Thursday, May 29, 2008

motes in the eyes or selective boycotts

Ha’aretz reports the UK academic union is attempting to undertake a motion to consider an academic boycott of Israeli professors and educational institutions.
Members of the University and College Union in England (UCU) passed a motion at their annual conference on Wednesday to consider severing ties with Israeli universities.

Tom Hickey, who teaches philosophy at the University of Brighton, says the motion highlighting the "humanitarian catastrophe imposed on Gaza by Israel" is just shy of a full boycott, The Telegraph said.

The UCU, the largest trade union and professional organization for academics and lecturers working throughout the United Kingdom, called on its colleagues to consider the moral and political implications of educational links with Israeli institutions, and to discuss the occupation with individuals and institutions concerned. The motion noted "the continuation of illegal settlement, killing of civilians and the impossibility of civil life, including education" as a result of the occupation.
I really could not care any less what a UK academic unions calls to boycotts or not; although I do find something deeply ironic in calls for the collective punishment of Israeli academics and educational institutions as a protest against the Israeli government.

Be that as it may, one of the reasons these kinds of motions carry charges of anti-Semitism, results from the very one-sidedness of the charges. The alleged ‘humanitarian catastrophe imposed on Gaza by Israel’ totally ignores the fact that Hamas run Gaza Strip has no authority under any international law to govern in the Gaza Strip but takes this right under gun as well as having more than one hand in the fire creating the alleged humanitarian crisis.

Furthermore, the deliberate omission of Egyptian academics and educational institutes to the boycott ignores the reality of the situation as the Egyptian government controls one of the borders of the Gaza Strip. No Israel boycott could be effective without the direct participation of the Egyptian government…but why stop there? The EU is still officially boycotting the Hamas run Gaza Strip as well as the Americans.

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