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Academy of anti-Semitism
National Post ^ | July 15 2002 | Robert Fulford

Posted on 07/15/2002 5:10:02 PM PDT by knighthawk

Over dinner on Sunday night at a Japanese restaurant off the much-bombed Jaffa Street in Jerusalem, Ofira Henig mentioned that she was leaving the next day for Berlin, Paris, and New York, in search of theatre companies to perform at next year's Israel Festival. When I said that sounded like pleasant work, she corrected me. She was dreading it. She knew that everywhere she went, people would pounce on her and demand that she explain why Ariel Sharon's government had re-occupied the Palestinian territories.

Insults from ignorant foreigners are not the heaviest of the burdens Israelis carry this year, but neither are they easy to bear. Anxious to rebuke Mr. Sharon, many intellectuals have decided to do it by punishing their Israeli counterparts. Among other things, that decision helped cripple the 2002 Israel Festival, Ms. Henig's first as artistic director. It took place in May and June, in the wake of the terrorist bombings and during the rise of anti-Israeli feeling in Europe. Five companies that had agreed to take part changed their minds. Three of them, from Italy, France and Belgium, withdrew after the program was printed and tickets sold. As a result, the biggest theatre in Jerusalem was dark for nine of the Festival's 19 nights.

Ms. Henig, like many Israelis with similar backgrounds, understands the irony in her position. She's a radical leftist who has often worked closely with Palestinian friends: "We grew up as artists together." She doesn't admire Mr. Sharon. Now she finds herself lectured by Europeans -- "even the Swiss!" -- who think they must explain Israel's realities to someone who lives with them every day.

Academic self-righteousness, never a pleasant thing to behold, has taken a particularly grotesque turn in this case. Certain European professors have in all seriousness compared the Sharon policy to both the Nazi Holocaust and South African apartheid. Apparently it is now permissible for a professor to say anything, no matter how obscene, against Israel; in certain academic circles, dislike of Israel has become so popular as to be almost mandatory.

So far as I know, the first signs of a cultural boycott appeared during the summer of 2001 in, of all places, Hobart, Tasmania. Michal Govrin, an Israeli novelist and poet, was scheduled to read at the Tasmanian Readers' and Writers' Festival in August. Suddenly, the Festival sent a letter withdrawing its invitation, explaining this action as a protest against the killing of Palestinian children. Ms.Govrin's admirers protested, and a Hobart newspaper supported her. The festival backed down and she went to Hobart, read from her novel The Name, and publicly discussed the attempt to erase her from the program. Nevertheless (as Ms.Govrin told me the other night) the professor directing the festival expressed her pique by rudely ignoring Ms.Govrin's presence.

European academics have set up two anti-Israeli petitions on the Internet, one calling for the boycott of Israeli scientific institutions, the other for breaking cultural links with Israel. So far, about 1,000 professors have signed on. The lists change constantly, but France has produced the most signatories. Many names on the petitions, though far from the majority, are Arabic. Some, countable in the dozens, are Jewish, including 10 from Israel. In Britain the notable anti-Israel signers include Richard Dawkins, the evolutionary biologist, Victoria Glendinning, a popular biographer, and Ted Honderich, the Canadian-born philosophy professor. Only one gives a Canadian affiliation: Amini Massoud, a University of Saskatchewan mathematician.

If the subject were less tragic, we could enjoy this fresh proof that in academic life the combination of power-grabbing and impotence produces a vicious and ludicrous politics. Signers of the science petition proudly state: "I will attend no scientific conferences in Israel." (The ultimate punishment!)

An obscure University of Manchester professor, Mona Baker, has become famous by dropping Israeli professors from the boards of The Translator and Translation Studies Abstracts, two tiny publications she owns and edits. She's proud to have taken such an audacious stand. When criticized she says, "I'm damned if I'm going to be intimidated."

A counter-boycott statement has been gathering hundreds of signatures. Its manifesto rightly asks those blaming Israel to understand that it is responding to unacceptable violence, unleashed after Israel offered to end the conflict with a major compromise at Camp David in 2000. The manifesto predicts that boycotts will be self-defeating: "For the Israeli public, a boycott reinforces the perception that it must fend for itself. Within the Palestinian community, it sends the message to the non-compromising extremists that their strategy of violence is bearing fruit."

All this results from the world's bizarre habit of judging Israel by higher standards than those applied to any other nation and then condemning it where it fails to meet these standards. At the same time, the world has decided not only that the Palestinians are oppressed but also that they deserve about 100 times as much attention as all other oppressed peoples combined.

Perhaps a subtle reason lurks behind these opinions. Perhaps the world so loves Israel that anything less than perfection registers as the gravest sin. It seems likelier that many of those behind the boycotts have found new ways to express old-fashioned anti-Semitism and free themselves of national guilt over treatment of Jews in the past. Their tone suggests that they delight in the chance to hate Israel while simultaneously appearing virtuous.

TOPICS: Editorial; Israel; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: academy; antisemitism; boycott; israel; robertfulford
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1 posted on 07/15/2002 5:10:02 PM PDT by knighthawk
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To: MizSterious; rebdov; Nix 2; green lantern; BeOSUser; Brad's Gramma; dreadme; keri; Turk2; ...
2 posted on 07/15/2002 5:10:37 PM PDT by knighthawk
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To: knighthawk
Talk about liberals (the Israeli theater crowd) mugged by reality.
3 posted on 07/15/2002 5:14:57 PM PDT by Steve Eisenberg
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To: Steve Eisenberg
These are radical leftist who vote for the Arab and Jewish communist Party (Hadash) or for such Me'eretz.
This is like asking Susan Sontag or a Hollywood leftist to excuse Bush.
4 posted on 07/15/2002 5:20:08 PM PDT by rmlew
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To: knighthawk
South Africa was sanctioned and boycotted internationally over apartheid, which discriminated against native blacks. Therefore, it's no less reasonable to boycott Israel over the occupation, which discriminates even more brutally than apartheid against native Palestinian Arabs.
5 posted on 07/15/2002 5:30:02 PM PDT by faintpraise
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To: faintpraise
War is war. The Palestinians are trying to kill as many Israeli civilians as they can and are still formally at war with Israel. We chased Pancho Villa all the way to Mexico City after he killed a few people in Texas.
6 posted on 07/15/2002 5:35:12 PM PDT by NoLongerLurker
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To: faintpraise
The "Palestinians" are not native to the area, so that analogy is false.
7 posted on 07/15/2002 5:38:20 PM PDT by sheik yerbouty
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To: faintpraise
What of the Apartheid and expulsions of Jews and other minorities in the neighbooring states. Israel is held to a higher standard by the left, the same way the US is. Teh idea is to destroy us.

Thatnk you for falling for "Rules for Radicals".

8 posted on 07/15/2002 5:42:59 PM PDT by rmlew
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To: knighthawk
When criticized she says, "I'm damned

Sounds like a plan! Out of context, perhaps, but a fine idea nonetheless!

9 posted on 07/15/2002 5:44:31 PM PDT by neutrino
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To: faintpraise
1. What is a "native Palestinian Arab"?

2. Why doesn't the world/UN condemn the apartheid-like laws regarding Palestinians in Lebanon and Jordan?

3. Why the world/UN never condemned Jordan for occupying these same lands?

4. Why doesn't the world/UN boycott Saudi Arabia, as it discriminates against other believes than islam, like forbidding bibles or even praying to another god than allah?

5. Why doesn't the world/UN condemn Syria for killing 30.000 civilains in 1982 in Hama?

6. Why doesn't the world/UN boycott China for it's invasion of Tibet and it's bloody reign for decades?

7. Where were the boycotts when Pakistan killed more than 1.5 million Hindus in Bangladesh in 1971?

PS. Why don't you stop bothering us and head back to the DU or islamic forum you came from?

10 posted on 07/15/2002 5:49:36 PM PDT by knighthawk
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To: sheik yerbouty
The "Palestinians" are not native to the area, so that analogy is false.

Most people, including myself, accept the authenticity of the Palestinians. The Israelis are the newcomers to the area.

11 posted on 07/15/2002 5:56:09 PM PDT by faintpraise
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To: faintpraise
I guess your next step is to erase the Bible. Israel existed long before there were Arabs and Moslems.
12 posted on 07/15/2002 6:14:15 PM PDT by LarryM
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To: knighthawk
1. What is a "native Palestinian Arab"?

There are millions of them. Are you blind?

2. Why doesn't the world/UN condemn the apartheid-like laws regarding Palestinians in Lebanon and Jordan?

I don't know that it doesn't. Stop changing the subject.

3. Why the world/UN never condemned Jordan for occupying these same lands?

Jordan's occupation didn't favor Jewish newcomers while discriminating against native Palestinians. Stop making excuses and attempting to change the subject.

PS. Why don't you stop bothering us and head back to the DU or islamic forum you came from

I've been a Republican for over 20 years. I figure I've got as much right to state my opinion on this forum as anybody. If you don't like it, that's tough!

13 posted on 07/15/2002 6:16:56 PM PDT by faintpraise
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To: knighthawk
8. Why doesn't the world condemn the UN for occupying the land of the New Yorkers?
14 posted on 07/15/2002 6:18:12 PM PDT by gitmo
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To: LarryM
Ancient Israel was destroyed almost two millenia ago. Modern Israel wasn't created until the mid-20th century. Arabs and Muslims were dominant in the holy land for 1500 years.
15 posted on 07/15/2002 6:27:49 PM PDT by faintpraise
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To: faintpraise
The Big Lie

By Sharon Nader Sloan

© 2001

"The West Bank is occupied Palestinian land." This phrase is frequently repeated, as a given, by all the governments of the world and by the entire news media.

This idea that the West Bank is occupied Palestinian land has been accepted by almost everyone. Yet it is, in fact, the greatest lie ever perpetrated on the whole of humanity. If you think this is an outlandish statement, please read on and decide for yourself.

Palestinians claim that Palestine is their land, and that Jerusalem is their capital, and that Israel is occupying their land. To resist occupation, they assert the right to send suicide bombers into crowded bus stations, pizza parlors, etc., and kill innocent men, women and children. And all Arab and Muslim countries support them in their claims and actions against Israel.

Because of this alleged occupation of Palestinian land by Israel, because of this alleged crime committed against their Palestinian brothers, all Arabs hate Israel and want to destroy it.

To anyone who is familiar with the facts, and has an objective eye, all this must be fascinating. Because never before has a complete lie, on such a large scale, been so successful.

First, if Arab animosity toward Israel is based on their love and support for their Palestinian brothers – and in wanting their Palestinian brothers to have their own state – where was that love and support before the Jewish state existed? Where were they when the kingdom of Jordan ruled Palestine? Why were they not accusing Jordan of occupying Palestinian land? Why did not the Arab world and the United Nations call on Jordan to stop occupying Palestinian land? Second, where were the Palestinians themselves, with all their grievances and claims, when Jordan occupied the whole West Bank, including Jerusalem?

Did you know that? Did you know that for 19 years, Jordan occupied and ruled the whole West Bank, including Jerusalem? Why didn't they clamor for a Palestinian state then?

All this time, did we hear a word about Palestine being occupied by the kingdom of Jordan? Did we hear anything about a Palestinian state? Or about Jerusalem being the capital of Palestine?

No, we did not.

Why not?

Because there never existed a Palestinian state.

And in the entire history of nations, Jerusalem was never the capital of any country other than that of ancient Israel and modern Israel. So how can there be a claim on Jerusalem as the capital of a state that never existed? One of the problems here is that so few people know the history of the world. Hence, lies and more lies, repeated often enough, are assumed to be facts.

I have heard many scholars, including an Arab journalist, question the very notion of a Palestinian people. What, they ask, makes a people? Well, there are four elements that define a people: language, religion, culture and cuisine. For example, the Chinese and Japanese are both Oriental. Still, they are two different peoples, because they each have a different language, a different religion, a different culture and a different cuisine.

The Palestinians speak the same language, follow the same religion, manifest the same culture and eat the same cuisine as all other Arabs. They are really Arabs who happen to live in a region called Palestine. Palestine is not – and never was – the name of a country, or the name of a people.

It is the name of a region – just like Siberia is a region, not a country. There is no Siberian country, nor is there a Siberian people. It is a region. Just like the Sahara is a region, not a country. There is no Saharan country, nor is there a Saharan people. The Arabs living in that region are Libyans, Moroccans, etc. It is a region.

Because Palestine is a region, not a country, England was able to carve out half of it and give it to the Arabs living on the other side of the Jordan River and call it the kingdom of Jordan. Because Palestine is a region, the United Nations was able to divide the rest of it between the Jews and the Arabs living there. Had the Arabs accepted the United Nations resolution, there would have been a newly created Arab state called Palestine. Instead, they rejected the United Nations compromise and went to war to destroy Israel. They lost the war. Hence, no Palestinian state.

Here are some cold facts.

King David built the city of Jerusalem, and King Solomon, David's son, built the holy temple. This commonwealth of Israel lasted for a thousand years. There was only one break, when, 400 years after King David, the Babylonian invaders occupied the land for 70 years. Then, with the help of Cyrus the Great of Persia – yes, Persia – Israel came back to the land, rebuilt the temple and ruled for another 600 years.

Then, the Romans came and ruled the land, then the Crusaders ruled the land, then the Ottoman Empire ruled the land, then the British Empire ruled the land, then Israel returned to its homeland and built a modern Jewish state. It was never – repeat, never – a Palestinian state. So what is all this talk about occupied Palestinian land? They certainly have a right to live there freely and happily. Nobody wants to move them away from their land. But from where comes the right for a Palestinian state? Is it because they live there?

Imagine if the Mexican-American community in California, whose numbers are greater than the number of Palestinians in the West Bank, decides tomorrow to claim that the United States is occupying their land, because they live there and they want their own Mexican state. Imagine if, when the U.S. government says, "No, you can live here, but you cannot have sovereignty, you cannot have your own state," they start sending suicide bombers, shooters, mortars, etc. into the rest of the country. What do you think would happen?

This is precisely why there was never any suggestion of a Palestinian state – not under the Romans, not under the Crusaders, not under the Turks, not under the English and not under the Arab kingdom of Jordan – until after Israel was again established in its homeland.

I believe it is the big lie of our generation, and we are all buying into it.

Whatever you believe, don't you think these facts deserve to be raised when discussing Middle East policies?

Sharon Nader Sloan, Esq., is a Lebanese-American

16 posted on 07/15/2002 6:30:13 PM PDT by gitmo
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To: faintpraise; Thinkin' Gal

Who's Astonished Now????

Astonished J Harris Lematha sawgrass
Passin Pilgrim LeeAnn6 tynker Kudzu Flat
Samaritan Patria One beecharmer Miss Pixie
necho6 glassheart3 Friend_Or_Foe Kirkland Junction
nohorse faintpraise TBD TBD

17 posted on 07/15/2002 6:33:45 PM PDT by Alouette
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To: faintpraise
Your response it typical of the lack of logic and empathy residing on the left.

Israel captured this territory because of war, and offered to return it for peace. So far the Palestinian leadership has not offered peace, only more war. But that doesn't stop people like you from asking Israel to give up the land anyway.

Why should Israel give up the only thing she has to trade for peace in exchange for nothing? It makes no sense. It would be stupid for Israel to give away her only bargaining chip for nothing in return.

It makes no sense at all to reward terrorism. It makes no sense to surrender and acquiesce to the losers in war. This kind of attitute only encourages more terrorism and more war.

18 posted on 07/15/2002 6:34:01 PM PDT by monkeyshine
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To: faintpraise
Most of the "Palestinians" are as newly arrived on the land as the Jews.
19 posted on 07/15/2002 6:37:30 PM PDT by monkeyshine
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To: Alouette
That is scary! and there are real people like that!
20 posted on 07/15/2002 6:41:24 PM PDT by restornu
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