British and Canadian Boycotts of Israel:

Cathy Young writes about them, and about the American Association of University Professors' silence on the British academics' boycott.

It seems Israel is fair game for boycotts these days. Amazing that a worldwide Zionist conspiracy is powerless to prevent these things, isn't it?
6.6.2006 1:50pm
Federal Dog:
"Amazing that a worldwide Zionist conspiracy is powerless to prevent these things, isn't it?"

You're telling me. What the hell happened to THE LOBBY in all of this?
6.6.2006 6:00pm
Christopher Cooke (mail):
The author is correct. The boycott is the product of a "hard-left" or "Third World radicalism" mentality prevalent in parts of Western Europe, some parts of US academia and found at some US campuses, that identifies the US and Israel with causing all of the world's great injustices, and which idolizes the Palestinian cause (see Vanessa Redgrave), but which is incredibly myopic regarding human rights abuses committed by so-called leftist regimes (such as China or Cuba). While one might well believe that Palestinians are entitled to their own state, that certain of Israel's policies towards them are wrong, and that Israel should retreat to its 1967 borders, it is simply ridiculous and hypocritical to single out Israel, of all nations, for a boycott, as those it is a pariah state. I bet many of these boycott advocates have been silent about a far more serious problem going on right now: the Sudanese muslim arabs' attempts at genocide of the black sudanese muslims living in Darfur.

Indeed, many on the hard-left side of the political spectrum denounced the 1990s NATO intervention in Kosovo as "imperialist," when it truly had no purpose beyond humanitarian intervention (of course, many Republicans at the time denounced Clinton for intervening in a war we supposedly could not win and for seeking to engage in "nation-building").
6.6.2006 7:37pm
gr (www):
"Cathy Young writes about them, and about the American Association of University Professors' silence on the British academics' boycott."

6.6.2006 8:52pm
Bottomfish (mail):
I get a lot of sardonic amusement out of the fact that Israel is so often described as "racist" when in fact the population is more racially diverse than that of most Arab countries. There are Europeans, North Africans, Arabs, even some black Africans, not to mention Russians who are often not really Jews.
6.6.2006 10:13pm
Since for decades, all UN votes on the Palestinian question can be summed up as: USA and Israel opposed, the entire rest of the world for, it surely isn't surprising, is it, that academics in the rest of the world act on this widespread opposition to Israeli policy? It is equally unsurprising that American academics seem so mystified by it all...
6.7.2006 3:22am
logicnazi (mail) (www):
Now I think most of these criticisms of Israel refuse to recognize the real complexities of the issues. In particular these criticisms seem to treat israel as a monolithic entity (almost as if it were a person) and therefore hold all current israelis responsible for past bad acts and acts by subsets of the population (settlers) while not applying the same standard to the palestinians. In particular Israel is held responsible (and they somewhat are) for allowing the settlers and their supporters to behave as they do but palestinians are not held responsible for supporting and cheering on terrorist groups.

However, I don't think it is inconsistant at all to call for boycotts on israel or apply PR pressure but not on china or cuba. While these regimes are undeniably more evil one might reasonably believe (perhaps as a result) they are far less likely to be influenced by this sort of policy. More relevantly they simply seem to be outside the realm of reasonable discourse.

In fact I think much of the reason israel in particular comes in for so much criticism is that people regard it as part of the western world and believe israelis generally share our values. It is the same reason the local news will sometimes spend more time on some con artist in a rich community than another murder in the ghetto. It might not be a good thing but people tend to get burned out about persistant evil they seem powerless to do anything about and communist regimes feel alot like this.

Of course I feel most of the anti-israeli boycotts do much more harm then good. There simply won't be any peace until the palestinians are prepared to accept a comprimise. More responsible israeli activity with regards to settlements (didn't they just start or expand some settlment despite the plans to evacuate many of them) might help but public boycotts of israel do more to encourage palestinian demands for impossible results (desctruction of israel, the right of return instead of just compensation). But protests and boycotts never seem to be organized on rational cost benefit grounds.
6.7.2006 4:21am