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Do Palestinian-Americans get to register an opinion on academic boycott?

Israel/Palestine
on 27 Comments
Judt

Judt

Last week the Nation ran a piece dubious of academic boycott by Michelle Goldberg. Yesterday it published two more pieces, pro and contra: Alex Lubin’s call for the American Studies Association to pass a resolution for academic boycott of Israel and Ari Kelman’s piece against the measure.

So it would appear that the Nation has now published three Jewish writers on the matter. Let us be clear: This is a reflection of the importance of Jewish voices inside the left (an importance that our site also seeks to parlay). But let’s also be clear, these assignments reinforce an ugly color-bar on speech. Years ago, I asked, Do the goyim get to register an opinion on Walt and Mearsheimer (after virtually every review had been assigned to Jews). Indeed, when the late Tony Judt wrote positively about those authors in the New York Times, he was asked by editors to identify himself as Jewish. The editors knew: the piece would then carry weight inside the community they think matters the most.

On his twitter feed, Scott Roth, who is Jewish, says this discourse has to change. He wrote that “there should be Palestinian viewpoints on this issue” in the Nation. (And Roth is both our publisher and on The Nation’s team).

Lubin’s piece is excellent. It is plainspoken about why we single Israel out; and notice how Lubin walks right by the charged issue of Right of Return by describing Israeli policy as “forced exile.”

Boycotts are the weapons of the dispossessed; they are pleas for global solidarity from people who have few other forms of power. They are peaceful attempts to disrupt business as usual by setting up a global picket-line and by asking us not to cross that picket line. The ASA National Council has heeded Palestinians’ call for an academic boycott, and ASA members have been asked to give their endorsement.

The boycott movement has clearly defined goals of ending the occupation, ending discrimination against Palestinians with Israeli citizenship and ending forced exile and ongoing expulsion of Palestinians from their homes. All three of these place profound restrictions on Palestinian academic life….

As former ASA President Amy Kaplan has pointed out, the occupation is a de facto Israeli boycott of Palestinian academe, and Americans pick-up the bill. While the ASA boycott asks members not to establish relationships with Israeli institutions, it does not prevent Israeli scholars from attending the ASA conference, nor does it prevent ASA members from collaborating with Israeli scholars. Most importantly, the boycott acknowledges and seeks to address the actual and ongoing violation of Palestinian academic freedom.

The ASA boycott targets Israeli academia for legitimate reasons. The United States and Israel share a “special relationship” that links American taxpayers to Israeli state policies and hence to the occupation. Israel is the single largest recipient of US foreign aid, and the US has frequently used its veto in the United Nation’s Security Council to prevent international condemnation of Israeli violations of international law in the state’s treatment of Palestinians. In this way, the US is a third, indeed an interested, party to the Israeli occupation.

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27 Responses

  1. Citizen
    Citizen
    December 14, 2013, 12:21 pm

    Don’t know where to put this. The House Foreign Affairs Committee is now discussing and questioning Kerry on the nuclear deal with Iran. It’s on CSPAN, 10-1240PM today.
    Rep Brad Sherman (D Calif) is now saying Iran is getting lots of investors and its centrifuges are rolling. He’s saying it’s not safe to wait to employ more sanctions while Iran is churning out nuclear energy. Says we need to stop said energy being converted now during the interim deal. Kerry says Sherman’s setting up a straw man.

    Kerry: We are committed to additional sanctions on Iran if we fail. I ask you not to do sanctions now. Iran has 19ooo centrifuges, which they are not allowed to hook up now. If they do, Iran knows we have the capacity to stop that militarily and that has not been taken off the table.

    Rep Chris Smith (R NJ): US has abandoned (named) Christian imprisoned in Iran. Devastating US abandoned him in the Iran deal.

    Kerry: We have not linked this directly to the nuclear deal. We didn’t want that play which Iran can counter. There are back channels we use.

    Smith: The Christian is at risk of death now.
    Kerry: We are trying our best.
    Smith: Why trust Iran?
    Kerry: It’s trust and verify. We believe the subject would be risky pawns.
    Smith: Israel released four Iranians, was that linked?
    Kerry: No. Iranians support terrorism, but that is not tied to Iran deal either because it’s a lower priority.

    Rep Albio Sires (D, NJ): Who determines the timing of sanctions?
    Kerry: We will. We will brief you in congress as we go along.
    Sires: Will you say we need more time?
    Kerry: There’s an outside chance we can do it in 6 months. We’d be reluctant to extend the time.
    Sires: It will send a bad message if the time period is extended. I don’t know if this diplomatic effort is serious on part of Iran.
    Kerry: It’s my job to lay down ways to measure that. This is based on test and verify.
    Sires: Iranian regime doesn’t care what their own people think.
    Kerry: The Iranian supreme leader is just that.

    Rep Dana Rochrabacher (R Calif): He’s not even addressing the issue, going on about other stuff, not involving Iran, examples, he says of “test and verify” as groveling.

    Rep Ted Deutch (D FLA): If we don’t set some marker saying if there’s no deal, 6 mo or 12, we should put sanctions in place in case there’s no deal. Why not make clear what will happen if Iran doesn’t deal?

    Kerry: Iran knows what the stakes are. We told them no new sanctions during this deal; if congress makes some, it’s going off on its own. If they do, Iran has a right to object. We are negotiating so Iran doesn’t get nukes, not just to be negotiating.

    Deutch: Let’s t it up with sanctions certain. Why not? Sanctions relief to export oil–

    Kerry: We put in place for China, India, etc a place to get oil (Iran) when they really need it.

    Rep Joe Wilson (R S Carolina). I agree with Bibi and Bolton this Iran agreement is a mistake, is putting S Arabia, Israel, Gulf states, etc at risk. Iran may have gained all the time it needs to have dozens of nukes. This is a bipartisan concern, the America people are concerned.

    Kerry: Issue is what will we do about a sudden breakout (of Iranian nukes)?
    Under our plan Iran is going in the contrary way, minimizing such a breakout.

    Rep Ami Bera (D Calif): Given Iran’s history, we remain skeptical of Iran. Any agreement must lengthen nuclear breakout by Iran. How can we guarantee Iran won’t enrich above 3%?

    Kerry: Purpose of our 1st step is to know with certainty what Iran is doing. They are allowing access to their underground and all nuke facilities. This framework allows us to assure Israel, and skeptical Arab states this is a peaceful Iranian program. It’s up to Iran to show us how far they will go to show us its a peaceful program.

    Rep Michael McCaul (R TX): This deal sends message its ok for a state sponsor of terrorism to enrich. Iran can hit Israel and EU, and USA by 2015.
    Iran is playing N Korea playbook & USA. Don’t lift any sanctions until Iran ends its nuclear enrichment of uranium.

    Kerry: Iran is very limited in what it will be able to do. Iran has accepted severe restraints, limited to practical medical needs. It will not be possible for Iran to turn its enrichment to nuke weapons when this deal is done with Iran. This makes objectors more secure.

    Rep Gerald Connolly (D VA): Why have an interim agreement when only a final agreement is effective?

    Kerry: It’s not an interim agreement, but a first step towards a final agreement. We are not getting sucked into the N Korea trap. So we worked to hold things as they are until we can get more.

    Connolly: What’s in it for Iran?

    Kerry: Iran wants to get out from other sanctions; their economy is in shambles. The supreme leader was not the choice of Iran’s current president.

    Rep Ted Poe (R TX): Re Iran’s IBMs–Israeli leaders told me those are being developed against US. Iran has a new smooth talker, but hangs his own people while doing so. Iran killed folks in Camp A–etc. Has the Supreme Leader changed his stance that Iran wants to eliminate Israel and USA.

    Kerry: No. Do I believe? Iran’s rhetoric is dangerous and threatening, counterproductive.

    Poe: Iran got a nuke bomb, would others in the region?

    Kerry: Yes. Everybody plays to their constituency. While Obama is POTUS, Iran will not get a nuke bomb.

    Rep JUan Vargas (D Calif)
    I am totally against this Iran deal. We need a comprehensive deal. Why be naive?

    Kerry: It’s not naive. I’ve been thinking about this for years. Ratcheting up the sanctions? The Russians, Chinese, Eu will not be with us on this. US Intel hardliners are not either. Iran won’t surrender to the Great Satan in such a case, because that’s all US understands. We are at a level of reasonableness that is new. Before war, better exhaust diplomacy, which we are doing–and the options to war remain, as always.

    Rep Matt Salmon (R Ariz): Who will be accountable if Iran Deal fails?

    Kerry: I’m hanging out there–I know I will be held accountable.

    Salmon: With the $7B coming into Iran, will you assure me none of it will kill an American soldier?

    Kerry: The money is fungible. I can’t promise this.

    Salmon: Iran can get peace nuclear power by buying it abroad. A small quantity of 20% can be jacked up quickly.

    Kerry: For 6 months they can’t do that. We think it’s important to sit down and try to resolve this.

    Rep David Cicilline (D RI): Speak to Iran default on what they promised.

    Kerry: Iran does not expect us to pass new sanctions during the 6 month.

    Cicilline: What about the dual use issue? The widow allows this opportunity it seems to me.

    • David Doppler
      David Doppler
      December 14, 2013, 1:17 pm

      Thanks, Citizen,
      The Lobby is watching them, so they tailor their questions accordingly. If the public watches, too, then the questions will change. I want to see someone ask, “how much damage is done to your process by Congress trying to legislate diplomacy.”

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        December 14, 2013, 3:37 pm

        @ David Doppler
        It’s really sickening to watch these congressional goy dullards polish their AIPAC- sucking credentials in public. Absolutely disgusting. Of course, President Johnson led the way, beginning with his kicking the crew of the USS Liberty to the curb. Actually before that, just as soon as JFK, arch-enemy of Israel’s grab for the bomb, was coincidentally killed. With that assassination the life of the last POTUS to directly tell Israel US interests don’t always coincide with Israel’s ended.

    • Ron Edwards
      Ron Edwards
      December 15, 2013, 10:47 am

      I can’t even make it past halfway through that transcript. What ultimately exhausted me was Kerry’s failure to obliterate every speaker’s arrant falsehoods with simple, accurate statements. Like, “Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program.” “It is not possible to have ‘nukes’ quickly now or later.” “Iran has not lied to us about nuclear weaponry. Israel has.” “Iran’s ‘history’ with the U.S. is defined by coping with our abuse, control, and assumption of their vassal status.”

  2. annie
    annie
    December 14, 2013, 1:02 pm

    He wrote that “there should be Palestinian viewpoints on this issue” in the Nation.

    and other non jewish voices too (the vast majority of americans who prop up this criminal state are neither jews nor palestinians). our silence, or our perceived silence, is at the heart of the matter. because even if the nation publishes palestinian views that still sets up a discourse between jews and palestinians. and if we’re going to turn this thing around we need all the people.

    maybe the nation doesn’t know any non jewish writers who care about this issue. maybe they don’t think it’s relevant what non jews think about the academic boycott.

    i wonder how many voting members of the ASA are neither palestinians or jews. and would they be the majority of the voters? who are the majority of americans impacted by our country going down the drain supporting this criminal apartheid state and all their little whims, like iran sanctions and invading iraq.

    • pabelmont
      pabelmont
      December 14, 2013, 1:42 pm

      Annie: Palestinian voices should be heard JUST TO BE HEARD — they are people too. Also, they are (sometimes) more knowledgeable about specifics than others. Also, the act of ALLOWING PALESTINIAN VOICES TO BE HEARD is a valuable act for The Nation (and others) and doing that act — if they did do that act — would empower other publications to do it also.

      But, that said, there are a huge majority of people in the USA who are neither Jews nor Palestinians and their voices should also be heard, and their ethical-voice muscles should be flexed. I’d like to hear Native American voices, [email protected] voices, Asian and South Asian voices.

      And Palestinian voices are not the only voices being silenced: keeping the discussion to Jews alone acts to tell all others to butt out. This is the USA’s MSM telling most Americans to butt out. “None of your business,” our MSM is telling Americans.

      Where are the leadership — if any — of the Churches and other religious establishments on this (and many other) questions?

      Hey, The Nation, is America a democracy, ur wuht?

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        December 14, 2013, 3:42 pm

        RE: Where are the leadership — if any — of the Churches and other religious establishments on this (and many other) questions?

        Quakers, for example? Methodists? They seem to have no media appeal whatsoever.

      • Pamela Olson
        Pamela Olson
        December 15, 2013, 11:51 am

        Christians calling for a boycott of “the Jewish state” is deeply taboo, I’m afraid, especially in the timid mainstream media. It’s a miracle churches are even talking about it amongst themselves. It’s a testament to how bad things have gotten for Palestinians, and how hard it is to hide that from determined people of conscience.

      • American
        American
        December 15, 2013, 12:21 pm

        Pamela Olson says:
        December 15, 2013 at 11:51 am
        Christians calling for a boycott of “the Jewish state” is deeply taboo, I’m afraid, especially in the timid mainstream media. It’s a miracle churches are even talking about it amongst themselves.
        >>>>>
        The mainline Christian churches in the US (and elsewhere) have already broken that taboo with their letter to congress saying Israel aid should stop or be conditioned because of I/P.
        But you’re right, the media kept that out of the news….and congress ignored it..so far.
        “If’ the churches letter to congress had made it into the news and had even given as much attention as a news report on a car wreck in Lizard Lick it would had done untold damage to the Lobby/Israel and zionist.

      • Walid
        Walid
        December 14, 2013, 4:57 pm

        “Palestinian voices should be heard JUST TO BE HEARD ” (Pabelmont)

        I have to disagree with you on that one; they should be heard because they have something to say and the ones to be saying them are not the stuttering bumbling Palestinian incoherent spokesmen that are seen on TV but the eloquent ones. The ones that are appear to be silencing those are the Palestinians themselves. How else would you explain that the super eloquent Dina Butto is not speaking on behalf of Palestinians in an official capacity? She quit as assistant to Abbas in 2005 as negotiator on the team. She was discouraged with the way things never improved. In the short video below, she describes what went wrong, how it will continue to go wrong for Palestinians in the short run and what must change to turn things around:

    • German Lefty
      German Lefty
      December 14, 2013, 5:54 pm

      and other non jewish voices too (the vast majority of americans who prop up this criminal state are neither jews nor palestinians). our silence, or our perceived silence, is at the heart of the matter. because even if the nation publishes palestinian views that still sets up a discourse between jews and palestinians.

      Exactly! I was just going to write the same. The conflict affects everyone in the Western world. Without the support by Western governments, Israel wouldn’t be able to commit its crimes. Our politicians support Israel against our will.

      He wrote that “there should be Palestinian viewpoints on this issue” in the Nation.

      Probably “The Nation” thinks that this is redundant. I mean, BDS is a Palestinian call. Therefore the logical conclusion is that, of course, Palestinians support BDS. That’s why there’s no need to ask Palestinians about their viewpoint on BDS. BDS itself is the Palestinian viewpoint.

      So it would appear that the Nation has now published three Jewish writers on the matter. Let us be clear: This is a reflection of the importance of Jewish voices inside the left

      Not necessarily. Perhaps it’s just a reflection of the fact that Israel calls itself a “Jewish state”.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        December 15, 2013, 10:51 am

        @ German Lefty

        Yes, the Israeli government always justifies what it does as in behalf of all Jews world wide. They believe it, and they also use this tactic to minimize critique of Israel’s conduct. This makes it hard for Jews critical of Israel, and it makes it triple hard for Goys critical of Israel’s conduct. This conflation is not going to go away. Personally, I think it is an unseen set up for the next Holocaust, which will be recorded by Jewish history scholars and politicians as just another example of eternal anti-semitism, and by world (Goy) historians as something not to really get into. This is not a good state of affairs for the future.

      • German Lefty
        German Lefty
        December 15, 2013, 5:43 pm

        I think it is an unseen set up for the next Holocaust

        That’s an overstatement. However, I agree that the crimes of the self-declared “Jewish state” worsen the reputation of Jews. Zionist propaganda is so successful that when it comes to Jews, there is a “Zionist assumption”. Jews are automatically suspected of Zionism. If they don’t want to be regarded as Zionists, they have to actively come out as non-Zionist.

  3. Hostage
    Hostage
    December 14, 2013, 1:06 pm

    Smith: The Christian is at risk of death now.
    Kerry: We are trying our best.
    Smith: Why trust Iran?

    Bradley Manning had to make plea deal to avoid the death penalty right here in the land of the free and the home of the brave. In the dwindling number of countries that still have a death penalty, espionage is still considered a valid capital offense. If you don’t want the Iranians to view the USA as an enemy state, then you should probably stop adopting legal sanctions that it considers to be acts of war.

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      December 14, 2013, 3:45 pm

      @ Hostage
      Rep Chris Smith (R NJ) won’t get your memo. If he does, he’d just ignore it. So what’s your point?

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        December 14, 2013, 4:53 pm

        Rep Chris Smith (R NJ) won’t get your memo. If he does, he’d just ignore it. So what’s your point?

        That he’s a complete ignoramus if he thinks attempts to tie yet another US spying scandal to the difficulties of the permanent round of Geneva negotiations will go over like anything but a lead balloon with the Iranians or our P5+1 partners.

  4. David Doppler
    David Doppler
    December 14, 2013, 1:24 pm

    Of course Palestinians deserve a voice. And Walt, Mearsheimer, Chas Freeman, too, whose scars continue to warn off “neutral” intelligentsia about the cost of treating this issue as anything other than “Jews only.” Those who inflict those scars need to be held accountable, called out and shamed.

  5. Krauss
    Krauss
    December 14, 2013, 1:24 pm

    At least people are talking about this colorline, this racial demarcation zone.
    Better than it being the 800-pound gorilla in the room which nobody wants to adress.

    Remnick referred to it on the Charlie Rose discussion, where the three guests were all Jews, noting a complete lack of Palestinians even if the entire population under Israel’s control(Gaza, West Bank included) is 50% Palestinian.

    Never the less, at least the Nation is debating the issue. Hopefully we will get to see what Munayyer has to say in the pages of the Nation, and not just a Jewish club, which tends to be the case on the Israeli/Palestine conflict in the American discourse.

    But let’s not be hypocritical. I’ll freely admit I am more interesting in a Jewish site which is progressive on Middle Eastern issues than a site run by non-Jews. Because the basic framework, even if non-Zionist, is much more relevant to my personal experiences. But we should be open about this.

  6. PeaceThroughJustice
    PeaceThroughJustice
    December 14, 2013, 3:10 pm

    I thought Lubin’s piece was good. BTW, he’s the son of Barbara Lubin (founder of MECA).

  7. Citizen
    Citizen
    December 14, 2013, 3:27 pm

    The USA taxpayers fund a unique federal agency devoted to monitor and fight anti-semitism in the whole world. US is 98% non-Jewish, and bankrupt. I don’t get it. This seems absurd until I look at Zionists dollars and the US campaign finance system. Anyway, beyond the rule of plutocrats in USA, you should be aware that criticizing Israel is a sign of jew hatred according to the US agency monitoring and fighting anti-semitism: http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/fs/2010/122352.htm

    From the official US website of this very peculiar federal agency:

    “What is Anti-Semitism Relative to Israel?
    EXAMPLES of the ways in which anti-Semitism manifests itself with regard to the state of Israel, taking into account the overall context could include:

    DEMONIZE ISRAEL:

    Using the symbols and images associated with classic anti-Semitism to characterize Israel or Israelis
    Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis
    Blaming Israel for all inter-religious or political tensions
    DOUBLE STANDARD FOR ISRAEL:

    Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation
    Multilateral organizations focusing on Israel only for peace or human rights investigations
    DELEGITIMIZE ISRAEL:

    Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, and denying Israel the right to exist
    However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as anti-Semitic.”

    • Peter in SF
      Peter in SF
      December 15, 2013, 3:33 am

      Citizen, thanks for pointing this out. Some of this is written in such a way as to be deliberately incomprehensible.

      DELEGITIMIZE ISRAEL:
      Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, and denying Israel the right to exist

      What does it even mean to deny “the Jewish people” (why not simply “Jewish people”?) their right to self-determination? Are we supposed to read this the way we’d read it when some other group is named? Does any American understand the meaning of such concepts as
      – “denying the Swedish people their right to self-determination” (Huh? Would anyone actually feel threatened by such denial?)
      – “denying the Cuban people their right to self-determination” (Hm, sounds like one of Castro’s formulations of grievances against the U.S.)
      – “denying the Quebecois people their right to self-determination” (Sounds pro-separatist)
      – “denying the Mormon people their right to self-determination” (Er, um, I guess we don’t really believe they have such a right)
      – “denying the Christian people their right to self-determination” (Don’t really want to go there)
      – “denying the African-American people their right to self-determination” (Yikes, trouble!)

      And then there are the classic weasel words about “denying Israel the right to exist”. Is that supposed to be like denying the Islamic Republic of Iran the right to exist, or is it supposed to be like denying Iran the right to exist? If I deny Israel’s right to give preference to foreign Jews over its own natives, does that mean that I deny Israel’s right to exist? What if I say Israel doesn’t have the right to keep out its forced exiles? Does that constitute denying Israel’s right to exist? If somebody who lives in Israel advocates turning Israel into an Islamic state and changing its name to Palestine, are they denying Israel’s right to exist? What if they advocate the same thing but without the name change — are they then NOT denying Israel the right to exist?

    • Peter in SF
      Peter in SF
      December 15, 2013, 4:24 am

      Just considering American history, if the State Department were to have a special agency to monitor and fight hatred against members of some particular group around the world, it would make the most sense for the group to be Blacks, i.e., people of African descent, no? And this wouldn’t just be inventing a problem where none exists, because there are plenty of anti-Black hate crimes in several European countries, even if we ignore Israel.

      But if we were just considering American history, it would make a lot more sense for the middle of the nation’s capital to have a museum devoted to African-American slavery (which there isn’t) than one devoted to mass murder of Europeans by Europeans in Europe (which there is).

  8. Les
    Les
    December 14, 2013, 3:29 pm

    Do American Jews opposed to Israel’s ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians deserve to get mentioned in our American media, whose owners are mostly Jewish?

  9. bilal a
    bilal a
    December 14, 2013, 8:59 pm

    This is a reflection of the importance of Jewish voices inside the left (an importance that our site also seeks to parlay).

    restated it sounds a tad ethnocentric:

    This is a reflection of the importance of White voices inside the right (an importance that our site also seeks to parlay).

    • Marco
      Marco
      December 15, 2013, 2:03 am

      Thanks. Restated it sounds more than a tad ethnocentric.

      Actually, I’d argue the original statement is worse.

      The right in the U.S. really is heavily skewed towards whites, for better or for worse. But the left is extremely diverse. So, there’s actually more justification for a right-wing site to promote white commentators than there is a for a left-wing site to provide a platform for Jewish ones.

  10. Citizen
    Citizen
    December 15, 2013, 10:16 am

    According to Wiki, as of 2012, about 46% of Palestinian Americans have at least a college degree, compared to 18% of the American population. I deduce from this that their voice is not heard because they don’t have enough really rich political donors, and they have no control or influence in the handful of corporations that make up the US mainstream media. The same goes generally for Arab Americans. BTW, most Palestinian Americans are Christians. I bet you never saw that discussed in US mainstream media, or on the Christian tv channels.

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