Guardian publishes pro-BDS ad by privileged Britons hostile to #Israel’s existence

Here’s the full-page ad which appeared in the print edition of today’s Guardian.


(The ad was signed by 343 “scholars”, or less than one a quarter of 1% of the roughly 195,000 academics working in the UK.)

If you want to see the propaganda which informed the British academics’ decision to boycott the Jewish state – and only the Jewish state – go to their Frequently Asked Questions page, which contains libels and falsehoods more befitting Electronic Intifada and Mondoweiss than the manifesto of putatively serious commentators.  

Such agitprop passing for serious thought includes the charge that Israel operates under a rubric of (Apartheid South African-style) racial laws, that there are “settler-only” roads and that the state is engaged in a campaign of “ethnic cleansing” of the Palestinians.

In responding the question of why they would target the nation’s academics (a group disproportionately on the left side of the Israeli political spectrum) they quote extremist commentator Gideon Levy of Ha’aretz arguing that every Israeli institution is tainted by the occupation.

They also respond to accusations that a boycott of the Jewish state is antisemitic. After citing a quote by Omar Barghouti, a leading figure in the boycott movement who rejects Israel’s existence within any borders and who’s on record supporting the Palestinian ‘right’ to violent resistance, claiming that BDS is an inherently anti-racist movement, they then attempt to turn the table on their Jewish critics with the following smear:

The clear intention of many allegations of antisemitism is to deflect criticism of Israel, to intimidate critics and to silence serious debate.

Of course, that’s the dictionary definition of the Livingstone formulation – essentially an ad hominem attack on the Jewish community, and one which imputes bad faith and malevolence to anti-racists who note the antisemitic pedigree of such boycott movements.

Finally, there’s a section called, “What about the Holocaust?”, which responds to those who ‘argue’ that a Jewish state is morally necessary after the horrors of the Nazi genocide. Here’s their answer in full:

Nothing in a people’s past – not even the horrors of the Holocaust – can be used to justify or excuse crimes against another people. Furthermore, many Jews reject the Zionist argument that Jewish salvation lies in separation from the rest of humanity. They do not believe that Jews in Israel are safer than those elsewhere, or that Jews in the world are safer because of the existence of an exclusivist Jewish state occupying land that does not belong to it. On the contrary, the attempt to drown out the cogent criticisms of Israel with cries of ‘Holocaust’ and ‘antisemite’, by implicating all Jews in Israel’s crimes, stokes hostility against them.  

Tellingly, these academics are not ‘merely’ in favor of boycotting Israel, but clearly seem hostile to the state’s very existence.

Additionally, there is nothing in their entire manifesto which condemns Palestinian terrorism, government-sponsored incitement, and endemic antisemitism. It’s as if the signatories are so blinded by their hatred for Israel that violent and destructive Palestinian actions which prolong the conflict haven’t factored into their political calculus at all.

Of course, it’s important to put such a morally odious campaign in some perspective. Their Guardian ad will have next to no actual impact on Israel.

Academic ties between Israel and the UK are stronger than ever.

The representative body of the 133 British universities recently reiterated its firm opposition “to academic boycotts”.

Trade between the UK and Israel has reached record levels.  

The British prime minister is a staunch opponent of anti-Israel boycotts,

The UK Universities Minister last year made it clear that there will be NO academic boycotts of Israel.

Indeed, the government just recently announced plans to amend legislation in order to stop local councils launching politically motivated boycotts of Israel.

Indeed, the only likely impact of the Guardian ad will be to reinforce the fears of Jewish Britons that the small but influential privileged class which makes up the British intelligentsia are hostile to their community – the overwhelming majority of which strongly supports Israel and consider boycotts a form of intimidation.

Bottom line: No matter how artfully such regressive politics are disguised as a “progressive” endeavor, those whose ideological orientation demands that the world isolate the only Jewish state – in effect sending a message to the overwhelming majority of Jews that they are on the wrong side of history – have embraced a worldview that is antisemitic in effect if not intent.

31 replies »

  1. I sincerely doubt that those same “progressives” will boycott British art institutions over their theft of the Elgin Marbles from Greece, a crime against the Greek people that they perpetuate to this day.

  2. In 1973 the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (ICSPCA) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. ICSPCA defines the crime of apartheid as ‘inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group … over another racial group … and systematically oppressing them’.

    Interesting that ‘these people’ don’t try to boycott virtually every Muslim state when they use the definition: ‘domination by one racial group … over another racial group‘ bearing in mind that ‘Muslim’ is not a race. Neither is ‘Israel’. Nor is ‘Jew’.

    What a bunch of mentally atrophied hypocrites.

  3. If I recall two of the academics from LSEs Middle East Group who signed the ad. were also calling for Gadhafi’s (and son) in 2011 to “lets have a dialogue -lets bring them in from the cold”

    Double standards ? not sure what they have to say about Syria, Iraq, Yemen, refugees etc:

  4. The Guardian is the modern version of “Der Stürmer”. Here is a typical representative of these nauseating Jew Haters (BDS & Guardian). I actually think they should be before the courts, but then a great number of magistrates seem to be on the side of darkness too 😦

  5. Correct. this is a national conflict between two nationalities, and has nothing to do with races. Either disingenuous or downright ignorant.

    Notice however that the boycott doesn’t exclude cooperating with individuals from Israeli academia. This might be an intentional loophole to make it effectively meaningless. Other than the self pat on the back and the glowing attention they might have been seeking.

    • No, they could be subject to sanctions by their institutions if they boycotted an entire institution. This way they work off their bigotry at a lower personal risk.

  6. Michael H

    Two stand out points: first, the ungainly and ungrammatical formulation “Responding to the appeal from Palestinian civil society” – what appeal, who made it and when and in whose name?

    Second, on the letters page of today’s paper Ahdaf Soueif, who describes herself as a Guardian commentator, replies to JK Rowling and others declaring “BDS is a democratic conscience led, non-violent way to try to end a 19th-century colonial enterprise still bleeding into our lives in 2015” Exact and honest in contrast to the clumsy weasel formulation the academics have sponsored.

    • ““BDS is a democratic conscience led, non-violent way to try to end a 19th-century colonial enterprise still bleeding into our lives in 2015” – exact and honest? Every single word in that sentence is a lie.

      • “Bleeding into our lives…?” Emotive language which is out of place in an academic forumbut entirely in keeping with the world view of the person who resorted to it. Seems to me that the only things bleeding at the moment are the stabbed Jewish civilians and the youngsters encouraged to attack them, who’ve been consummately lied to by their families and religious and political leaders, and Israel is not to blame for that stupidity.

        These useful idiots merely stoke the fires and reinforce the Palestinian stupidity, bystanding as the Palestinians sacrifice their children.

        They are a disgrace to humankind

  7. Is there anyone on the list who matters? As in a prominent person in a particular discipline, or anyone in STEM?

  8. Question: My child is applying for university currently and has spent a summer studying at the Weizmann Institute in Israel. Is it appropriate for a lecturer who has signed the BDS petition published today to interview them?

  9. If I had the time, I would research into how much Islamic funding goes to the universities at which these “intellectuals” have tenure, and/or how much of the student body is Muslim. My strong sense is that there would be high correlations.

    All this is disgusting and smacks of the 1930s German boycott of its Jews. I am an alumna of City University and subsequently a part-time visiting lecturer. I am ashamed of that institution now.

  10. Not surprisingly, one of the signatories to this infamy is Prof Malcolm Levitt, infamous for his overemotional criticism, bordering almost on the hysterical, of Israeli policy, viz ” ‘Israel has a totally explicit policy of making life impossible for the non-Jewish population and I find it totally unacceptable.’”

    Levitt was among the twenty British academics who sent Prof Stephen Hawking a letter expressing their surprise and disappointment he had accepted the invitation to the Presidential Conference in Israel in 2013. . Israel, Hawking was told, “systematically discriminates against the Palestinians who make up 20 per cent of its population…and its treatment of the people of Gaza amounts to collective punishment.” In addition, the promotion by Israel of its cultural and scientific standing, “is a deliberate policy of camouflaging its oppressive acts behind a cultured veneer.” Prof Hawking caved in, shamefully.

  11. Looking at the list of signatories I see a Prof Andrew Samuels, a Jungian analyst, lecturer and “activist”, according to his Wikki entry, and also. methinks. another AsAJew. He has tenure at Essex.

    I heard him lecture once at a conference at UMIST in Manchester, among other things about how much Islam could teach us about the psyche. ‘Nuff said.

    He was a bad-tempered SOB too. The layout of the venue meant that getting from place to place for papers and workshops took rather longer than the intervals allowed for in the programme, which in turn meant that there were invariably latecomers. And Prof Samuels didn’t like it either, no, not one little bit, and showed it too.

  12. So, In a follow up the legislation ( say define harassment as “conduct….creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment”, and personally I would feel working alongside signatories to this would fulfil this definition or harassment. However the case law that supports this is less than clear.
    A discrimination case said that a employee with potentially homophobic attitudes was unfairly dismissed on the grounds that these beliefs were part of her religion. Now I realise this is not the same situation but this is case law, and the employee was sacked. If she was not sacked it is very possible that the harassed employees would have sued and won., and more recent judgments have indeed been going both ways in these sort of situations.
    More recently the EHRC has said that to avoid issues such as these employers need to make reasonable adjustments in response to a European Court of Human Rights ruling. Therefore I think it is reasonable to request that any signatory to this campaign is removed from the interview process of a potential student who may feel harassed by their views.
    The guidance states that “Employers are encouraged to take as their starting-point consideration as to how to accommodate the request unless there are cogent or compelling reasons not to do so”.
    The next question is, is it wise to be the person who raises this?