Pony: Passing over the academics
When I read this story I was appalled.
The leading union of British lecturers has decided to impose an academic boycott on two Israeli universities - Bar-Ilan and Haifa - on the grounds of what the Association of University Teachers defines as their collaboration with the crimes of the occupation.
This sort of fatuous exclusion of 'one of the few remaining bastions of the liberal left'* in Israel is absurd. How is boycotting professors going to help the Palestinians?
As you can tell, this got me kinda steamed. (I don't usually use words like fatuous). To make things worse, I am sure the Right in Israel see this academic boycott as a victory. They feed off of the us-against-world mentality.
Lisa posted a link to this article written by her friend, the novelist Etgar Keret in The Guardian.
He muses on the idea of Passover's collective punishment (Like Keret, I also wondered, why so many innocent Egyptians had to suffer through the plagues when it was really the Pharoah who was the autocratic pecker-head?). He weaves deftly into discussion of IDF policies of destroying the homes of suicide bombers and finally into situations where academic freedom is compromised because or larger or more abstract political convictions.
Lisa quotes this paragrah, but I thought I would post it too:
*"Today, the Association of University Teachers will hold its annual council meeting in Eastbourne, during which a motion will be put forth to boycott three out of eight Israeli universities. The timing, as always, is perfect. The Middle East is never exactly blissful, but now, of all times, when the agenda features disengagement and the slimmest prospects of new solutions - now is apparently the right moment for calling out the cavalry of British academe, those valiant and dauntless professors who will not think twice before boycotting Israeli mathematicians or Latin scholars. With a well-aimed forceps movement, they will prevent such researchers from publishing their learned papers on topological distortions in space, and may even, if they're lucky, manage to foil cooperation between biologists who might, heaven forbid, discover a Zionist cure for cancer."