apply it as non-violent civil disobedience are already overshadowed by the negativity of isolationism.

    People don’t transform by NOT hearing of the experience of the other. They transform BY hearing of the experience of the other.

    MORE academic and social interraction is needed, not less. More moderate interraction is needed, not less moderate, and more fanatic (resulting from isolation).

    • Cliff
      March 13, 2010, 8:47 am

      You’re pathetic and grasping.

      All activism is antagonistic. Isolation is INEVITABLE. Israel’s actions are the reason for the isolation. BDS is just the response.

      BDS pales in comparison to ethnic cleansing, occupation, colonization, subjugation, etc. etc. etc.

      What you want is for things to be business as usual. You characterize this in a number of ways which everyone here has come to see through.

      You’re a liar and only care about ‘isolation’ when it’s related to Jewishness. Go to hell, you phony.

    • aparisian
      March 13, 2010, 9:49 am

      Witty you are dishonest intellectually. You ignore the context, you are a fucking bad liar snake. Zionism will fall like Nazism and communism.

      • Richard Witty
        March 13, 2010, 11:01 am

        “Liar”. again and again.

        The substance that BDS is the wrong remedy remains.

        Because of its vagueness and its isolationist orientation, it promotes fanaticsm rather than moderation, war rather than reconciliation.

        Ironically, it is exactly what Likud wants, polarization that it knows it can rely on the US and others when push comes to shove, which always occurs.

        Dissent is possible to be constructed clearly, conditionally, dynamically.

        Careless dissent is unclear, unconditional, punitive only, mechanical rather than dynamic.

      • Cliff
        March 13, 2010, 11:20 am

        BDS isn’t vague. Coming from you, anyway, that means nothing. You never cite sources. You never make substantiated arguments. You speak in abstractions.

        By and large, predictably, the opponents of BDS are Zios like yourself, Dick.

        So it’s to be expected that the people who support ethnic cleansing, racism, segregation, colonization, changing IHL to excuse Zionist crimes, etc. etc. would oppose BDS – which UNDERMINES Israel’s only strength – PR and brute force.

        So yea, you’re a liar. Always will be. Keep trying to obfuscate and divert, you failure.

      • Chaos4700
        March 13, 2010, 11:34 am

        Why aren’t you speaking out against punitive sanctions against Iran with the same vehemence, Witty? Why don’t you condemn Israel for that?

        Were you against sanctions against Iraq? How strenuously did you speak out against that?

        Better yet, what about the siege of Gaza? Why don’t you oppose that?

        Go ahead. Convince us your choices don’t make you a racist.

      • Richard Witty
        March 13, 2010, 10:59 pm

        BDS is horribly vague.

        The three demands are the case.

        1. End the occupation (Which, 67, 48, or any presence of Jews? 67 is the common meaning, but not of the single-state advocates.)
        2. Apply equal justice in Israel (Which, equal due process under the law, or some national rights)
        3. Right of return (Which, the right of those born in geographic Israel to be citizens, or children and grandchildren of those born in geographic Israel even if the children and grandchildren have never seen Israel, or any of any claimed Palestinian descent)?

        So, which meanings, the minimalist that cannt rationally be argued against, or the maximalist that causes complete dismissal of the cause by any rational, kind person that is not already converted to the “true religion”?

        And, if the maximalist are part of the pallette, why waste the world’s time on this? Why cause additional conflict over the vague fantasy?

      • Chaos4700
        March 13, 2010, 11:31 pm

        You just spelled out three distinct points and you still insist BDS is vague?!

        I honestly can’t figure out of you are mentally deficient, or if you’re full of so much hubris that you think you can treat the rest of us as if we were by burying outlandish contradictions in your own posts.

  14. Richard Witty
    March 13, 2010, 3:00 pm

    There is no functional sanctions against Iran. Oil is a fungible commodity that is not easy to distinguish crude from an Iranian source from an Iraqi, Kuwaiti, or Saudi.

    Sanctions against Iran do not affect their ability to survive, so long as it is dependant on oil, which it is.

    Sanctions against Israel is on Israeli’s work, Israeli’s community. It is an artificial intrusion into the relationships of MANY enterprises and families.

    Iran is large, and can function as an integrated whole, whereas Israel cannot. It must exchange to survive.

    Maybe that is a source of “power” to you.

    My sense is that you regard anyone that doesn’t agree with your abstractions as speaking in abstractions.

    I’m unclear still as to what your goal is.

    Is it, to remove Israel as a state, replaced by a single bi-national or other configured state?

    Is it to press Israel for reforms to realize a viable two-state?

    Those are specifics, not abstractions.

    My goal is a combination of two-state in the political window, and a coexistence and voluntary association (whether separated or integrated) in the social.

    I support the underlying goals of the BDS demand, when stated as minimalist and strongly oppose them in their vague and maximalist interpretations.

    And, I do not see any way that the BDS movement fosters any co-existence or integration effort.

    Do you?

    • Chaos4700
      March 13, 2010, 3:15 pm

      So, to clarify:

      Sanctions against the “Jewish state” is wrong, because it compromises the “family” obligations of Jews outside of Israel to the state of Israel, as opposed, say, their obligations to the various countries they are citizens of. Or to the greater context of human rights and international law.

      Sanctions against Iran are not really sanctions at all, because… well, they’re not Jewish, because Iranians are all “Aye-rab oil shieks,” in spite of the fact they aren’t really Arabic per se, as a majority.

      So, to sum it up: Witty is against sanctions against anyone he considers Jewish, and his against calling sanctions against Iran “sanctions.” And of course, Palestinians in Gaza can starve to death, Mein Kampf-style, for all he cares because the plight of Palestinians are COMPLETELY INVISIBLE to Witty and they don’t even count as human beings, so why trifle with extending human rights to Palestinians?

      Witty, there is no integrating with Jewish supremacists like you. You don’t care about our rights, our safety or our security. You are the one who rejects social integration and democracy. You are the ones that Jews need Jews-only gated communities. Not us.

    • James Bradley
      March 13, 2010, 3:31 pm

      Current sanctions against Iran have had a crippling effect on the Iranian economy. What BDS proposes is nothing compared to the sanctions we have put on Iran.


      And, I do not see any way that the BDS movement fosters any co-existence or integration effort.

      That’s not the problem Richard. The problem is that the Israeli occupation, apartheid, ongoing ethnic cleansing, and mass murder of innocent Palestinian civilians makes it IMPOSSIBLE for Palestinians and Israelis to co-exist and integrate.

      BDS proposes that we boycott, divest, and sanction Israel until it ends its abusive colonial apartheid policies against the Palestinians.

      Once Israel ends the occupation, blockade, apartheid, and ethnic cleansing, then the process of healing can begin.

      At the current moment in time you ask for co-existence and integration whilst the Israelis have a knife jabbed deep into the beating heart of their Palestinian victim.

      How can the Palestinians co-exist with such a neighbor? You need to remove that knife (end the occupation, blockade, apartheid etc), allow that wound to heal (process of reconciliation), and when that wound is finally healed and the Palestinians are not the victim of Zionist supremacy you can begin real substantial final settlement peace talks.

      At the current moment in time you are currently demanding that the Palestinians who are currently occupied people be forced to come to the negotiating table and negotiate with their occupier who has a gun pointed to their temple.

      Do you see how ridiculous you sound?

      • Richard Witty
        March 13, 2010, 11:03 pm

        And, do you see how ridiculous you sound in urging a single-state that is meant to be integrated, while pursuing an academic and cultural boycott that makes it impossible to function.

        Better that you agitate for integration on the non-rhetorical and undeniable applications of law. And, actually work to make it possible.

        Likud Israel is intolerable. Liberal Zionism on the other hand is wonderful.

        Isolating Israel makes likud Israel cemented, rather than just selected.

      • Chaos4700
        March 13, 2010, 11:34 pm

        And, do you see how ridiculous you sound in urging a single-state that is meant to be integrated, while pursuing an academic and cultural boycott that makes it impossible to function.

        Oh, I get it. You assume we would run BDS as if we were your blessed Israelis running the Gaza blockade — that is, that we’d be out there burning farms, shelling fields, confiscating supplies and trying to sink any economic or humanitarian aid coming into Gaza, continuously, no matter what kind of cease fire the Israelis respected.

        We aren’t Israelis, Witty.

  15. Evildoer
    March 13, 2010, 3:28 pm

    I think it is time to admit that all these folks who claim to hate Witty are fakin it. Admit it! He’s the life of the party. His temporary failure to post creates genuine anxiety, and the whole mondo community behaves like a village that lost its village idiot.

    Common Witty, I’m sure you know the monologue from ‘The Merchant of Venice.’ Give us the performance of your lifetime! You will never be loved as you are here.

    • Chaos4700
      March 13, 2010, 3:30 pm

      I wish I could be there the day his own children (hopefully) figure out that he’s a farce of a Jew.

      • VR
        March 14, 2010, 2:49 am

        Perhaps Chaos4700, but remember this – those who can get you to believe absurdities can get you to commit atrocities (Voltaire, loosely put).

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