Friday, May 30, 2008

Academia’s ‘witch-hunt against the Jews’

Melanie Phillips is invariably erudite, incisive and right. Her exposition of the blatant anti-Semitism of the Universities and Colleges Union is precisely the sort of phobia which should have the BBC filling the airwaves and the newspapers filling column inches, and doubtless they would if it were a UCU agenda against Islam or Muslims. But when the body discusses whether universities should single out Israeli and Jewish scholars for discrimination, there is not a murmur.

And as Ms Phillips reiterates: ‘Yes, you read that correctly. The UCU is debating a motion which not only raises the spectre yet again of an academic boycott of Israel but demands of Jewish and Israeli academics that they explain their politics as a pre-condition to normal academic contact. The motion asks colleagues to consider the moral and political implications of educational links with Israeli institutions, and to discuss the occupation with individuals and institutions concerned, including Israeli colleagues with whom they are collaborating... the testimonies will be used to promote a wide discussion by colleagues of the appropriateness of continued educational links with Israeli academic institutions... Ariel College, an explicitly colonising institution in the West Bank, be investigated under the formal Greylisting Procedure.’

The implication is clear. If this motion is passed, a scholar resists condemnation of Israel ‘for the “occupation”, or practising “apartheid”, “genocide” or any of the other manufactured crimes laid at Israel’s door by the Palestinian/Islamist/neonazi/leftwing axis, they won’t be able to work’.

Their contracts shall depend on conformation to the received wisdom, to propagation of ‘approved’ views, and they shall be terminated if they persist in holding views which are considered abhorrent. How will they distinguish such individuals? Force them to wear yellow stars stitched to their clothing?

Ms Phillips asserts: ‘The views they are being bludgeoned into expressing as a condition of their employment are based on lies, distortion, propaganda, gross historical ignorance, blood libels and prejudice. And this in the universities, supposedly the custodians of free thought and inquiry in the service of dispassionate scholarship.’

It is, of course, only Israel and the Jews which are the targets of this discrimination, and the latter appear to be even if they are not Zionists. There was no motion to condemn Islamism, no motion to single out Muslim students who express support for odious individuals like Qaradawi, and no motion condemning Burma, China, Zimbabwe. And these ae the same Universities and Colleges which are receiving money from Saudis without question.

But this is proof, if any were needed, of the powers that hold sway over the further education system. One has to be grateful that the UCU does not speak on behalf of either all universities or all lecturers. As one respondent states: ‘The national UCU activists are far from representative of their own union, never mind UK academia as a whole! It's a fact of life however that those of us who wish the Union would stick to representing our interests, and avoid political campaigning of any kind, tend to prefer to spend our time doing our actual jobs instead of getting involved in the union’.

Cranmer awaits the flood of resignations from those members who oppose this offensive and illegal motion. And although he is loath to exalt Nobel as any kind of touchstone - especially after the Al Gore fiasco - he does wonder how Israel has managed to produce so many academically-inspirational Nobel laureates:

Robert Aumann, Germany, Economics, 2005
Aaron Ciechanover, Chemistry, 2004
Avram Hershko, Hungary, Chemistry, 2004
Daniel Kahneman, Economics, 2002
Yitzhak Rabin, Peace, 1994
Shimon Peres, Poland, Peace, 1994
Menachem Begin, Poland, now Belarus, Peace, 1978
Shmuel Yosef Agnon, Austria, Literature, 1966

And these stand alongside just a few from the rest of the Middle East in its entirety, namely Sadat and Arafat.

And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse...(Gen 12:3).


Anonymous steadmancinques said...

This sort of action is racialism in its worst form, because it does not begin to, or wish to, distinguish between being born a Jew, and having responsibility for the policies of the Israeli state.
The policies of the Israeli state are indeed often harsh and repressive against the inhabitants of the occupied territories, and many Jewish academics are in the forefront of condemnation of those actions, apart from those who, like Daniel Barenboim, both condemn and strive tirelessly to build bridges between the two peoples.

The rabid left, however, despite all their proclaimed assertions of 'human rights', have no concept of freedom apart from the freedom to agree with them.

Most union members wish only for the union to negotiate on their behalf with employers on pay and conditions of service, and to represent them legally if things go badly wrong; 'activists' have an entirely different agenda, totally divorced from the everyday realities experienced by the ordinary members they claim to represent; the drastic decline in union membership, and its seeming irrelevance to most young workers cannot be solely explained by structural changes in the economy.

30 May 2008 at 11:45  
Anonymous hear o israel said...

it is strange to note that judeaism is suffering from modernity also, i saw a 1000 seat synagog sold to be replaced by 200 seat one .

i have some sympathies and to some extent go along with there cause , but they can show disregard when they want somthing done .

i dont want so called anti semitism and the holocaust denyers are of little use and to be honest insulting of common sense and history.

i can only hope that the middle finally politically alignes itself into somthing workable for all parties

30 May 2008 at 13:00  
Blogger ultramontane grumpy old catholic said...

Your Grace

The Telegraph of 28th May reports this, quoting a University of Brighton Lecturer in Philosphy saying:

'It's not a resolution calling for a boycot of Israeli Universities - we are just urging people to reflect on whether it is appropriate for them to maintain their links with Israeli institutions'

The wording and of the motion is so woolly that the motion could be passed, with all the right signals, nods and winks and the UCU still denying any semitism.

Does the gentleman so quoted hold the Peter Mandelson Chair on the Philosophy of (K)Cant and Spin(oza)?

In any case, he possesses both essences summa cum laude.

Scratch a liberal and reveal a stalinist.

It's ironic that I find myself on this occasion in agreement with the Baroness Deech whose letter in the same newspaper deploring this motion drew my attention to it.

Your Grace and your loyal communicants have clashed with this lady in the past regarding HFE issues. But on this occasion she is right.

30 May 2008 at 13:48  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I completely agree with you, but what's this:

"...bludgeoned into expressing as a condition of their employment..."


Aren't closed shops illegal?

Or did I miss where Blair brought them back?

30 May 2008 at 16:32  
Anonymous oiznop said...

Not entirely, Anon. A number of professionalss have to be members of other bodies before they can practise - like doctors, teachers, etc, and it costs them, so its a kind of compulsory membership tax.

30 May 2008 at 17:29  
Anonymous Occasional lurker said...

Your Grace, I apologise for this comment being somewhat off topic and hope you don't find it too inappropriate.

I have the deepest respect for your Grace. I normally enjoy reading your blog and find myself nodding in agreement with the vast majority of your writings. But I must take issue with your opening statement here: "Melanie Phillips is invariably erudite, incisive and right". Leaving aside that only God can be invariably right, Melanie Phillips certainly talks a lot of sense about many things, but her support for the MMR-vaccine-causes-autism canard is neither erudite nor right.

I do agree with what she writes in this instance, however. Also with your Grace and the correspondents above.

30 May 2008 at 18:38  
Anonymous Voyager said...

It will be interesting to see US universities cut off links with British institutions and funding.

The public sector unions are the last stronghold of the Left and they are busy emulating the Right of the 1920s and 1930s. It was the Polish Right pre-war which segregated Jews in University lecture halls before Germany got around to such things - but the positions are switched amazingly as the Left has taken over the mindless emotionalism of the Interwar Right and lost all contact with reason and rational discourse.

The Left is marked by the need to vilify, to create hate figures and to bind the band of the barmy into a coven chanting imprecations against whomsoever they find offensive simply to revel in the thrill of hate.

30 May 2008 at 20:50  
Blogger Homophobic Horse said...

"the Left has taken over the mindless emotionalism of the Interwar Right and lost all contact with reason and rational discourse."

During the Iranian revolution Michael Foucault warmly received the news that left-wing movements in Iran had hybridized the war-like and austere Shia Islam with Communism. Think about it, Communism with religious fanaticism. When the Shia aspect of this Shia-Marxist glorious "peoples revolution" (as Foucault beleived it to be) began beheading gays and stoning women he couldn't acknowledge what had happened. Moreover, he didn't want to condemn the direction the revolution had taken for to do so would be to imperialistically and occulsively impose Western values on a non-Western revolution.

According to a hugely interesting article Foucault:

"Michel Foucault stated that he was ‘impressed' by the ‘attempt to open a spiritual dimension in politics' that he discerned in project on an Islamic government. Today there are little girls all in black, veiled from head to toe; women stabbed precisely because they do not want to wear the veil; summary executions for homosexuality; the creation of a ‘Ministry of Guidance According to the Precepts of the Koran;' thieves and adulterous women flagellated." "

Moreover Foucault saw a redemptive power in Shia/Marxism

"He concluded the article by referring to the crucial place of "political spirituality" in Iran and the loss of such spirituality in early modern Europe. "

Then he called his opponents Islamophobic:

"Returning to the problematic notion of an Islamic government, Atoussa H. pointed to the brutal forms of justice in Saudi Arabia: "Heads and hands are cut off, for thieves and lovers." She concluded: "Many Iranians are, like me, distressed and desperate about the thought of an ‘Islamic' government. . . . The Western liberal left needs to know that Islamic law can become a dead weight on societies hungering for change. They should not let themselves be seduced by a cure that is perhaps worse than the disease." Foucault, in a short rejoinder published the following week in Nouvel Observateur, wrote that what was "intolerable" about Atoussa H.'s letter, was her "merging together" of all forms of Islam into one and then "scorning" Islam as "fanatical." It was certainly discerning on Foucault's part to note in his response that Islam "as a political force is an essential problem for our epoch and for the years to come." But this prediction was seriously undercut by his utter refusal to share any of her critique of political Islam. Instead, he concluded his rejoinder by lecturing Atoussa H.: "The first condition for approaching it [Islam] with a minimum of intelligence is not to begin by bringing in hatred." In March and April 1979, once the Khomeini regime's atrocities against women and homosexuals began, this exchange would come back to haunt Foucault."

He may as well have called his critics "Islamophobic" and because their criticisms were only thinly veiled "discourses of the will to power", because, after all, there is no objective truth. God is Dead. The Will-to-Power creates truth and order.

We are naive in the extreme if we think this reincarnation of Godless German philosophy is not going to end up with another Nazi tyranny.

No, I'd say this tyranny has already begun with the spurious "Hate-Speech" legislation where quoting from the Koran in public, or perhaps just filming and displaying what Muslims think of gays, can land you in prison, or subject to investigation because after all, there is no truth, no ideas, only speakers, and if one says something that makes another look bad by reference to his beliefs and culture--which are protected as a human right,

i.e. religion is irrational, but being irrational it is a wellspring of life and therefore essential to humanity therefore to insult religion is to insult someone's humanity--which makes you a kind of proto-nazi.

30 May 2008 at 23:42  
Anonymous British Patriot said...

Zionism in Britain

Who is David Milliband

The Traitors within

Fulford End Game

30 May 2008 at 23:56  
Anonymous British Patriot said...

The threat might betterbe described as from Zionists or the Global Elite, after all there are Good and bad in all groups (Bush, Blair, Brown)

30 May 2008 at 23:58  
Blogger björn (farmer) said...

congrats to a great blog!

31 May 2008 at 08:01  
Anonymous Chris said...

I'd just like to endorse Occasional Lurker at 18:38, and to add that Ms Phillips sorely needs an editor. What she says is often (see OL) right, but could usually be expressed just as trenchantly at a third or less of the length.

31 May 2008 at 08:32  
Anonymous Dr. Irene Lancaster said...

Some are even suggesting that the BBC is blocking discussion of this motion on their web pages.

Ariel College has many Muslim students who are angry at the pro-boycotters for potentially shutting down a place where they can receive an excellent education together with their Jewish counterparts.

This is the latest on antisemitism as it is played out in England:

1 June 2008 at 18:34  
Anonymous edward tattysyrup said...

'Melanie Phillips is invariably erudite, incisive and right'.

No she isn't.

3 June 2008 at 13:08  

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