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Dan Rabinowitz’s response to Nadia Abu El-Haj on BDS

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On November 9th 2015, Nadia Abu El-Haj posted an ‘open letter’ to me, “Let’s Get our Facts Straight about BDS,” in response to an op-ed piece I published in  Haaretz a few days earlier. Here is my brief response to her.

On Edward Said: I never claimed that had Said been alive he would have been opposed to BDS. I know that Noam Chomsky, who shared many of Edward’s views, recently spoke against BDS. But I cannot tell what Edward’s position would have been, so I did not. I did say that BDS slammed Said’s Diwan,  the Israeli-Palestinian youth orchestra project that remains an important part of his good legacy.

On anti-semitism: Abu El-Haj paraphrases me correctly when she invokes my observation that BDS is not being honest about the endgame it seeks. What I find bewildering is her claim that by indexing this I ‘raise the specter of anti-semitism‘. I never thought BDS to be anti-semitic, and am not inclined to change my mind if an odd anti-semite occasionally jumps on its band wagon. I do insist that BDS is duplicitous. My article attempts to shed some light on the political agenda which drives this doubletalk, spiraling BDS (and Anthroboycott behind it) into all kinds of contradictions and confusion.

On economic sanctions against Israeli companies: I never claimed they do not happen. I argued that BDS’s leadership, which focuses almost exclusively on academic boycott, does very little to promote them. My article suggests an explanation for this bizarre strategic choice.

On Israeli universities: I never claimed that ‘Israeli universities are overwhelmingly in favor of dialogue and compromise’ as Abu El-Haj misquotes me. I did say that Israeli universities are ‘inhabited by individuals who, like Said in his time, are overwhelmingly in favor of dialogue and compromise’. When it comes to the distinction between individuals and institutions, Abu El-Haj, like most protagonists of academic boycott, seems to become confused.

On BDS’s endgame: Abu El-Haj returns to this in her last paragraph, promising to refute my assertion about BDS’s real intentions and ‘get our facts straight’. I read that paragraph, then read it once again. I am thankful for the illustration it provides of my main argument in Haaretz. QED.

On Syntax: Letters can be significant and moving because they use the second person, directly addressing their recipients. Nadia Abu El-Haj’ and I have had our conversations and collaborations in the past. We know each other personally. I notice now however that even as she writes a text she calls ‘a  letter’ to me, she cannot bring herself to address me in the customary second person. Being an individual and not an institution, I wonder: do protocol-abiding boycotters need approval from a yet to be perfected clause in a future sub-section of one of PACBI handbook’s convoluted chapters before they can engage in direct public dialogue with someone like me?

On boycott and personal relations: Anthroboycott insists that it  targets institutions, not individuals. I and other Israeli anthropologists obviously have personal acquaintances amongst anthroboycottists. When the campaign to boycott us began we expected those of them who identify themselves publicly as supportive of a boycott to reach out, at least on personal communication channels, and put our minds at ease. We are still waiting. Is distinguishing the personal from the institutional and the political proving to be impossible so early in the day? Where will we all be AFTER our colleagues have passed a boycott resolution against ‘our institutions’?

 

 

 

 

 

About Dan Rabinowitz

Prof. Dan Rabinowitz teaches Anthropology at Tel-Aviv University. He is Co-founder of Anthropologists for Dialogue on Israel and Palestine, a former President of the Israeli Anthropological Association and of Greenpeace Mediterranean and current Chairman of the Association for Environmental Justice in Israel. He has books on Israel/Palestine published by Cambridge, UC Berkeley and Ashgate, and articles in American Ethnologist, JRAI, Critical Inquiry, IJMES, JAR, Ethnic and Racial Studies and more.

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36 Responses

  1. pgtl10
    pgtl10
    November 14, 2015, 12:57 pm

    This response to Nadia Abu El-Haj’s article is not convincing at all. Dan Rabinowitz is simply saying everything Nadia said is a lie without actually providing evidence why. Nadia’s article and criticism is actually pretty convincing.

    Dan’s argument that BDS’ is being duplicitous is rebutted by Nadia pointing to BDS’ stated goals. Dan provide no further argument aginst Nadia.

    Dan’s claim of BDS focusing on academics is also rebutted by Nadia. Dan provides no argument to disprove Nadia’s assertions.

    Dan wants his colleagues to consult him about the boycott. I feel this is ridiculous. Dan is not some authority on whether wants to boycott. Palestinians do not need permission to boycott. Dan’s statement reeks of elitism and patronizing. He attempts to usurp Palestinian goals to conform them to an interest that is more comfortable to his privileges.

    In sum, all Dan does in the article is issue a general denial and claim he needs to be consulted by Palestinians before taking action.

    This is a very weak rebuttal.

    • annie
      annie
      November 14, 2015, 1:50 pm

      i agree. Dan Rabinowitz argument is disingenuous and there’s likely a reason he never quoted Nadia Abu El-Haj specifically. examples:

      I never claimed that had Said been alive he would have been opposed to BDS….. I cannot tell what Edward’s position would have been, so I did not.

      here’s what Nadia Abu El-Haj wrote:

      Rabinowitz’s invocation strikes me as particularly cynical: Since Said can no longer speak for himself, Rabinowitz speaks for him: See it’s not just me. Even Edward Said, that very icon of Palestinian politics, would have been against the academic boycott. PACBI has attacked even him. In the hands of Rabinowitz, Said’s legacy is harnessed in defense of the privilege of a left-liberal Ashkenazi Jew who enjoys (full) citizenship in the Israeli state even as its increasingly harsh racial regime makes life ever more unlivable for Palestinians subjected to its rule.

      Let’s see if that’s true. Dan Rabinowitz:

      Those who question the over-simplified, self-righteous, monolithic tale of evil colonial oppressors and angelic indigenous victims must be marginalized and silenced. Particularly when they include the likes of Said, Barenboim and Noam Chomsky. The more amenable to dialogue we are the more “boycottable” we must become.

      actually, i am going to rephrase that eliminating all the extraneous strawman bs crap:

      Those who question the … tale of … colonial oppressors and .. indigenous victims must be marginalized and silenced. Particularly when they include the likes of Said, Barenboim and Noam Chomsky. The more amenable to dialogue we are the more “boycottable” we must become.

      so, did you or did you not harness Said’s legacy in defense of yourself? (privileged, left-liberal Ashkenazi Jew who enjoys (full) citizenship in the Israeli state even as its increasingly harsh racial regime makes life ever more unlivable for Palestinians subjected to its rule.) yes, you did. you implied “Particularly ” Said would have been “boycottable” just like you. iow, opposed to the academic and cultural boycott.

      i’ll be back to make more mincemeat of your lame argument later.

      p.s. no one has the power to “silence” you, as evidenced by your very public haaretz article. and your framing of a “tale of … colonial oppressors and .. indigenous victims” is self marginalizing. you’re doing this to yourself.

      “over-simplified, self-righteous, monolithic .. evil .. and angelic…” is just icing on the deligitimization cake! you can try shoving sugar coated diversionary nonsense down anyones throat, doesn’t mean people have to listen.

  2. pabelmont
    pabelmont
    November 14, 2015, 1:46 pm

    I sympathize with Mr. Rabinowitz, but I think he’s still missing something. PACBI does not boycott individuals, but it equally does not promote contacts with professors at Israeli universities. I could understand if boycotteers failed to invite Israeli professors to their own conferences, but PACBI does not call upon them to do so.

    As to the endgame, Rabinowitz seems confused. He says he is sympathetic with the three goals of BDS (which include PRoR) but then seems to say that BDS must specify its real goals more clearly and also the mechanism or pathway for getting there.

    Seems to me that the three goals are clearly stated and require nothing more. As to mechanism, BDS hopes (I have no doubt) that civilian actions, protests, boycotts, calls for divestment, etc., will bring about governmental actions — sanctions such as trade sanctions against all of Israel — that will be sufficiently painful for all Israelis that they will prefer to end the sanctions in exchange for acquiescing on the three goals.

    And acquiescing on PRoR together with non-discrimination within (whatever territory turns out to be from time to time) “Israel” would necessarily mean a very different Israel from today’s. All this is clear. What is it he doesn’t understand?

    No-one expects Israelis, generally, to wish to grant the three demands of BDS. Certainly not! That’s why enforcement (persuasion) mechanisms are designed into BDS.

    I’d say to Prof. Rabinowitz that, IMO, a heavy stone, if induced to roll downhill, may roll slowly downhill at first but may well roll faster as time goes by. BDS’s first task is to get the “stone” of sanctions rolling at all. So far very little has happened, maybe nothing. The recent EU divestment and product labelling are so slight as to be, IMO, negligible. But if the EU or UN or anyone else ever gets the “stone” of sanctions rolling, the political feeling and opinion in such a country is likely to have become so changed, so energetic, that the “stone” may soon roll quite a bit faster. A word to the wise.

  3. amigo
    amigo
    November 14, 2015, 3:15 pm

    Dan Rabinowitz accuses BDS of wanting to , “Demonize and De legitimize Israel out of existence. Here are his own words.

    “Hansen rightly notes that sanctions were essential in bringing down the Apartehid regime in SA, but greatly overrates the role of the academic boycott in that struggle. It was governments applying economic sanctions, not academics ostrecizing others, that made the change. This oversight perhaps explains Hansen’s misrecognition of the true nature of PACBY and its supporters, including anthropologists. One type of boycott (call it type A) sets clear, realistic benchmarks for the boycotted entity to reach, stipulating that once they are met the boycott will be terminated. The second type of boycott (call it type B) strives to terminate the very existence of the boycotted entity. Deep down PACBY is type B: it seeks to boycott Israeli moderates, including academics, as part of a concerted effort to essentialize, demonize and deligitimize Israel out of existence. Its public face, meanwhile, is a clumsy attempt to pass as type A. Weingrod and Rosen successfully highlight some of the more embarrassing contradictions that stem from this duplicity.”

    http://www.anthropology-news.org/index.php/2015/09/22/two-views-on-anthropologists-and-boycotts/

    Sounds to me like , the Professor is attempting to de legitimize BDS out of existence and leave Apartheid Israel to do as it will. Doesn,t sound like a person , the Late Edward Said would consider a close friend .Reminds me of , “Keep you friends close but keep your enemies even closer.

    • pabelmont
      pabelmont
      November 14, 2015, 6:45 pm

      At one point I thought he was saying, “Sniff, pity us poor academics, whatever can WE do to get out from under the PACBI-type academic boycott? They won’t tell us how to be good enough that they will talk to us again!” (forgetting it was a boycott of the universities and their convocations, and not of the professors themselves as such).

      Well, PACBI stops when BDS stops, I dare say. Because the universities were ALL targeted merely because most of them have close ties to the GoI, not because ALL of them do, And Prof. R may visit the USA and its universities and its professors whenever he likes, tho it may irk him to wait for an invitation, which PACBI allows — but doesn’t require.

      • amigo
        amigo
        November 15, 2015, 1:56 pm

        “At one point I thought he was saying, “Sniff, pity us poor academics, whatever can WE do to get out from under the PACBI-type academic boycott?” Pabelmont

        He uses the typical Zionist MO of first “softening up” the reader by playing victim , followed by the inevitable slide into attack mode.

        I wondered what connection the Friedrich Ebert Foundation , (see background poster)had with such a gathering.Ebert was a socialist and defender of workers rights as well as those who were downtrodden.I wonder if someone hijacked that foundation somewhere along the line.

  4. annie
    annie
    November 14, 2015, 3:20 pm

    Nadia Abu El-Haj wrote:

    BDS has a hidden agenda; it is not being honest about its political intentions. In other words, without naming it as such, Rabinowitz—following in the footsteps of many a critic of BDS—raises the specter of anti-Semitism in his op-ed.

    Rabinowitz:

    I never thought BDS to be anti-semitic, and am not inclined to change my mind if an odd anti-semite occasionally jumps on its band wagon. I do insist that BDS is duplicitous. My article attempts to shed some light on the political agenda which drives this doubletalk, spiraling BDS (and Anthroboycott behind it) into all kinds of contradictions and confusion.

    and yet you fail to articulate what ” all kinds of contradictions and confusion” are. let’s see then, they are your original strawmen:

    a future with no Israel….obfuscate a more sinister vision that has no place for Israel….an ultimate collapse….demonize Israel as a radically essentialized epitome of evil, and you might expedite its ultimate demise.

    so, are we to believe Rabinowitz doesn’t think calling israel the “radically essentialized epitome of evil” doesn’t raise the specter of anti-Semitism???? please!!!!!

    and here’s your article attempting to “shed some light” on an alleged political agenda which drives “doubletalk”:

    On economic sanctions against Israeli companies: I never claimed they do not happen.

    you claimed this: “BDS’ disinterest in economic sanctions”

    where on earth do you think bds is not interested in economic sanctions? they didn’t think the EU went far enough, that’s not double talk hiding their true agenda. read this: http://www.bdsmovement.net/2015/eu-labelling-of-israeli-colonies-products-is-hardly-enough-to-bring-about-european-compliance-with-international-law-13277

    I argued that BDS’s leadership, which focuses almost exclusively on academic boycott, does very little to promote them. My article suggests an explanation for this bizarre strategic choice.

    no, they do not focus almost exclusively on the academic boycott. that would be PACBI. (do a little googling, better yet go to the bds website http://www.bdsmovement.net/ and check out the drop down menu for “campaigns”)

    On Israeli universities: I never claimed that ‘Israeli universities are overwhelmingly in favor of dialogue and compromise’ as Abu El-Haj misquotes me. I did say that Israeli universities are ‘inhabited by individuals who…are overwhelmingly in favor of dialogue and compromise’.

    oh please. so what! you could dialogue til the cows come home, it won’t end the occupation. and what power do you have to “compromise” with the state if you’re unwilling to put your job on the line. or are you under some illusion a so called overwhelming “compromise” between your university colleagues and palestinians will end the occupation? you’re a citizen of the state, if you’re so into compromise try pressuring the state or your university to end complicity in war crimes.

    BDS’ homepage suggests that Israeli universities would be boycotted until they “call on Israel” to withdraw from territories occupied in 1967, end the Gaza siege, give Palestinian citizens equality and recognize Palestinian refugees’ right of return.
    These are reasonable demands (even the refugee clause is worded moderately). Hidden between the lines, however, is a procedural impasse: universities cannot, must not and do not state institutional positions on political issues. The condition, in other words, is one which universities can never meet, a recipe for indefinite boycott.

    it’s irrelevant if universities cannot, must not and do not state institutional positions on political issues if they continuously collaborate with the state to empower the occupation, which they do!

    and for a university professor i found this part particularly daft:

    Another version of a boycott, to be debated by the American Anthropological Association on November 20, suggests it will be enforced until such time when Israeli universities ‘end their complicity’ with the injustices inflicted on the Palestinians. Israel does inflict injustices on Palestinians, but making universities accountable for them is ludicrous, and a condition as vague as ‘when universities end their complicity’ is a new procedural quagmire. Who decides whether or when “complicity” has “ended?”

    israeli universities will undoubtedly end their complicity with the injustices inflicted on the Palestinians when israel stops inflicting injustices on palestinians — and the occupation ends! now this “new procedural quagmire” might seem particularly challenging, but you might find comfort in the idea the ” indefinite” occupation is actually much more than a “procedural quagmire” for palestinians. it’s been decades. maybe you can learn something about sumud from them. hang in there. whatever it is you and your colleagues are “indefinite[ly]” enduring, in comparison to palestinian suffering it can’t be that bad. besides, while it may seem very difficult for some people to determine (decide) when the occupation ends, palestinians will just know. one clue is that the occupation army will no longer be enforcing the occupation.

    my suggestion would be, instead of banging your head against the wall focusing all your energy opposing the bds movement, you take their advice, stop undermining Palestinian civil resistance, and (as an individual) call on Israel to end its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967 and dismantling the Wall; Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

    have a conversation with the state, your colleagues and israeli citizens. as an individual and in your capacity as a professor influence those around you to stop all complicity between the university and the state that furthers and empowers the occupation.

    When the campaign to boycott us began we expected those of them who identify themselves publicly as supportive of a boycott to reach out, at least on personal communication channels, and put our minds at ease. We are still waiting.

    why? why would you expect that? you are not being targeted as an individual. you can still, as an individual, engage in personal communications. just call the people you want to call if you have something to say.

    We know each other personally. I notice now however that even as she writes a text she calls ‘a letter’ to me, she cannot bring herself to address me in the customary second person. Being an individual and not an institution, I wonder: do protocol-abiding boycotters need approval from a yet to be perfected clause in a future sub-section of one of PACBI handbook’s convoluted chapters before they can engage in direct public dialogue with someone like me?

    what chutzpa! you write an insulting public diatribe in haaretz throwing the book at the movement and then complain about how you’re addressed. you need to get you’re not running this show nor do you make the rules. you owe Nadia Abu El-Haj an apology.

    • amigo
      amigo
      November 14, 2015, 4:13 pm

      Annie , right out of the park.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 14, 2015, 4:24 pm

        “Annie , right out of the park.”

        And she doesn’t need to worry about anybody defending Rabinowitz. Outreachmiesters don’t like them humanities professors.

      • annie
        annie
        November 14, 2015, 4:40 pm

        thanks amigo! needless to say, i was rankled by his response to (the esteemed) Nadia Abu El-Haj.

      • amigo
        amigo
        November 14, 2015, 4:45 pm

        “And she doesn’t need to worry about anybody defending Rabinowitz.Outreachmiesters don’t like them humanities professors.” Mooser

        Or anyone that is in anyway endowed with humanity.In any event , isn,t today the day he takes his kid to the zoo.Oh I forgot , my Saturday is his Sunday and vice versa.

      • annie
        annie
        November 14, 2015, 5:19 pm

        Outreachmiesters don’t like them humanities professors

        too bad. since Rabinowitz is “amenable to dialogue” he could pair up w/an Outreachmiester and they could dialogue indefinitely… seeing as their both probably fans of the endless dialogue approach to peaceful coexistence.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 14, 2015, 5:13 pm

        Wait a minute, The Annual Conference of the Israeli Anthropological Association, is this year titled “Borders and Beyond”?? Uh, okay. Don’t try to look too connected with the occupation.
        It’s those darned Humanities Professors, never caring about the consequences of their actions. Coddled, I call it.

      • amigo
        amigo
        November 14, 2015, 6:16 pm

        “Wait a minute, The Annual Conference of the Israeli Anthropological Association, is this year titled “Borders and Beyond”?? Uh, okay. Don’t try to look too connected with the occupation”Mooser

        Yeah , and it was at that conference , that Rabinowitz began a life long personal friendship with the Late Edward Said whose presence “sanitized”the conference.Personal friendships can be very useful .

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 14, 2015, 6:47 pm

        “Yeah , and it was at that conference , that Rabinowitz began a life long personal friendship with the Late Edward Said whose presence “sanitized”the conference.”

        Gotta give credit where due. “Hophmi” was right:

        “If humanities professors stopped acting like the coddled babies that they are, they might recognize how badly this kind of thing looks to everybody but them” – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/11/academics-settlement-university#comment-157188

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        November 15, 2015, 4:11 am

        @ Amigo

        RE: “Personal friendships can be very useful .”
        Truman had banned the pressuring Zionists from the Oval Office he was so furious at their disrespectful, obnoxious chutzpah. He even burned a big pile of Zionist-orchestrated letters without reading them. But his long small business relationship with a single Jewish buddy made him bow to that little guy’s request to see (once again) the chief, powerfully irritating zionist rabbi. The rest is history.

      • amigo
        amigo
        November 15, 2015, 2:07 pm

        ” But his long small business relationship with a single Jewish buddy made him bow to that little guy’s request ” Citizen

        How could Truman turn Thurman down.They were separated by a simple “H”.

    • oldgeezer
      oldgeezer
      November 14, 2015, 4:22 pm

      No he can’t just contact others. Supremacists need subordinates to recognize their special rights. He not wants but expects to be coddled. Great job annie.

      • annie
        annie
        November 14, 2015, 4:52 pm

        ;) thanks oldgeezer.

    • Mary T
      Mary T
      November 14, 2015, 7:38 pm

      Wow! A knockout, Annie.

    • ritzl
      ritzl
      November 15, 2015, 12:53 pm

      Brilliant Annie! Simply brilliant.

      • annie
        annie
        November 15, 2015, 1:17 pm

        thanks mary and ritzl ;) i really got a bee in my bonnet reading this yesterday.

  5. annie
    annie
    November 14, 2015, 8:01 pm

    here’s something Rabinowitz authored from the anthroantiboycott website (pdf) https://anthroantiboycott.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/dan-rabinowitz-on-bds-and-the-future-of-israel.pdf

    it contains segments of his argument from haaretz but less mean spirited. assuming he’s going to be reading the comments i thought i might clarify a few more things for him.

    These demands, and in particular the call on Israel to withdraw from the territories occupied in 1967 creates an impression many Western liberals will find reassuring: BDS seems to implicitly support a two states solution. Well, it does not. The overwhelming majority of those moving in BDS’s orbits are staunchly opposed to two states.

    this belies a fundamental misunderstanding of the movement, which is huge.

    #1. with so many “moving in BDS’s orbits” Rabinowitz is simply not in a position to speak for what the “overwhelming majority” of boycotters think. besides, it is not the “overwhelming majority” of boycotters who will be accepting or not accepting an eventual resolution it will be palestinian society (who do overwhelmingly support the boycott). and the “overwhelming majority” of palestinian society, last i heard, are not are “staunchly opposed to two states”.

    i, myself for example, am definitely not “staunchly opposed to two states”, in fact i am not opposed to 2 states at all. i simply don’t think given the ‘facts on the ground’ that 2 states are possible anymore. a lot of people have come to this realization/conclusion. and whether the anthroantiboycott movement still believes 2 states is possible is really not the issue here. the issue is the (apparent) fact that after decades the gov of israel will not allow 2 states. at the last negotiations they would not even offer a proposal. it’s always pushed down the road as a final status issue — delayed — which serves a purpose of entrenching the settlements and occupation in any further.

    #2 but, that reality (or belief) is what has driven many people away from this pie in the sky 2SS dream, not (contrary to Rabinowitz’s assertions) “a deep conviction that any progress hinges on undoing it [israel] as a political entity.”

    the deep conviction is the structure of zionism — the regime of zionism — which thus far, after decades, have remained an oppressive discriminatory ideology no matter how many good people may believe in it, which requires undoing. now, if it doesn’t, if it could be reformed somehow, it certainly doesn’t require palestinians to reform it. that’s not something they can do and from all accounts it doesn’t appear the israeli “left” or “moderates” can do it either.

    so now we’re left with Rabinowitz’s strawman. once he’s argued his hypothesis (which is clearly misguided as i am sure if he asked the boycotting anthropologists the vast overwhelming majority would not be boycotting if israel agreed to 2 states and equality for palestinians right now — in fact a huge portion of the movement would shrivel up and dissipate) he goes on to accuse the bds movement of ‘doubletalk’ and launches into theory from this point.

    Conveniently, with no discernable governance structure, the movement cannot be held accountable to its own double talk. What do DBSniks really want as an endgame? Hard to tell, as they have never issued any blueprint for a detail resolution. The two sensibilities that do surface as one hears and read them over the years are (a) a firm belief that the problem in the Middle East is Israel; and (b) a deep conviction that any progress hinges on undoing it as a political entity.

    let’s be clear. (a) the problem in Israel/Palestine is Israel, obviously. bds is not a political party. it’s a movement to pressure israel. it is not required to issue any “blueprint for a detail resolution” or “political solution” other than what its stated goals are (equality – end the occupation etc). it’s a strategy to pressure the israeli government and isolate israel until they comply with international law and standards of human rights. and the hypocrisy of blatantly referencing a lack of accountability of the bds movement for not having a ‘blueprint’ plan for a resolution when the very gov who is imposing this nightmare has not even produced one (for 2SS) after decades! Rabinowitz’s writes it’s hard to tell what “DBSniks” really want as an endgame. why? it’s spelled out quite clearly.

    3 Israelis facing the expiry of the project which, for good or bad, defines their personal and collective existence for decades now, are naturally abhorred by the notion of their own eclipse.

    bummer. what can i say. cat calls kettle black? there’s absolutely nothing israelis are facing that they have not blithely and cruelly imposed on palestinians for decades. is this supposed to somehow stave off a call for palestinian rights? so israelis can maintain their privilege gained off the land and blood of another people? this is your problem w/bds. not something that can be solved by dialogue with palestinians or american anthropologists. because israelis will not give up their privilege willingly, it won’t happen.

    But even if we substitute the bloodshed and destruction featured in their nightmares for a more
    benign scenario, the transition to post-Israel still hinges on cataclysmic disruption of the political, economic, social, cultural and personal realities of an entire nation.

    cataclysmic disruption of a political, economic, social, cultural and personal realities of an entire people is the backbone of zionism. that’s the mother’s milk of the founding of the state and continues to this day. what can i say? it must be very difficult to face yourself, like looking in a mirror, but this cataclysmic disruption is something palestinians have to live with daily so i’m not really understanding why israeli feelings are supposed to be protected here. nothing will change without cataclysmic disruption. it will only remain the same. dialogue has not improved life for palestinians. good intentions aside, it has not worked.

    BDSniks know that Israel’s demise is a hard sell. So they embellish it.

    we know the demise of zionism is a hard sell. but no one is embellishing that. it’s you who are embellishing your privilege by claiming it will be the demise of israel if your society can’t keep it. because it doesn’t have to be — in the same way south africa survived apartheid. it’s merely regime change, something israelis should be familiar with since their government promotes it all over the region.

    A petition designed to ostracize Israeli universities is disguised as an effort to constructively reform them. And BDS’s campaign at large bends over backwards to obfuscate its real intentions – to undo Israel, not refine it.

    refine zionism? is this a joke? palestinians can’t refine zionism and why would they want to? refine it yourself if you think it will help. the ostracization and isolataion of israel is designed to pressure the state and the people to comply. one way to do that is to go after its academic and cultural institutions. on the bright side, no one is advocating bombing them to smitheriens so that their people will reject the government (that’s the israeli grass mowing technique). no one is bombing the literature department at your university.

    i think you completely miscalculates the power in the movement. the strength of the movement doesn’t come from the leadership, the strength comes from the global community (take a look at this and keep scrolling: http://mondoweiss.net/2014/07/worldwide-protest-israeli ). the strength of the movement comes from gross violations of human rights carried out indefinitely (permanently) so you can live the way you’re living. that’s where the strength comes from, it drives the movement. this is not supposed to feel good, it’s supposed to be effective. it’s supposed to be a catalyst for change. don’t take it personally. i’ve been to israel and know there are a lot of wonderful people there. but this is not about them. it’s about freedom for palestinians. if you can’t join the movement move out of the way because we’re growing and unfortunately that growth is inevitable because the zionist regime is cavernous and has an insatiable appetite for land and inflicting pain. but again, if you think dialogue can make effective change, go dialogue with your government and citizens. ‘refine’ your society and change from within, then we won’t have to isolate and boycott you.

    • Mooser
      Mooser
      November 14, 2015, 10:14 pm

      “Rabinowitz’s writes it’s hard to tell what “DBSniks” really want as an endgame.”

      Now, tell the truth, Annie. Don’t you think that the entire BDS movement would be delighted if Israel did even the slightest goddam thing, anything, to ameliorate the brutality of the occupation or reduce the amount of violence? I think they would.
      You see how deceptive those BDS’ers are?

      • annie
        annie
        November 14, 2015, 11:17 pm

        he should try this line on martin. he says he has a dream but it’s hard to tell what his endgame really is. and since there’s no blue print for a resolution he can’t be held accountable for disguised shifty intentions. where will all those whites go? it will destroy a way of life in the south that’s been institutionalized, it’s all the people know.

        http://mondoweiss.net/2015/07/anthropological-associations-desperate

        Blatantly ignoring this reality of complicity, the IAA beseeches us to recognize “the important role that moderate segments in Israeli society, including academics have played over the years in the difficult struggle for peace ” Reading this sentence, we cannot help but be reminded of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s writings from a different struggle for basic human rights, criticizing:

        the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.

      • annie
        annie
        November 15, 2015, 1:40 pm

        oh mooser, i wish i could agree with you but i can’t. for example, israel has just blockaded the entrances to yatta and blocked off 16 villages near hebron (i think in response to the recent attack/killing of 2 setters). plus they are raiding whole villages and kidnapped around 18 people over the last 2 days. it’s a huge collective punishment — the kind they do not do for the duma murders or any number of settler attacks on palestinians.

        so, by your theory, if for example, the occupation forces changed course and decided to not blockade yatta and the surrounding villages as part of their collective punishment that would amount to “the slightest goddam thing, anything, to ameliorate the brutality of the occupation” and, i highly doubt “the entire BDS movement would be delighted”. frankly, i think the entire BDS movement would know an action like that would not guarantee any security it wouldn’t just happen again tomorrow, next week, next month, next year ad nauseum. the entire boycott movement will be delighted when the occupation ends. until then it’s just business as usual.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 15, 2015, 1:55 pm

        ” the entire boycott movement will be delighted when the occupation ends. until then it’s just business as usual.”

        Yes, I certainly take that point, that are a lot of things the GOI could do which would not be even enough to engender delight. Maybe just a bit of relief, for a change.

  6. can of worms
    can of worms
    November 15, 2015, 7:47 am

    Isn’t he doing the very thing that anthropology is kinda supposed NOT to do “unreflexively”—Represent The Other?

    This is what DR represents as what the people in the One State Solution movement want:

    — to bring about “Israel’s demise”;
    –a “cataclysmic disruption of the political, economic, social, cultural and personal realities”;
    –“destruction of Israel”;
    —an attempt “to undo Israel”
    —“a future with no Israel”
    — “A vision of a future with no Israel”
    —“a more sinister vision that has no place for Israel”
    —“expedit[ing] its ultimate demise.”

    Keeping in mind that those pushing for the One State Solution are by definition going to be favorable to BDS, while not all BDSers are in fact 1SSers, it is good to examine what it is that the people in the One State Solution themselves SAY they WANT.

    Here is a list of demands ( taken from http://onedemocracy.co.uk/why_one_state/) :

    1. A secular democratic state that guarantees parity on constitutional matters regardless of numbers.

    2. Freedom of movement, no evictions, “transfers” or land swaps, no internal borders, equal right to benefits of citizenship and nationality, land and property, social, health and education services.

    3. Freedom from discrimination, and equal esteem in civil, political, social and cultural matters, and on permits, papers and passports.

    4. This union will be entered into with full consent and a process of reconciliation, recognising the human value of each future citizen. It is neither a defeat nor a victory for either side but a victory for good sense.

    5. A milestone in reconciliation will be acknowledgement of the Nakba and the right of, and orderly provision for, exiles to return with honour and comfort; recognition of the pain and loss suffered by victims of violence on both sides is also essential for reconciliation.

    6. The state guarantees religious freedom and does not discriminate against or in favour of any faith.

    7. The state will recognise the special ties that both Jews and Palestinians have with their broader communities worldwide, and will welcome especially members of those communities who wish to immigrate to the country and help to build it, or who request asylum from persecution.

    8. Institutions of justice, law enforcement and army will integrate at all ranks.

    9. The state will maintain free and equal access and protection for holy sites.

    10. The state will establish fair, transparent and accountable mechanisms to compensate victims of the conflict.

    11. Violence and coercion will not win consent nor aid reconciliation. Common struggle, however, forges bonds, as do common cultural and social projects. People who share political, commercial, professional, educational and cultural interests can start now on liaison that could lead to shared endeavours in a Single State.

    12. Meanwhile we demand an immediate end to the siege of Gaza and withdrawal of all occupation troops, the release of all prisoners of the conflict including the Refuseniks, and the rescinding of all military orders that govern the subjected Palestinian people.

    All I can say is it’s incredible what a wide gap separates Israeli Anthropology’s’ theory from practice.

    • ritzl
      ritzl
      November 15, 2015, 1:16 pm

      Great points, can of worms. Rabinowitz seems to be an anthropologist in name only, not intellectual discipline or actual practice .

      Anthropomorph-ologist? (Not the right word, but he does seem, as so many Zionists and Israelis do, to be shaping the motives of others to resemble his own cocoon of zero-sum privilege.)

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        November 15, 2015, 1:31 pm

        “Anthropomorph-ologist?”

        I think he would qualify at any university as a ‘cultural anthropophagist’.

  7. can of worms
    can of worms
    November 15, 2015, 10:16 am

    I’m glad this came up. Now I hate poaching upon the language of Anthro scholarship, Mr. Rabinowitz, but it seems your conjunctures about the people who form the One State Solution Movement are empirically unsubstantiated. Therefore I am interested to know by what methodologies or techniques you arrived at facts. What are your findings regarding what the One State Solution Movement *is*? What is its social make-up? Who are its adherents? What is the movement’s relationship to constructions such as Jewishness, Israeliness, whiteness? Is the global movement dominated by upper-middle-class income brackets, or lower income brackets? How did you arrive at an understanding of the 1ss movement’s sudden, rapid spread? Was it by interviews, participant observation, or a survey?

    From,
    a wired up 1ss Frankenstein… ( to “terminate” and “demonize” as U say )

  8. ritzl
    ritzl
    November 15, 2015, 1:28 pm

    Do Professor Rabinowitz’s objections mean the status quo is becoming untenable, or at least uncomfortable? That he now has to think about the cost of his privilege to others?

    If so, SUCCESS! (or at least a milestone)

    I wonder his [forced] introspection will yield in terms of changes he and his students can/will make to realign themselves with normal (for their calling anyway) modes of empathetic behavior. If future, unconstrained academic collaboration is the goal, that is.

    • can of worms
      can of worms
      November 15, 2015, 2:15 pm

      “untenable, uncomfortable”

      He’s sleeping on 20 mattresses and 20 feather-beds

  9. Maximus Decimus Meridius
    Maximus Decimus Meridius
    November 15, 2015, 2:13 pm

    Since Mr. Rabinowitz is so concerned about ‘dialogue’ and ‘outreach’ , what does he have to say about this?

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/uk-decision-to-refuse-gaza-medical-experts-from-joining-kingston-university-conference-condemned-by-a6727576.html

    “A decision by Britain to refuse a group of Palestinian medical experts from Gaza permission to participate in an international conference at Kingston University on trauma in war zones has been condemned by campaigners.

    Three doctors and a nurse who work for the Ministry of Health in Gaza, and were due to give presentations at the conference taking place this weekend, have had their visa requests refused by British authorities.

    In addition to the four mental health specialists refused entry, Dr Nahida Al-Arja, a psychologist from Bethlehem University, has had her visa application rejected. “

    • Kay24
      Kay24
      November 16, 2015, 8:25 am

      That is discrimination. Unfortunately the Palestinians do not have powerful lobbies and representatives like the zionists. By now there would be cries of anti-semitism, and arms would be twisted until they snapped.

  10. pgtl10
    pgtl10
    November 16, 2015, 12:35 pm

    Can I argue that many who argue against the One State Solution are really arguing for Jewish privilege?

    If one state can bring about a democracy with equal rights for all then Jews will not lose rights. However, Jews will lose the ability to have an unequal power distribution based on ethnicity/religion.

    The rights of life, liberty, property, pursuit of happiness, and equality are inalienable to humanity. While we humans may argue over what each right entails, we can all agree that humans posses these rights.

    Dan Rabinowitz is uncomfortable of losing those privileges. A democracy will maintain rights but he wants his privileges.

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