Friday, January 10, 2014

symbolic gestures: is the cathedral a creature of moral conscience or institutional patronage?

WaPo |  For decades, the American Studies Association labored in well-deserved obscurity. No longer. It has now made a name for itself by voting to boycott Israeli universities, accusing them of denying academic and human rights to Palestinians.

Given that Israel has a profoundly democratic political system, the freest press in the Middle East, a fiercely independent judiciary and astonishing religious and racial diversity within its universities, including affirmative action for Arab students, the charge is rather strange.

Made more so when you consider the state of human rights in Israel’s neighborhood. As we speak, Syria’s government is dropping “barrel bombs” filled with nails, shrapnel and other instruments of terror on its own cities. Where is the ASA boycott of Syria?

And of Iran, which hangs political, religious and even sexual dissidents and has no academic freedom at all? Or Egypt, where Christians are being openly persecuted? Or Turkey, Saudi Arabia or, for that matter, massively repressive China and Russia?

Which makes obvious that the ASA boycott has nothing to do with human rights. It’s an exercise in radical chic, giving marginalized academics a frisson of pretend anti-colonialism, seasoned with a dose of edgy anti-Semitism.

And don’t tell me this is merely about Zionism. The ruse is transparent. Israel is the world’s only Jewish state. To apply to the state of the Jews a double standard that you apply to none other, to judge one people in a way you judge no other, to single out that one people for condemnation and isolation — is to engage in a gross act of discrimination. 

And discrimination against Jews has a name. It’s called anti-Semitism.


Vic78 said...

They might be on the right side when you consider where the criticism's coming from. Krockhammer's a bit on the obtuse side. "Why don't they go after people nobody likes?" It's easy to go after Russia and Syria if you live in the US. The guy that wrote the article's a punk. And he's a shill for the dominionists. He may be out of his weight class messing with this group. There's a good chance they see themselves as having nothing to lose and might be looking for a fight. I say keep an eye on the ASA.

CNu said...

Agreed. My question went to whether they could hold their ethical pose against increasing pressure from their institutional patrons.

Vic78 said...

I believe it depends on how close a given teacher is to retiring. The guy in the interview is probably well past the age of giving a fuck. The 30-40 something that just got tenure has something to think about. It's a bad mu$$cka that can stand up to that.

There has to be a way to fight without marginalizing one's self. I'd prefer a long term plan to jumping in front of the firing squad.

Honestly Not Sure How A Turd Like This Calls Itself A Scholar.....,

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