BDS Brigade devour their own

How to boycott Israel

How to boycott Israel

Professor Dan Avnon, an Israeli professor of civics, and the head of the “Center for Peace and Reconciliation” (From the Hebrew NRG article: המרכז לשלום ויישוב סכסוכים – h/t: Ido) has been boycotted by Sydney University’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies because he is Israeli.

From the Coordinating Forum for Countering Antisemitism (CFCA):

The Sydney University’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, which has thrown its support behind controversial Palestinian leaders, has cited its boycott of Israel for refusing to help an Israeli civics teacher who has designed programs for both Jewish and Arab children.

Hebrew University of Jerusalem academic Dan Avnon is credited with developing and implementing the only state program in civics written for joint Jewish-Arab high schools.

He approached the head of the Sydney University centre, Jake Lynch, for assistance with studying civics education in Australia under a fellowship agreement between the two institutions.

But Associate Professor Lynch rebuffed the request, citing the centre’s support for the anti-Israeli Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

The centre helped establish the Sydney Peace Foundation, which awards the Sydney Peace Prize. Past recipients include the controversial Palestinian activist Hanan Ashrawi.

The centre’s website says it “promotes interdisciplinary research and teaching on the causes of conflict and the conditions that affect conflict resolution and peace”.

Professor Avnon contacted Associate Professor Lynch, expressing interest in spending time at the centre and meeting him.

Associate Professor Lynch emailed in reply: “Your research sounds interesting and worthwhile. However, we are supporters of the campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, and that includes the call for an academic boycott of Israeli universities.”

Freely translating from the NRG article, we read:

“According to the policy of the Center I must refuse your request” wrote Lynch, who is one of the leaders of the Boycott Israel movement in Australian academia. He clarified: “I and the Center have nothing against you personally, and the research that you suggest carrying out sounds interesting and worthwhile. However we support the boycott campaign against Israel, and that includes an academic boycott of the universities from your country.

A stunned Professor Avnon wrote in response to Professor Lynch that “I find it ironic that you promote a policy of boycott which doesn’t distinguish between people. In a conversation with Ma’ariv, Avnon said “This is a case of a person in charge of reconciliation who is stoking hatred against a person who is working towards bringing different populations together, simply because of his origin. This is not acceptable anywhere anywhere in the world to bully a person simply because of his group identity”.

Professor Avnon may be a clever academic, but he’s wrong about it not being acceptable anywhere in the world to boycott Israelis. He is not the first to be boycotted and I doubt he’ll be the last. Professor Moti Cristal, an Israeli expert on conflict resolution was disinvited from an NHS-sponsored event in the UK in April due to pressure from the UNISON trade union.  A British journal on translation, owned by a publishing house headed by Mona Baker, a boycotter of Israel, boycotted articles by Israeli academics.

News about anti-Israel boycotts and BDS, whether in the academic, trade unions or commercial worlds, can be found in several places, prominently among them Engage Online, Harry’s Place and Richard Millett. And this is just the UK. I haven’t even touched upon the BDS movement in Europe, the US or Australia.

What is interesting is that so many of the boycotted academics are from the left side of the Israeli political spectrum. They consider themselves “good Israelis” who should be approved of by the boycotter because they act for “peace” and side with the Palestinians, as opposed to those nasty right-wing “settler” or religious types. This aggravates their cognitive dissonance.  For all their brains and academic learning, they cannot seem to internalize that the BDS brigade are basically antisemites.

As Harry’s Place says in a more succinct manner:

So this Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies apparently supports efforts toward conflict resolution and peace by everyone except Israelis. Because, y’know, they’re Israelis.

This entry was posted in Academia, Antisemitism, Boycotts and BDS and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to BDS Brigade devour their own

  1. Nice job. I just found you through a tweet from Bella Center.

    The most ironic thing about the BDSers who claim they are pro-peace is their rejection of normalization of relations with Israeli Jews. At the same time that they vilify and demonize the Jewish people, they say they believe in a society of equal rights and respect.

    I wrote about this during my own successful anti-BDS battle in Brooklyn, NY last year. Is BDS Pro-Peace?

    May you continue to go from strength to strength.

    • anneinpt says:

      Hi Barbara, thank you for your comment and good wishes, and welcome to my blog. I’ve been at your blog a couple of times when the Park Slope battle was taking place. I’m honoured that you’ve found my blog.

      May you go from strength to strength too, and let us fight this BDS battle together.

      Yes, the irony-meter goes off the scale with the BDS Brigade. I don’t know who they’re trying to kid: themselves or their audience? Do they never stop to think about what they’re doing? (OK, that was a rhetorical question, no need to answer. :-) )

  2. Brian Goldfarb says:

    Unfortunately, Moti Cristal didn’t challenge this, because it’s highly likely that the withdrawal of his invitation broke UK equality (including anti-discrimination) legislation. This is one reason why the UK Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) has never sought to activate its various boycott resolutions passed at Annual Conference. Not only has the union received letters threatening legal action should they do so (from the redoubtable Anthony Julius), but their own lawyers have warned them that this was the situation.

    UCU has dropped the European Union Monitoring Commission on Racism’s draft definition on antisemitism from its principles (as has the UK Green Party), on the basis (I suppose) that their national Executive knows better than any victim of alleged antisemitism whether this has happened or not. Just try and imagine them doing this for racism and see whether this sounds likely (or, as the Jewish actress Maureen Lipman noted in a brief discussion on the BBC’s morning Today programme, “It’s always the Jews, isn’t it?”).

    Actually, there’s a case in an Employment Tribunal at the moment, led, again, by Anthony Julius – and he doesn’t take on obviously losing cases – whereby a Jewish member of UCU, Ronnie Fraser, is challenging UCU on the basis of the dropping of the EUMC definition, saying it has made his working life intolerable. The decision isn’t expected much before the end of the year.

    Mona Baker, regrettably, actually owns the Journal which boycotted the two Israeli academics, so there was nothing the University of Manchester could do directly, though I understand that some sanctions were imposed (at least, I hope so).

    Coming back to Moti Cristal for a moment, at the last General Election here in the UK, the Labour Candidate in my constituency was the Assistant General Secretary of Unison, which had recently passed a boycott motion (on guess who?) and, although I’m a consistent Labour voter (and this is marginal Labour/Liberal-Democrat seat), I’m not ashamed to admit that I didn’t vote for her. Labour voting is not the only political principle I have, support for academic (and other) freedom, as well as Zionism, is another. BTW, she lost. And I (twice) didn’t vote for Ken Livingstone either.

    I just wonder what the law in Australia is. It’s possible that, strictly speaking, the U. of Sydney’s actions were unlawful. Why doesn’t someone contact the Australian Jewish Board of Deputies (or whatever it’s called there) and make them aware of the situation?

    • anneinpt says:

      Brian, thanks for reminding us of the legal action taken by Anthony Julius. It ought to be standard practice amongst Jewish organizations to instigate legal proceedings against the boycotters. It doesn’t seem as if anything else will work. The lawyers and activists involved need to be well organized and coordinated so that they can defend a visiting Israeli like Moti Cristal even if the Israelis themselves don’t realize there is anything they can do to counter the boycott.

      Kol hakavod to you for standing by your principles on voting day, even if they run counter to your normal voting patterns. It must be hard to break a long-standing habit and political position. I admire you for having the courage of your convictions. Would that everyone would do the same!

  3. reality says:

    the Israeli left who consider themselves”good Israelis” were horrified a few years ago when a suicide bomber blew up a trendy leftist bar/pub in Tel Aviv.Ttheir reaction to the carnage at the scene of dead & injured”but we like you palestinians, we want peace” They still cannot get it through their thick heads that a good Jew is a dead Jew in their eyes. Just as in the holocaust all tthose who had Jewish ancestors were also killed. Today we went to a remembrance for our friends 22 year old daughter who was killed 9 years ago by a suicide bomber in a suburb of Tel Aviv. Her crime? She was waiting for her father to pick her up from the bus stop. May the memory of Adva Tzipporah bat Revital v’Menachem be a blessing -May G-d avenge her death & all those killed with her as many of the others who were also killed over the years. Never Forget what our enemies motto is -they want all of Israel & they want it Jewfree. ,then they’ll turn on the rest of the world.(Please note Jews say May G-d avenge her death -not people like the Muslims)

    • anneinpt says:

      They still cannot get it through their thick heads that a good Jew is a dead Jew in their eyes.

      That’s exactly it. The extreme leftist Israelis (I use the term “left” loosely) think that because they’re “good” Jews and work against Israel’s interests, the BDS-ers and the Palestinians will love them. It doesn’t work like that in real life.

      Thank you for reminding us of the murder of Adva HY”D. I remember that awful day very well. Her killers are the ones that the BDS Brigade support. We must remind the world of this every day.

      • Brian Goldfarb says:

        I gave a talk last week to a group in another town (with a very small Jewish population – and it was to a group of those people), in which I made this point, in a different way, about groups such as Jews for Justice for Palestinians (JfJfP: as I said about them, that’s like being against sin, it’s something we’re all in favour of – possibly not quite in the sense that JfJfP mean it though) and Independent Jewish Voices. The latter is the UK group (which seems to have disappeared as quickly as it arose) which claimed back in 2010(?), in full page ads in The Guardian, The Independent (no surprise there) and the Jewish Chronicle (well, they need the money) that the list of signatories felt themselves to be silenced by the “Jewish establishment”, whoever they were. As the writer and journalist Linda Grant noted, after perusing the list, many of them were but a phone call away from an op.ed. in either or both of The Guardian & Independent.

        These are people who speak “as-a-Jew”, thus justifying the so-called “progressives” (about whom Nick Cohen wrote in “What’s Left?”) in their anti-Zionism (he said, being polite): “They’re Jewish, and if they say it, it’s okay for me to say it.” Thus, conveniently, ignoring the overwhelming majority of UK (and US) Jews in favour of an Israel existing in peace and security, most often in a two-state situation.

        But then, what do these people care for such things. We must be wrong, the JfJfP lot say so.

  4. Paul Duffill says:

    Critics of the BDS never point out that Israel’s illegal occupation is established legal fact. On topics such as Israel-Palestine, which for a number of reasons often come across as so emotive, it is important to be clear on some basic, established facts. There must be a foundation of fact for useful discussion of these topics.

    Israel’s illegal occupation is established legal fact: the world highest authority on international law, the International Court of Justice (otherwise known as the World Court) ruled in July 2004 (http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/131/1671.pdf Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory) that Israel is illegally occupying this territory in violation of international law.These violations are numerous: articles of the 4th Geneva Convention; the 4th Hague Convention 1907; UN Security Council Resolutions 446, 452 & 465; and articles of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child ( for details see pages 189, 191-192, and 183, paragraphs 120, 132, and 134 of the legal opinion).

    Israel has fully ratified all of these international standards (except for the Fourth Hague Convention which the ICJ has ruled is legally binding customary law). This means Israel has committed (along with most other countries) and is legally bound to fully respect these international standards. Any discussion of this emotive topic which ignores these clearly established legal facts risks shedding more heat than light. The anarchist’s line that “it isn’t a crime if you don’t get caught (and punished)” shouldn’t be taken seriously by anyone who takes the issue of peace and security for the region seriously.

    • anneinpt says:

      You are wrong wrong wrong Paul. Israel’s “occupation” is neither an occupation nor is it illegal, and saying it is does not make it so.

      There is no “world’s highest authority” on international law. In fact there is no such thing as international law.

      The ICJ is a court of law, but has no standing for those who are not registered with it, as Israel is not. It issued a ruling that Israel’s separation defensive wall is illegal. They are wrong and their opinion is irrelevant.

      The 4th Geneva Conventions do not apply in the case of Judea and Samaria, which you like to call the West Bank, since the territory was never possessed by a sovereign nation before Israel. It was captured in 1967 from its illegal occupiers – Jordan. There never was a country called Palestine. The only Palestine was an area, not a country, held under an international mandate by Britain as a homeland for the Jews, not the Arabs. The Palestinians were and are not a separate nation. The Palestinian Arabs are identical to Jordanian Arabs, and in Gaza are identical to Egyptians.

      If you wish to investigate further, read the resources in my sidebar.

  5. Please contact me by email – noting entry from my blog
    http://socialistdystopia.blogspot.com.au/2013/04/it-is-time.html
    Geoff Seiner Mel=bourne

  6. Previous comments were for owner of this esteemed blog – Anne…
    And please note that my WordPress blog is not active.
    I am contactable as:per
    Geoff Seidner
    g87@optusnet,com.au

    and my blog entry relevant to this blog is of course
    http://socialistdystopia.blogspot.com.au/2013/04/it-is-time.html

    • anneinpt says:

      Hello Geoff, welcome to my blog.

      If you wish to contact me by email my address is in my right sidebar. (It’s anneinpt at gmail dot com).

      I read your blog-post that you linked above and while I agree with your sentiments I think your stridency may be off-putting to the addressee of your post.

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