(Banner will apear here)

Beautiful Kabbalah Jewelry Judaicawebstore.com
Font Size:


Israel Lambastes British University and College Union Boycott Of Israeli Academia

Media Coverage & Discussion Of Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Often Ignore Cause & Effect Relationship When It Comes To Israel

None Of World Powers Or Other States Are Held To Such Harsh Moral Standards As Jewish State

In Britain, the University and College Union (UCU) vote to promote a boycott of Israeli academic institutions has aroused a furious Israeli reaction. The UCU boycott was said to be in protest to Israel's actions in the conflict with the Palestinians. Even super-dove Yossi Beilin of the left wing Labor party called on British Prime Minister Tony Blair to condemn the UCU decision. Otherwise Beilin said the outgoing leader's term would be stained by such an ignominy. The UCU resolution, approved by 158 to 99, is only a recommendation until approved by a majority of the body's 120,000 members. IsraCast evaluates the UCU motion and other manifestations of what appear to be a double standard of morality applied only to the Jewish state.

Why is it that the Jewish state is singled out and often held accountable to a set of moral standards that no other country is? What if any justification is there for the decision by the British University and College Union to boycott Israeli academics in protest over Israel's policy in the Palestinian conflict? Does it pass the test of academic scrutiny or is it simply masquerading for something else?

Israel often held unfairly to a higher moral standard than any other state. That is without question the overwhelming reaction in Israel today by both public officials and private citizens. Certainly, Israeli soldiers are not fighting thousands of miles from home, as British troops are, in what many believe to be an immoral war in Iraq. Has the UCU voted for example to boycott its own British professors who may support the war? Or would it dare to boycott American academic institution en masse because of the U.S. war? Not even Israel's harshest critics would dare to compare Israeli tactics to what Russia has perpetrated in Chechnya - but has the UCU voted to boycott Russia's academia? Then there's China in Tibet and the list runs on and on not to mention what goes on in the continents of Africa and Asia. Surely, any impartial academic assessment should place Iran at the top of the list. A U.N. member whose president Ahmadinejad openly violates the world body's charter by declaring that Israel 'should be wiped off the map' while pursuing the nuclear weapons to do it? When did the UCU decide to promote a boycott of Iranian academia? It's not as if the British eggheads are in some ivory tower out of touch with reality - BBC reporter has been kidnapped and held hostage by Palestinians in Gaza for several months so they know about whom they're talking.

Israel is perhaps the only country in the world that faces certain annihilation if it were ever to lose a war. Not that this justifies any and all methods used by Israel or any other state to preserve its survival. But it is fair to say that Israeli actions, in the face of provocation, have never reached the intensity of any of the above mentioned states in recent history. June 5th marks the Six-Day War when the Israel Defense Forces defeated the combined armies of six Arab states which threatened 'to throw the Jews into the sea'. While the world looked on refusing to lift a finger, Israel acted in self defense. Even then the Soviet Union found no problem in branding Israel an aggressor and tried to have the Jewish state condemned at the U.N.

As for the British academics, is it simply a matter of traditional anti- Semitism masquerading behind bashing the Jewish state? Undoubtedly some are anti- Semites but others are most likely Jewish perhaps even Israeli. One problem at the heart of what appears to be the 'special treatment' meted out to Israel is the failure to address the cause and effect of what drives the conflict. Most TV coverage of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict focuses on the effect while ignoring or glossing over the cause. During Operation Defensive Shield in March 2002, TV revealed in showing Israeli tanks and troops moving back into Jenin and other terror strongholds to root out terrorists who had launched bloody suicide bombing attacks against Israeli civilians. The fact that Israel has previously evacuated the Palestinian areas got lost in the dramatic footage. Visual images of the moment drive TV reporting which means that 'the effect' of Israeli responses makes a far greater impact than 'the cause' that triggered them. This lack of 'cause and effect', which is unforgivable in any academic discussion, also surfaces in an column by Roger Cohen of the New York Times. Cohen describes in vivid terms how 'The West Bank, after 40 years under Israeli control, is a shameful place'. He entitles his article 'The price of blindness' pointing the finger at Israel for imposing military restrictions as well as establishing the settlements. While the Palestinians must take responsibility, Cohen places the onus squarely on Israel, 'If this is the price of Israeli security, it is unacceptable'. But surely an objective analysis must put into context Israeli policy since the Oslo Agreement in 1993 and for whatever reason, Cohen chooses to simply ignore the Gaza Strip where Palestinians have launched over 270 in the past two weeks which have terrorized Israeli children , women and men in Sderot. Apparently, Cohen did not go to Gaza for fear of also being kidnapped like Alan Johnston.

Surely Cohen is aware that Israel totally evacuated Gaza in the summer of 2005. Rather than the Palestinians seizing the opportunity to halt the attacks on Israel as a precedent for a negotiated peace on the West Bank, the Palestinians have turned it into a launch pad for rocket attacks. On the West Bank, he criticizes the more than 500 barriers that hinder Palestinian movement. However, more often than not when Israel eases these restrictions, they are immediately exploited to infiltrate suicide bombers into Israel. On this score, he takes issue with Israel's security fence on the West Bank that has proved highly efficient in stemming terror attacks. When the terrorists do mange to reach Israel it is through areas where the fence has not been completed. The reason the Palestinians have launched the ballistic intifada in Gaza is because the security fence there prevents cross border attacks.

Is it only logical to assume that if Israel were to simply pull out of the West Bank that the Palestinians would do the same from there?

Or does Cohen actually believe the Palestinians would accept the two-state solution and live happily ever after with Israel? This flies in the face of not only of the Gaza experience but of the fact that Palestinians elected a government lead by Hamas which openly declares its intention of destroying the Jewish state. Cohen also notes how Israel is not doing its part in implementing the two-state solution of President Bush calling on the American leader to pressure Israel. The fact is that Bush did not invent the two-state vision. Although not stipulated in word, it was actually implied that this would be at the end of the Oslo process. Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin won a big election victory running on a Labor platform that 'was not opposed to the establishment of a Palestinian state'. That was back in 1993. Again at Camp David, another Labor Prime Minister Ehud Barak with President Bill Clinton on board offered Yasser Arafat a Palestinian state. Arafat walked away spurning the offer. The Palestinians could have had Palestine years ago if they were ready to accept the two-state solution. As for Israel's 'ruthless colonization' does Mr. Cohen really believe Israel could reject massive U.S. and international pressure to accept the guidelines set down by Bush, if the Palestinians accepted the President's condition of halting the terrorism? The conflict is not over territory or about Israelis 'rediscovering where Ramallah is?' It emanates from the Palestinian refusal to accept the Jewish right to self- determination in its ancient homeland. The issue today is not as Cohen says 'Israelis may be one day devoured by what they choose not to see' it is that Israelis are concerned by what they do see in the Ahmadinejad-Hezbollah-Hamas school.

The Palestinians are paying the price of their misery for refusing to see and accept Israel's right to exist. Unless and until that happens Cohen's conclusion that Israel must 'open its eyes and do some wall-jumping' is but an illusion. Cohen did get one thing right when he writes that Israelis 'would rather be safe than worry about peace'. Isn't that what other people do as well - in order to co-exist you first must exist.

David Essing

Back To The Top