Latest update: July 14th, 2013
Meanwhile, Brandeis, the “Jewish” university, gave Jimmy Carter a stand-alone platform to spout his anti-Israel views. And then there’s the Forward – a Jewish newspaper that has previously honored me and in whose pages my work has appeared – which covered the latest British attempt to boycott Israeli academics mainly by focusing on the allegations of one Israeli-American academic, Dr. Yigal Arens, a professor of computer science who insists that he has been “ boycotted” or disinvited to a conference at Ben Gurion University because of his anti-Israeli politics. This is passing strange since so many Israeli academics are themselves left wing and specialize in criticizing Israel.
And now leaders of Americans for Peace Now, Israel Forum, and Brit T’zedek v’Shalom are contemplating a merger in order to increase their clout and attract “more money to push for a two state solution.”
Nevertheless, there is some sanity on the horizon:
● Austin, Texas-based physicist Dr. Steven Weinberg, who is also a Nobel laureate, cancelled a trip to the UK in protest of the boycott of Israeli products called for in April by British journalists.
● Dudu Himmelfarb, chairman of the worker’s union of Maman, an Israeli cargo company, has announced that “if the British union decides to go ahead with the boycott, we will stop unloading cargo from the British Aircrafts and imports from Britain.”
● Just this month some 100 Israeli reservists from Sderot refused to serve, saying, “We, reserve soldiers and officers from Sderot, have been brought up on the values of Zionism, Judaism and the sacrifice for the state and its citizens. We used to believe that army service was a privilege and a duty for the State of Israel and its residents, and that this was the only way to ensure the existence of a safe home for the Jewish people in Israel and the Diaspora….Last summer we were called up for the war in the north and responded to the call out of a sense of mutual commitment, national duty and a shared destiny with the residents of the north. We feel that this commitment is being violated in Sderot and the Gaza-area communities by the Israeli government…. The government does not offer a solution to the threat.”
● Media watchdogs CAMERA, HonestReporting.com, MEMRI, and a host of ex- and dissident Muslims together with Christians and mainly Orthodox Jews from all over the world continue to fight Israel’s demonization.
● Rank-and-file members of the various British bodies that have called to boycott Israel are demanding second votes. Jewish groups are launching petition drives and calling for the British to reconsider their obsessive deligitimazation of Israel. The noted law professor and author Alan Dershowitz has called on academics worldwide to affiliate with Israeli universities. (I had already done so long ago as part of a drive undertaken by Scholars for Peace in the Middle East.) The Goldhirsh Foundation has announced that it will not fund any UK scientists.
It is not enough. Nothing is enough. It is not our fault; the forces arrayed against us are overwhelming. Therefore, I implore the grassroots members of the Jewish Book Council not to invite Professors Walt and Mearsheimer to any more Jewish book fairs. (I do not have enough space to discuss why this seeming relaxation of our commitment to free speech may ultimately save the very civilization in which such an idea evolved).
So many non-Jewish universities are caving in to Islamist demands for pro-Islamic programs; I hope administrators at Brandeis (where I once taught and where my beloved son went to school and loved it) will consider it incumbent upon them not to join this lynch mob; may they “boycott” Walt-Mearsheimer and others of their ilk as lecturers – unless they allow for face-to-face debate.
Finally, I hope that, like the Nazi-era Danes, other American and European professors will proudly “wear the Jewish star” and join me in affiliating with Israeli universities.
About the Author: Dr. Phyllis Chesler is a professor emerita of psychology, a Middle East Forum fellow, and the author of sixteen books including “The New Anti-Semitism” (2003, 2014), “Living History: On the Front Lines for Israel and the Jews, 2003-2015 (2015), and “An American Bride in Kabul” (2013), for which she won the National Jewish Book Award in the category of memoirs. Her articles are archived at www.phyllis-chesler.com. A version of this piece appeared on IsraelNationalNews.com.
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