David Lloyd

Albert Memmi in December 1982 (Photo: Claude Truong-Ngoc/Wikimedia)

Albert Memmi, who passed away on May 22 at the age of 99, was the author of that indispensable analysis of the colonial psyche, The Colonizer and the Colonized, and dedicated adherent of that impossible conjunction “left-wing Zionism”. How can one reconcile Memmi’s commitment to Israel with the fact that his work continues to have exceptional explanatory power for our understanding of the Zionist settler colonial state?

Rep Ro Khanna, D-Calif., speaks at a rally against Mike Pompeo's nomination for Secretary of State on April 11, 2018, in Washington.

David Lloyd writes that congressional resolutions that affirm the duplicitous language of Zionist lobbies and apologists for apartheid will have little impact on the continuing growth of the BDS movement, “but ‘progressives’ who endorse them stand to lose sight of what is crucial to all fundamental political change: the moral force of social movements out of which, from abolitionism to civil rights to BDS, all substantial transformation has come.”

David Lloyd says that the outrage that has greeted University of Michigan’s John Cheney-Lippold refusal to write a letter of reference for a student who wished to participate in a Study Abroad Program in Israel is astonishingly hypocritical. “No professor and no institution should engage in furthering programs that so systematically violate our long-cherished equal-opportunity and anti-discrimination policies, inscribed both in federal law and campus codes. US academics should do the right thing by following Professor Cheney-Lippold’s courageous example and refusing to participate in any institutional endorsement of study abroad in Israel,” Lloyd writes.

David Lloyd writes: “Palestinian steadfastness, and in particular the non-violent persistence that daily affirms their determination to stay on their land, is the quiet negation of Israel’s racial regime. As I sat in the Hebron twilight listening to Issa Amro’s calm and confident voice after a long and dismaying day witnessing the sheer ugliness of occupation and settlement, I knew that he would not be going away.  He and Youth Against Settlement will persist against all the odds, however long the struggle for justice may take.”

In recent days, the mainstream press has been full of reports of the dire plight of the Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic group in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar that is currently being ethnically cleansed by the Burmese military. What has not been reported in the mainstream news is the fact that, even during this ongoing genocidal campaign against its Muslim population, Myanmar has been supplied with weaponry by Israel.

Politicians from Senators Marco Rubio and Orrin Hatch to Chuck Schumer and Ron Wyden have been outspoken in their condemnation of Saturday’s Unite the Right March in Charlottesville and the vicious acts of terror it spawned. Yet, the same senators are united by their ardent support for a racist regime that is no less inspired by racial supremacy. By supporting the Israel Anti Boycott Act all have placed protecting Israel and its racially discriminatory policies above the rights of activists who are inspired by the same commitment to justice as the demonstrators who opposed the open display of racism and anti-Semitism in Charlottesville.

David Lloyd, a founding member of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, reflects on the failure of the Modern Language Association to endorse a boycott of Israeli academic institutions: “What was all too clear was that the right to academic freedom does not really extend beyond the boundaries of a quite narrowly defined Western academy, of which Israel’s academy is an honorary member.”

The Brandeis Center has sent a letter to the Modern Language Association threatening a lawsuit if the Association passes the resolution to endorse the Palestinian call for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. The threatened lawsuit would be frivolous and unlikely to pass muster, but the threat itself is hardly a surprise. On the contrary, it is an index of the growing success of the boycott movement in changing public understanding of Israel’s ongoing violations of international law and human rights.

This January, after several years of often-heated discussion and review, the Modern Language Association’s representative body will consider a resolution to endorse the Palestinian call for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. The relative absence of Palestinian testimony from debates at scholarly associations prompted a number of MLA members to visit the West Bank and Israel this summer to explore first-hand the conditions in which scholars and students have to work throughout historic Palestine. David Lloyd shares his experience from the trip.