BOYCOTT ISRAHELL: Israeli Academics Must Pay a Price to End Occupation

Several days ago Dr. Neve Gordon of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev published an opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times and CounterPunch. In that article he explained why, after years of activity in the peace camp here, he has decided to pin his hopes on applying external pressure on Israel – including sanctions, divestment and an economic, cultural and academic boycott.

He believes, and so do I, that only when the Israeli society’s well-heeled strata pay a real price for the continuous occupation will they finally take genuine steps to put an end to it.

Gordon looks at the Israeli society and sees an apartheid state. While the Palestinians’ living conditions deteriorate, many Israelis are benefiting from the occupation. In between the two sides, Israeli society is sinking into complete denial – drawn into extreme hatred and violence.

The academic community has an important role to play in this process. Yet, instead of sounding the alarm, it wakes up only when someone dares approach the international community and desperately call for help.

The worn-out slogan that everybody raises in this context is “academic freedom,” but it is time to somewhat crack this myth.

The appeal to academic freedom was born during the Enlightenment, when ruling powers tried to suppress independent minded thinkers. Already then, more than 200 years ago, Imannuel Kant differentiated between academics whose expertise (law, theology, and medicine) served the establishment and those who had neither power nor proximity to power. As for the first, he said, there was no sense in talking about “freedom” or “independent thought” as any use of such terminology is cynical.

Since then, cynicism has spread to other faculties as well. At best academic freedom was perceived as the right not to ask troubling questions. At worst was the right to harass whomever asked too much.

When the flag of academic freedom is raised, the oppressor and not the oppressed is usually the one who flies it. What is that academic freedom that so interests the academic community in Israel? When, for example, has it shown concern for the state of academic freedom in the occupied territories?

This school year in Gaza will open in shattered classrooms as there are no building materials there for rehabilitating the ruins; without notebooks, books and writing utensils that cannot be brought into Gaza because of the goods embargo (yes, Israel may boycott schools there and no cry is heard).

Hundreds of students in West Bank universities are under arrest or detention in Israeli jails, usually because they belong to student organizations that the ruling power does not like.

The separation fence and the barriers prevent students and lecturers from reaching classes, libraries and tests. Attending conferences abroad is almost unthinkable and the entry of experts who bear foreign passports is permitted only sparingly.

On the other hand, members of the Israeli academia staunchly guard their right to research what the regime expects them to research and appoint former army officers to university positions. Tel Aviv University alone prides itself over the fact that the Defense Ministry is funding 55 of its research projects and that DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in the U.S. Defense Department, is funding nine more. All the universities offer special study programs for the defense establishment.

Are those programs met with any protest? In contrast with the accepted impression, only few lecturers speak up decisively against the occupation, its effect and the increasingly bestial nature of the State of Israel.

The vast majority retains its freedom to be indifferent, up to the moment that someone begs the international community for rescue. Then the voices rise from right and left, the indifference disappears, and violence replaces it: Boycott Israeli universities? This strikes at the holy of holies, academic freedom!

Ref: Counterpunch

11 Responses

  1. People that know what is REALLY going on are not fooloed by HAMAS and what they do to their OWN citizens:

    • But people that know what REALLY REALLY is going on would not be racists like you.
      Who created HAMAS and the very fruitless environment that HAMAS operates in?
      And by the way, HAMAS is totally democratically elected which is more than we can say
      BUSH ever was.

      Yeah, it must really really hurt when the OTHER not only wins but win under your own
      flag. You and other racist incl ISRAHELL and USA thought that they would not win. But so
      they did. And so the white man double moral again came into play.

      Now, the question is why you support COLONIALISM, ETHNICAL CLEANSING and APARTHEID?
      Acutally, what else could you support as the product of that very enviroment.

      So sad indeed…
      But then again, who cares?

  2. Here’s a video of a ‘Palestinian’ child interviewed on Fatah’s television network claiming Hamas is responsible for the current situation in Gaza.

    • Ofcourse.
      Anything else would be a waste of USA tax money and ISRAHELL Zionist apartheid policy.

      Do you have another clip where let´s say fanatic settlers claim that the threat to the zionist dream of Ertz Israhell
      is the secular Israel?

  3. So, white -people are evil…..
    Yeah, and Jihadists are the salt of the earth..

    • Great false dicothomi there.
      White people belong also to an ethnicity which makes themselves invisible.
      Everyone else becomes the Other.
      Less.
      You embody that that paradigm very well.

      Jihadists have their cause which very much relates to the WHITNESS drive to exploit, colonialism
      domination and greed. So on an earth filthy of sterial WHITNESS Jihadist could be the salt for some, yes…

  4. Thre is NO “Palestine” there is no CURRENCY/money, no capital, no official language.
    Moron.

    • Ofcourse there is a PALESTINE!
      Which you very well know!
      Actually there was a Palestine prior to Israel.
      Maybe whitness and hatred makes reality blurred in your head.
      You might even need some “salt” to refresh that sick mind of yours…

      capital = east jerusalem
      offical language = arabic (stupied!)
      bigger part of EU has no own currency but the same.

      You know, or let me rephrase this, you should know that the nation PALESTINE do exist
      but since ISRAHELL in every way prohibits the emerging STATE OF PALESTINE secondary
      things as currency aso will have to wait.

      *hahah*
      Every word you utter, is a fact that you go beyond the very notion of MORON. I would
      say that in that sense you do not differ from the average uneducated, ignorance, racist,
      pro-israeli american. I betya, you haven´t been abroad more that… 1 time in you whole
      life and you believe that USA is the best country in the world. After Israhell ofcourse.

      You sit at home judging and spitting your hatred.
      Your words reproduce old thoughts and practices and by that they
      display not only your real paradigm alignment but also the very society that you are
      a simple product of; FAT!

      Again, whatelse is new?
      Afterall you are an american pro-israeli!

      /a

      • ‘offical language = arabic (stupied!)’

        Why is “A-rab” the language in “PALEstine” Countries have LANGUAGES.
        What is the currency?
        Jeruslam is not divided, so it has no capital.
        Who are “PALESTINES” embassadors??
        President?

        And WHY is HAMAS MURDERING innocent civilians that are “PALESTINIAN” Christians/gentiles, but blame it on the Jews??

      • Look you are too twisted for me.
        I have no problem dealing with sick pro-israelis that promote hatred, colonialism and racism but there is a dimension with you that is not even worth used toilete paper.

        Why is arabic the language of Palestine? Well, why is ENGLISH the language of USA? Ireland? Why do they speak Portuguese in Brasil?

        Jersualem is DIVIDED. But also, you a right, not divided. Since it is under OCCUPATION and heave ethnical APPROPRIATION by Israel.

        Jerusalem is not ISRAELs capital!

  5. Can you tell me why there is NO “Palestine” on the maps of the world??

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