British Boycott Is Not Just Wrong, It's Anti-Semitic

[Times-UK] Anthony Julius and Alan Dershowitz - Academic boycotts violate two important principles - the principle known as "the universality of science and learning" and freedom of expression. The first principle is that academics do not discriminate against colleagues on the basis of factors that are irrelevant to their academic work. Beyond formulaic denunciations of Israel, the boycotters rarely offer a rational account of why it is right to shun Israel's academic institutions. The boycotters are not just adopting bad politics derived from faulty thinking. There is an edge of malice to their campaign. Their desire to hurt, to punish, outstrips their ability even to identify with any precision their targets. Does this malice have a name? Is it anti-Semitic? The history of anti-Semitism is in part the history of boycotts of Jews. Each boycott derives from a principle of exclusion: Jews and/or the Jewish state are to be excluded from public life, from the community of nations. The boycott has indeed been an essential tool of anti-Semites for at least a thousand years. The boycotters would deny to Jews the rights that they uphold for other peoples. They adhere to the principle of national self-determination, except in the Jews' case. They affirm international law, except in Israel's case. They are outraged by the Jewish nature of the State of Israel, but are untroubled (say) by the Islamic nature of Iran or of Saudi Arabia.

2007-06-15 01:00:00

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