“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

4 Years on, Still Obsessed With Boycotting Israelis.

with 2 comments

Engage covers another staged debate on the boycotting of Israelis, to be held at the LSE, on Thursday 13th January 2011.

Looking at the participants, one of them seemed familiar to me, John Chalcraft.

I haven’t heard Dr. Chalcraft speak, but I vaguely remember an argument he posed before on boycotting Israelis.

Norm covered it, 4 years ago:

“Like the AUT boycott decision that came before it (see the links at the end of this post), the vote yesterday at the Bournemouth conference of UCU disgraces a union representing British academics, and it will stain its reputation and moral standing so long as the decision is allowed to stand. Arguing for the boycott position yesterday, John Chalcraft wrote:

The movement for boycott is in no way anti-semitic. It includes Jews and non-Jews…

Well, whether the policy of boycotting Israeli academics is anti-Semitic or not, the fact that the movement in favour of it includes some Jews is neither here nor there. This can’t establish its ‘clean’ credentials, as will be quickly seen from the following simple thought experiment.

Imagine a policy that you’re certain would be anti-Semitic: say, just for example, a law requiring all Jewish academics to wear insignia of identity when at their place of work. Now, suppose some Jews who support this law, for whatever reason. End of thought experiment.**

The anti-Semitic or non-anti-Semitic character of any policy depends on its overall shape and effects and not on whether or not it has some Jewish supporters – even though, in the nature of things, most Jews will pass up the opportunity of supporting anti-Semitic policies. But most is just most; it isn’t all”

[My emphasis.]

**In my view Norm’s argument here is a bit too subtle.

He’s basically reminding his readers that some Jews went along and agreed with the wearing of an antisemitic symbol. But that didn’t make it any less antisemitic.

So it is with Dr. Chalcraft’s arguments and he’s been going on about boycotting Israelis (and no one else) for years and years.

Still, I suppose it provides an outlet for him and others, a bit like that bloke down the Pub who rants when certain topics come up. Its something a kin to the equivalent of Middle Class football hooliganism, something to let frustrations out on, a useful whipping boy for Western angst and alienation.

Now I am a great believer in argumentation, but it seems unlikely that ANY argument would sway or deflect these anti-Israeli obsessives, as we’ve seen before with the institutionalised racism in UCU.

I wonder if these words will be used by pro-boycotters at the LSE debate “Of course, some of my best friends are…..”?

Update 1: The LSE’s cartography has been lacking recently, as the JPost relates:

“LONDON – A prestigious British university apologized on Thursday for using a map of the Middle East without Israel in an article in one of its publications.

The alumni magazine of the London School of Economics, LSE Connect, published a story about the school’s new Middle East research center with a map of the Middle East that had Beirut and the Gaza Strip but no Israel.

In the article, it said that the creation of the center was made possible because of the support of two organizations from the United Arab Emirates. The Emirates Foundation for Philanthropy and the Aman Trust contributed £9.2 million. “

2 Responses

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  1. I see evidence that the the Judenrat in Bialystok thought there would be heavy punishment if the order to distribute and wear stars was disobeyed, but none that any Jews were actively in favour of them.
    I think it’s true that the presence of Jews is not absolute proof by itself that the boycott is not anti-semitic, but it is fairly good supporting evidence (unles one starts on the circular “self-hating Jews” path), and one can imagine the hay that would be made by the obsessive anti-boycott lobby if there were no Jews involved. Not a good argument from Normprof.

    I have a map on my wall of Europe where the island of Britain has been replaced by sea. Should I assume that the cartographer responsible must be an extreme Anglophobe?


    12/01/2011 at 15:23

  2. Skidmarx,

    Let’s not go there shall we ?

    Your record thus far as for spotting antisemitism is abysmal, and the resonance of boycotting Jews is clear enough to anyone with a competent grasp of history, or basic literacy.

    Might I suggest that you search my blog on the topic of Gilad Atzmon ?


    12/01/2011 at 15:38

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