On "Engage" a well meaning writer is trying to plead with would be boycotters of Israeli universities. Almost at the very outset he declares: "The occupation of Palestine and the human rights abuses that flow from the occupation are to my mind simply wrong", thus signaling to the would-be boycotters that he has no quarrel with the righteousness of the premise upon which their boycott wish is based. He is in full agreement with them as to principle. That's all they need to hear from him, that's all they will take, and the rest of his reasoning will be ignored, discarded, garbaged.
I left the following comment:
"“If read with care” ?? BDSers’ message gets coarser and more simplistic by the hour as Israel’s supporters are concerned with delicate surgical analyses and those famous “nuances”. I stopped having any interest in this article as soon as I got to the line “The occupation of Palestine and the human rights abuses that flow from the occupation are to my mind simply wrong “.
BDSers and their constituencies will stop reading and hearing anything beyond this point, and justly so. It’s all they need to get from you, in order to go on full speed ahead.
You can’t drive an artificial barrier between Israeli society and its government. Israel is a democracy and Israeli society is made up of rational people. It is wrong and it is dangerous to suggest there is a disconnect between Israelis and their government. It demeans Israelis and it is dangerous. If you want to know why, read this from Norm Geras:
“Derek beats his wife. Not every day, just now and again. But whenever he does – maybe every few weeks – the beating he gives her is severe. She is always bruised, often bleeding, sometimes scarcely able to walk in the immediate aftermath.
Derek has his reasons. When Elaine is unhappy, as she often is, her voice irritates him. When it irritates him too much he lets rip. Elaine can also be forgetful and so she mislays things. On the most recent occasion – July 7 – it was the car keys that went missing; Derek was late for work. But the most usual reason for his anger with Elaine is their children. They make a noise and get on his nerves in other ways. For this, as for most other things, he blames Elaine: when he beats her, it’s always her fault.
Derek and Elaine’s neighbours, some of whom are also their friends, know about the beatings. They couldn’t fail to. They disapprove when he beats her. Or at least most of them do. But some, while professing to disapprove, seem not entirely unimpressed by Derek’s reasons. They tell each other that Elaine’s voice can indeed be irritating, and that it’s ‘understandable’ that Derek should have been upset at not being able to find the car keys. They agree among themselves that the couple’s children can be a genuine cause of exasperation.
Though they say that Derek shouldn’t beat Elaine, they are keen on recognizing his grievances. And he knows this.”
The question is: are you a friend of Derek or a friend of Elaine? If you can’t be a good friend to Elaine you had better butt out of their life altogether. Your presence only makes things worse for her. Because Derek is not a rational being with rational motivations who can be reasoned with. He is a pathological bully and a wife-beater.
"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)