May 31, 2007

Boycotting Israel

Well should you? I've written an article on Bits of News about it.

10 comments:

Lord Nazh said...

You use the propaganda of the arabs to make the case against a boycott of Israel o.O

Israel does occupy a land that others want them to leave, however, it should be noted that Israel occupied it long before someone made up the palestinean people.

Check out the 'human right's issues' Israel has for context a little more closely. If you take the word Israel out of the findings, there would be none. Or at the least very few.600

Vino S said...

Henry, I agree with your article in Bits of News and have commented on the dispute on my blog:

http://vinospoliticalblog.blogspot.com/2007/05/henry-on-ucu-boycott.html

I do think the UCU boycott is a foolish decision and that the role of a trade union should not be to take sides on the national question. Its role should be to fight for policies that are for the benefit of the entire working-class - which means standing in solidarity with both Arab and Jewish workers.

Having said all that, i think lord Nazh's comment is wrong. The 'Palestinian people' may not have had 'national consciousness' before the 1960s, but that doesn't mean that they have no rights to live in the land. After all, prior to the Balfour declaration, the population of the British mandate territory of Palestine was 90%+ Arab. I think that a better solution in 1948 would have been to partition the land - a policy the surrounding Arab states foolishly rejected - or to have created a binational state (like some of the communists wanted).

Ashok said...

That was really good. No complaints from me.

I should say that in my own life, I have been running into people that I thought were utterly incapable of anti-Semitism actually saying very, very hateful things about Jewish people. And I don't mean jokes, or anything with a lighthearted tone that might be offensive or insensitive: this is well beyond that. There is some seriously nasty stuff out there, and I'm not sure how to account for it. I bring this up because while for the purposes of argument it is good to give people the benefit of the doubt, one of the disturbing things about modern education is its ability to cover old prejudices in sometimes "enlightened" guise.

Keith said...

Israel is a uniquely bad country. All bad countries are uniquely so. Israel’s unique features include that it is supported by the USA in its expansionism, its violation of the UN and its attempted genocide and also that it was formed as a homeland for a displaced people who suffered under fascism, only to come under the thrall of fascism itself.
I myself boycott Israel; I also boycott China and most multinational companies. These are trade boycotts that I support - I agree with you that the political elite in these countries are unlikely to give a teabag for academic boycotts. But as I understand it, that’s not what the UCU agreed to. They want their members to consider carefully their professional links. That should include positively culturing links with those Israeli academics brave enough to stand up against the advance of fascism in their country. I will be.

Political Umpire said...

Gracchi if everyone posted as thoughtfully and carefully as you, and was as responsive to criticism, the blogosphere would have the decorum of the Court of Appeal. Sadly, the responses to your article (the original post to which you've linked, not the comments on this page) show that reasoned debate on the net is not possible where the words 'Israel' and 'Palestine are mentioned. For what it's worth, I agree that the boycott is the wrong thing, largely for the reasons you give, but I resisted entering the slanging match that developed on Bits of News.

Graeme said...

Keith, I hope that isn't an Intel chip in your computer.

Benoit Du Cann said...

I agree with you in terms of the boycott of Israel is wrong, but comparing it with China and Russia just sounds like you're demeaning the deaths of palestinians, also it's not constructive to say "look theyre doing worse things then me".
The double standards of the Union are unnaceptable and highlights the discrimination of Israel and antisemitism within a certain faction of the left.

Gracchi said...

Ok lads- massive reply here.

Nazh I disagree with you about the land the Israelis occupied- unless you mean in Biblical times- in which case it gets very complicated- and the English shouldn't govern England for instance.

Vino I liked your article- the points about the Union are ones I'm sympathetic to.

Ashok yup- but I try to give the benefit of the doubt in all situations.

Keith really interesting point about boycotting all bad countries. I'm not sure about the efficacy of boycotting as a whole. But I can see where you are coming from- if that is your position and if you boycott every country with a bad record then at least you are consistant so we may disagree but not as much as I disagree with those who inconsistently apply boycotts. Thanks for the refinement of the UCU boycott- how do they decide then which people to boycott.

Political Umpire- yup agreed- the comments over at Bits are in the majority quite venemous- I love the Israel is quasi fascist comment for instance. I often think people don't realise especially in this argument that the more you use extreme language the more you undermine your own case.

Benoit- I may have been careless with language- but it was the double standards I was trying to highlight I agree with you about the Union- though I think it has more to do with the press coverage.

Ok I think I'm done!

Ashok said...

Btw, why do you write for "Bits of News?" I don't mean this to be rude, just more like my jaw is dropping reading those "comments."

Gracchi said...

Cause one of the guys who runs it is a good mate of mine- and lots of the others are friends- and another contributer is a good friend and the commenters don't represent the people who are on it. Its not like this which is a more chatty site- it tends to be only the crazies who comment there.