Why is the British University and College Union once again trying to boycott Israeli academics?
Eve Garrard tries to explain:
What is it that drives them, in a world full of far greater horrors than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Why is it that the National Executive Committee of the union can't be satisfied unless they've ostracized and demonized and punished Israel, alone among all the nations of the world? What is it that has led the union's General Secretary, and even more ostentatiously its President, to renege on the anti-boycott platform which they campaigned on and which got them elected?
....when we examine the actual words and practices of the boycott supporters, something rather different may come to mind. In their perverted use of Nazi comparisons, in their determined silence about the war crimes and crimes against humanity which have been committed against Israelis, and in their obsessional demand that the union should pursue the boycott at the expense of its own efficacy, its cohesiveness, its financial solvency, and its respect for anti-discrimination law, then perhaps what we hear is not so much the whisper of the closet anti-Semite as the rustle of the dirty raincoat - the repetitive, harassing, creepy sound of the stalker.
Consider some of the pro-boycotters' claims in the light of what Wikipedia says about stalkers:
Stalkers will often denigrate their victims [see the repeated and lip-licking comparison of Israelis with Nazis]
which reduces the victims to objects [see the false claim that the boycott is of universities not of individuals; see also the lightminded dismissal of academic freedom].
This allows stalkers to feel angry at victims [see claims about the sinister power of the 'Zionist lobby' which allegedly silences its adversaries; see also the charge that Israelis are colonialists and settlers, with no mention made of just what many of these people were fleeing from when they came to Israel]
without experiencing empathy [see the total silence about the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed against Israelis, and the genocidal threats made by Israel's enemies],
or they may feel that they are entitled to behave as they please toward the victims [see the claim that criticism of Israel can't be anti-Semitic; see also the kind of discrimination against individual Israeli academics and students shown by Andrew Wilkie and Mona Baker].
Viewing victims as "lesser," "weak" or otherwise seriously flawed [see the charge that Jewish nationalism is illegitimate, and that Zionism is racist]
can support delusions that the victims need.. to be rescued [see Jacqueline Rose's purported psychoanalysis of Israel],
or punished [see the boycott movement passim], by the stalkers.
Stalkers may slander or defame the character of their victims [see claims that Israel is an 'apartheid state', and suggestions that it attempts to commit genocide against Palestinians]
which may isolate the victims [see the stated aim of the boycott movement]
and give the stalkers more control or a feeling of power. (Read it all on Normblog)
Eve Garrard says: "No doubt the shadow of anti-Semitism does hang over the boycott proposals considered as an institutional practice," and goes on to provide a different theory to explain this compulsive obsession by the boycotters, that of the pathological stalker.
However, what is antisemitism if not a pathological stalking of Jews qua Jews writ large?
I wonder if , by diagnosing antisemitism as a form of mass stalking, can't we somehow come up with feasible solutions about ending, or at least minimizing it?
"Civilization is not self-supporting. It is artificial. If you are not prepared to concern yourself with the upholding of civilization -- you are done." (Ortega y Gasset)
Sunday, March 30, 2008