The daily shelling, bombing and demolishing of all vital infrastructure of the territories of Palestine occupied in 1967 raised, finally, a kind of reaction from some concerned and progressive academics in the western countries—people who managed to live peacefully with the gloomy facts of the racist and colonialist nature of the state of Israel—that shows itself by ideology and practice—not only in the 1967 occupied territories, but in all different aspects of life.
The Israeli academy—which is, as the academy all over the world, a part of the state elite, and closely associated with the ruling classes—never manifested themselves as an opposition. The university institutions, and the academic organizations never raised their voices against the occupation, or even against the plight of schools and universities in the West Bank and Gaza during the first and the second Intifada.
Since the beginning of the ’80s, Israel’s board of higher education has prevented the foundation of a university that would teach in the Arabic language—a demand that was raised by the organizations of the Arab population in Israel. There was no voice from the Israeli academics raised in support of these demands. (At the same time, Arab students who studied in elementary and secondary schools in the Arabic language, and are obliged to study their higher education in the Hebrew language are denied support classes, at the very same time that Jewish immigrants to Israel got such classes for free) ...
Israeli academics don’t oppose racist and antidemocratic practices inside the walls of their institutions. Conferences and academic panels that deal with issues such as “the demographic problem” (the very fact that Arab residents and citizens do live inside the state of Israel) are completely legitimized. On the other hand, people who try to deal inside the Israeli universities with the crimes that were done to the Palestinian people, are persecuted (the most famous case is that of Teddy Katz, who wrote a M.A. thesis about the expulsion of the Arab residents from the village Tantoura during the 1948 war)...
Since the blow of the second Intifada, universities began to persecute left academics: nine lecturers from Haifa University were threatened with “internal trials” because they took part in a demonstration of the Arab student union that was banned by the university authorities; Dr. Illan Pappe, a prominent historian was almost expelled from the university accused ... of “offending his colleagues” because of his support for the boycott petition!...
You see equivalence between “Zionism” and “Judaism”. To interpret acts against Zionists and Zionist associations as “persecution as a result of one’s nationality, ethnicity or religion” is to suggest that “being colonialist/Zionist” is an inherent part of being a Jew... and it is an extreme anti-Semitic statement, that is backed by the Zionist movement’s ideology, as well as by other racist groups...
You suggest that the boycott will throw the Israelis deeper into the Zionist trap. Aren’t you thinking, for one moment, what a policy of “business as usual” will do to the Palestinians? Won’t the effect of such a policy be disappointment and disillusionment with the concept of “international solidarity,” “international revolutionary movement” etc., etc.? Aren’t those Palestinians, who number more than eight million, worth taking into consideration while planning your policy? ...
Do you think that the main effort in the struggle for the de-colonization of Asia and Africa was convincing the colonialists that it’s not nice to be oppressors? How many of the colonial and semi-colonial countries would have gained even the limited independence that they have today? Or should they wait until the revolution will win in the imperialistic countries, and then the victorious workers will give those poor guys from the Third World their independence and self determination...
A Jewish graduate student from Haifa University
14 July 2002
To the editor:
I am saddened to see WSWS take such an openly Zionist stance against the boycott.
Where is the outrage at the censorship of Palestinian academics in America? You guys are Zionist hypocrites mascarading [sic] as socialists.
Let me preface this by the statement that I am Jewish, speak Hebrew, had a Bar Mitzvah, was president of my university’s Hillel chapter, and have traveled extensively throughout Israel.
Opposing a boycott because it might make the worthless Israeli left even more limp is the worst opportunistic argument you could make.
Peace Now is a Zionist organization opposed to one-person, one-vote.
Israel is not a legitimate nation by any Marxist definition; it is a colonial state pure and simple.
Israel is so illegitimate that attaining the level of South African apartheid would be an advance from its present virulence.
The bulk of its citizenry are very recent (since 1967) transplants from the US, UK, France and Russia; it enjoys no organic historical economic existence, its economic life is a completely fabricated result of US military and indirect aid. Its language is an artificial reconstruction of a long-dead one, the only benefit of which might be the easier learning of its cousin Semitic language—Arabic.
All of its citizens are registered members of its armed forces; therefore they are all legitimate military, economic, cultural, academic targets in a civil war.
Israel is a theocracy combined with a racist law of return which guarantees even me the right to displace others solely based on my Bar Mitzvah.
Brilliant Marxist Jewish academics like Steven Rose should be saluted for their honesty and courage.
Marxist Jews do not appreciate your Christian guilt complex for the Holocaust when translated into obsequious support of Israel.
The founders of Israel itself opposed saving over a million Jews when offered the chance by Eichman (read Tom Segev’s The Seventh Million.)
Israel is indeed a puppet of the US and UK, but it is a key pillar in global imperialism.
Who is making history there, the Jewish left or the Arab masses?
The Israeli left is a pro-apartheid left.
Those Israelis who are willing to consider themselves to be Arabs and to fight for a unified Arab democratic republic have any right or hope of remaining in the state likely to result from the growing crisis.
Professors who continue to be employed by the state of Israel should not be welcomed in any democratic university. If they don’t like it, if you don’t like it, then they should choose to resign one of their posts.
At the very least, the fact that they are paid agents of the Israeli government should be clearly acknowledged so that their views can be put into the proper perspective.
Once again, I repeat: Peace Now is a Zionist organization bent on institutionalizing Israeli apartheid. Your citing it in your editorial makes me want to vomit.