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about thE author


Eve Garrard
Eve Garrard is senior lecturer in the Centre for Professional Ethics at Keele University in the United Kingdom. Prior to joining Keele, she worked for several years for the Open University, and has a strong interest in teaching philosophy to adult beginning students. Much of her teaching is now in applied ethics, to health care (and other) professionals. Her research interests are in moral theory (especially theory of motivation); applied ethics, including bioethics; and also philosophical issues connected with the idea of evil. She has published papers on the nature of evil and of forgiveness, and has co-edited a book on moral philosophy and the Holocaust. She is a signatory of the Euston Manifesto, and a guest-blogger on normblog.

Excluding Israelis: An Intellectual Anatomy of the Academic Boycott
By Eve Garrard February 2008

about ZWorD

Z Word is an online journal focusing on the contemporary debate over Zionism, anti-Zionism, anti-Semitism and related areas. Editorially independent, Z Word identifies and challenges anti-Zionist orthodoxies in mainstream political exchange. Z Word is supported by the American Jewish Committee. To learn more about Z Word, visit us online at: or contact the editors at:

Graffiti near the University of Southampton, England in July 2006
Photo credit: Seth Frantzman

© Copyright the American Jewish Committee (AJC). All content herein, unless otherwise specified, is owned solely by the AJC and may not disseminated in any way without prior written consent from the AJC. All rights reserved.

On 31 May 2007, the University and College Union (UCU)—the academics’ union in the UK—passed a motion at its annual conference instructing its executive to circulate a call for a boycott of Israeli universities, and to organize a UK-wide tour of branches by Palestinian academics to discuss this. It also declared that in the circumstances of ‘the complicity of Israeli academia in the occupation … criticism of Israel cannot be construed as antisemitic.’1 Four months later, on 28 September, the Union announced that its legal advisers had warned it that such a boycott would be unlawful, because it would constitute discrimination. The opinion came from Lord Lester QC, who had himself played a significant role in creating Britain’s anti-discrimination legislation; hence his views about the possibility of the boycott being in breach of that legislation seemed likely to be authoritative. The Union therefore called off the debate, and for the time being, at any rate, the boycott proposal collapsed. In between these two events, throughout an exceptionally gray, wet British summer, a very intense and acrimonious debate took place in the universities and colleges, and in the national press, and on the internet, in particular on some of the political blogs and also on the Union activists’ e-list. The political history of the boycott campaign in the UCU, if it ever gets written, will be extremely

interesting, revealing such things as the role played by the Socialist Workers Party, whose members and sympathizers were disproportionately represented both in the ranks of the boycotters and among local union representatives; the extent to which those who supported the boycott proposal were reluctant to allow the union membership to be balloted on this highly divisive topic; and such passing peculiarities as the unexpected intervention of the British Medical Journal. However, I do not propose to write that history here. My aim is rather to present an intellectual anatomy of the debate itself, since the arguments on both sides were so illuminating, and so full of significance for wider debates about Zionism and antisemitism. Why boycott? There was one main argument in support of the boycott: the claim that Israel oppresses the Palestinians. There is much Palestinian suffering, and, so this argument goes, Israel is entirely responsible for it. Other arguments favoring a boycott emerged in response to various objections to it, but this appeal to Palestinian suffering and Israeli oppression was the bedrock claim, and boycotters returned to and reiterated it again and again, especially when the weaknesses of their other arguments were demonstrated. Facing this claim were two central objections to the boycott, deriving from different and independent moral principles (though as we shall see the two arguments rapidly became intertwined); with a third, more consequences-oriented, set of considerations bringing up the rear.2 The first of these objections was the claim that an academic boycott would violate the principle of academic freedom, a principle which is not only important in its own right, being essential to the flourishing of the academy, but also one which is peculiarly under the protection of academics. If they don’t respect academic freedom, so it was often argued, why should anyone else? The second main argument against the boycott was that it would be unjust—it would involve discrimination against Israel. Why is Israel being singled out for hostile treatment, it was asked, when there are so many worse malefactors in the world today? Very few people in the universities, even among the most dedicated boycotters, were prepared to say openly that Israel is actually the worst country in the world, and any such claim couldn’t of course be supported, in the light of far greater and bloodier oppression elsewhere. So

what could justify singling it out for boycotting, when other and much worse states (China, Russia, Sudan, North Korea, Zimbabwe, Syria, Iran, Libya, Burma …..) are left untroubled by any adverse attentions from the UCU? Singling Israel out alone among the nations for punishment can’t be justified, so this argument claimed, and hence it is discriminatory; and furthermore, since Israel is the only Jewish state, and is supported by many Jews in other countries, unjustified discrimination against it is effectively antisemitic. With respect to the first argument, about the threat which a boycott poses to academic freedom, the immediate response from boycotters was to point out that academic freedom, though important, is not the only important consideration—sometimes factors take priority, such as the fight against oppression. Some pro-boycotters also argued in this context that Palestinians don’t have academic freedom,3 so a boycott of Israel aiming to improve the situation of Palestinian academics and students would actually defend academic freedom rather than undermine it; and in any case, they claimed, Israeli universities misuse their academic freedom. 4 (No-one actually said that improvement of the conditions of Palestinian academics and students was the principal aim of the proposed boycott, and, indeed, its precise aims never became clear. In particular, the conditions which would count as success, and hence would lead to the boycott being

“…[T]he argument also leaves quite unexplained why socialists…don’t feel the same need to declare their purity in the face of other regimes”
lifted, were never fully spelled out by its supporters.) This defense of the boycott, in terms of the overriding importance of fighting oppression, effectively forged a tight connection between the concern about academic freedom and the concern about unjust selectivity. This was because it immediately raised the following question: if Israel’s misdeeds are important enough to override the value of academic freedom, then why isn’t the same true of Russia, China, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Syria, Iran, and so on (and on)? Why is Israel being singled out? Attempts to answer that question, and the pressing home of the
Excluding Israelis: An Intellectual Anatomy of the Academic Boycott 2

question in the face of those attempts, became the principal locus of the debate. Very few anti-boycotters claimed that Israel is faultless; what they said was that it is not alone in this condition, and what they demanded of the pro-boycotters was that they specify exactly which feature of Israel is supposed to distinguish it from other faulty polities and justify singling it out for distinctively hostile treatment. In response to this demand, the pro-boycotters put forward a remarkably wide range of considerations; however few, if any, of them survived the forensic attention which they received from the boycott’s adversaries. Worse than all the others? One of the commonest and most persistent justifications given for singling out Israel was the claim that Israel is an apartheid state. Since the original apartheid state, South Africa, was the subject of a successful academic boycott, there could be no legitimate objection to boycotting Israel. The anti-boycotters naturally responded to this claim by pointing out the many ways in which Israel is radically different from apartheid South Africa: the vibrant free press in Israel, in which the government can be and often is fiercely criticized; the large numbers of Arab students and staff at top Israeli universities; and most importantly, the fact that every Israeli citizen, Jew or Arab, has the vote. The occupation of the Palestinian territories, even if it is entirely wrong, simply isn’t the same as apartheid—and if it were, then other occupying powers such as China, Russia, and Turkey would also have to be regarded as apartheid states. Pro-boycotters commonly responded to these arguments by reverting to descriptions of Israeli wrongdoing and Palestinian suffering; here as elsewhere in the debate boycotters regularly failed to address the fact that the singling-out argument is a comparative one—why this country?—which can only be answered by a suitable comparison of this country with others. But the claim that Israel is an apartheid state continued to be made, in spite of its inaccuracy, throughout the campaign. And it’s easy to see why: the rhetorical power of the analogy, its ability to associate Israel with appalling racism and also with ultimate defeat, was too great for boycotters to want to abandon it, even though other regimes are far more similar to apartheid South Africa, in terms both of racism and of the oppression of large numbers of people, than Israel is.

Another attempt to specify the factor which allegedly justifies singling out Israel for boycott was the claim that it’s an occupying power, and (supposedly) we care more about occupations than about other human rights abuses—we are all strongly committed to the Peace of Westphalia5, on this account. But, as many people pointed out, there are other occupying powers whose occupations are far worse and bloodier than Israel’s, but which haven’t been boycotted by the UCU, nor are they likely to be—China is an obvious example. Nor is it obvious that we do care more about occupations than about other kinds of rights-violations, or that we draw the fine distinctions between different kinds of occupation which is needed to explain the special

“No broadly philosophical discussion of the nature and proper aims of academic boycotts ever took place, nor was there any principled investigation of which states, if any, would be justified targets”
condemnation of Israel, rather than other occupying powers; and even if we do, it isn’t at all clear that we should. Next up came the claim that the reason for focussing on Israel was that a boycott would be more likely to work with Israel, possibly because it’s a democracy, than it would with any of the other malefactors whose misdeeds are so markedly worse. No serious attempt to back up this assertion was ever provided, nor was there evidence that boycotts of any other states had actually been considered by the Union. No broadly philosophical discussion of the nature and proper aims of academic boycotts ever took place, nor was there any principled investigation of which states, if any, would be justified targets—those union activists who thought that boycott was an appropriate activity for academics always had Israel in mind. An interesting variation on the claim about effectiveness came from the original mover of the boycott proposal, Tom Hickey of Brighton University, who argued that because Israeli, and more broadly Jewish, culture is especially committed to education and scholarship, an academic boycott would be especially effective against the Jewish state.6 That is, the fact that Israel is committed to some humane and civilized values was given as a reason for
Excluding Israelis: An Intellectual Anatomy of the Academic Boycott 3

treating it as a particularly desirable target for boycott. This supposed justification had a peculiarly perverse flavor, seeking to punish Israel for its virtues rather than

“It was hard not to believe that this was something to do with the adverse effects on an academic’s career that refusing to have dealings with American academia might produce”
its vices, and implying that regimes lacking those virtues would be less appropriate targets for punitive treatment. Another justification which was sometimes put forward adumbrated a theme that would become steadily more dominant: the claim that Israel is supported by America, so fighting Israel is a way of fighting American imperialism. The underlying assumption here is that fighting American imperialism is more important than preserving academic freedom, and more important than refraining from unjust selectivity—an assumption which, to put it mildly, is itself in need of supporting argument. And more significantly, this assumption doesn’t explain why it’s Israel which should be boycotted, rather than America itself. If America is the source of what’s objectionable about Israel, why should it not be the overt target of the boycott? But the possibility of boycotting America was never raised, even by people whose hostility to it was loudly and frequently voiced. It was hard not to believe that this was something to do with the adverse effects on an academic’s career that refusing to have dealings with American academia might produce. The final argument for singling out Israel which I will mention here is the view that this selectivity is right because the Israelis are really like us—they’re ‘one of us’—so we naturally hold them to Western standards of behavior. Indeed, Israelis are constantly saying that they hold themselves to Western standards, so it’s right that they should be judged accordingly. Leave aside the problem that the history of the West contains many and terrible episodes where Jews were emphatically not regarded as being ‘one of us’. A more pressing problem is that it does seem to follow from this putative justification that if Israel dropped its commitment to Western standards, then there would be much less reason to single it out for further attention, and

boycotters would turn their hostile attentions elsewhere. On this view we should cut more slack to countries which are unashamedly oppressive and tyrannical, and be harsher to countries which explicitly endorse liberal values. This prioritizes, to a remarkable extent, criticism of the vice of hypocrisy (which Israel must be supposed to possess above all others—itself a claim entirely lacking in support) at the expense of ignoring the rather more terrible vices of tyranny and mass murder. It may be that those who deploy this justification for singling Israel out for boycott are driven by an unspoken assumption that we should only judge polities by the standards which they themselves respect. But this is itself a peculiarly unattractive view: as a general principle, it would permanently sink any hope of appealing to human rights in the face of the systematic oppression and killing which disfigure so many parts of the planet. The narcissism of Not-In-My-Name A distinctive version of this line of argument was provided by Richard Kuper, the Chair of Jews for Justice for Palestinians. Kuper explained that Israel’s commitment to Western values justifies singling it out for punitive treatment, because if we don’t, then we, as Westerners, will be complicit in its misdeeds; it’s important that we should say, ‘No, not in our name’.7 (Steven Rose, Secretary of the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine, and a prime mover in the boycott campaign, also expressed some of this concern about complicity8, as did various other boycott sympathizers, such as the architectural critic Charles Jencks.9) But this justification for singling out Israel is really focused on the need to purify us, to enable us to keep our hands clean—and better still, to show the world that they’re clean. The unattractive and frivolous narcissism of this argument, with its self-absorbed concentration upon our own moral condition, has the effect of putting us and our moral purity at centre stage, instead of the problems of those who have to live and act in the terrible dilemmas of the Middle East. And the argument also leaves quite unexplained why socialists like Kuper and Rose don’t feel the same need to declare their purity in the face of other regimes, regimes which claim adherence to socialist values while engaging in oppressions far more deadly than that of Israel (North Korea is an obvious example, as is China). The argument about complicity implies that socialists are complicit in
Excluding Israelis: An Intellectual Anatomy of the Academic Boycott 4

the horrors those regimes have committed unless they loudly and publicly say, ‘No, not in my name’, and demonstrate their sincerity by calling for an academic boycott of those polities. In the absence of such calls, this supposed reason for singling out Israel does not sound convincing. Perhaps the most notable feature of these various attempts to provide a reason for singling Israel out for exceptional adverse treatment is that they manifestly beg the question at issue—they deploy and rely on the very selectivity which they are supposed to be justifying. The oppression argument; the occupation argument; the claim that academic freedom isn’t always the most important consideration; the concern about complicity: all these themselves embody the selectivity which they purport to be accounting for, since all of them focus on aspects of Israel which can be found, often in much worse forms, in other countries which remain free from

“…[T]here was a very markedly non-random distribution of boycott demands: Israel was the only candidate”

the UCU’s boycotting attentions. Since these arguments exemplify that selectivity, they can’t adequately explain it. The failure of these attempts to defend the boycott by identifying a feature of Israel which it uniquely possesses, and which justifies uniquely punitive treatment, led in due course to two interesting attempts to provide a justification, while acknowledging the absence of any such unique feature. These arguments cut through the dialectical knot by simply denying that there’s anything wrong with singling-out; hence, they claim, the absence of a uniquely bad feature in Israel is no bar to a legitimate exceptionalism in the treatment of the Jewish state. The first of these arguments denies, as a general matter, that we need to give any reason at all for focussing on one moral issue rather than another. Which cause we take up, its adherents say, is a matter of personal decision, and there’s nothing wrong with sometimes adopting a rather less serious cause in preference to a more serious one. Now, there is indeed some truth in this. If a person has a particular concern for animals, for example, then she may

reasonably devote her time and money to animal welfare, even though there are also children in need whom she could, if she chose, help instead. But if that’s what’s going on in the case of the boycott, if support for it is just a matter of personal choice, then we would expect to see a random distribution of such choices, or at the very least a fair scattering of concern, with some people calling for a boycott of China, others telling us to boycott Syrian universities, or Egyptian ones, or Saudi Arabian ones, or those in Zimbabwe, or North Korea, or Iran, or Burma, or Pakistan, or India, or Russia, or the USA—there are plenty of candidates, after all. But we didn’t see anything like this. There was a very markedly non-random distribution of boycott demands: Israel was the only candidate. And in the face of this notable lack of randomness, the point about personal choice loses grip. It is highly implausible to suppose that that’s what was going on in the well-integrated Union campaign. The alternative defense of singling-out involved a slightly richer line of reasoning. The claim here was that singling-out for punishment isn’t objectionable, because it’s always legitimate to punish a wrongdoer, whether or not other wrongdoers also get punished. It’s irrelevant, on this view, whether other countries deserve to be boycotted, since all that matters is whether Israel is actually a wrongdoer. If it is, then it’s right to punish it, whether or not we punish other wrongdoers. Again there is some intuitive appeal in this argument. We do think it’s right to punish the murderers whom we catch and convict, for example, even though there are many others whom we don’t punish since we don’t manage to convict them. But even if there are times when it’s right to punish one malefactor independently of what we do to others, there are also quite obviously times when this would be entirely wrong. Suppose we had a policy of punishing only the women who drink and drive, say, and not the men, maybe on the grounds that we can’t catch and punish all drink-drivers, and women may (perhaps) be more susceptible to the deterrent effects of punishment than men. This would clearly be unjustified, and indeed it’s inconceivable that anyone would try to justify it. There simply is no general principle that says that it’s permissible to punish some malefactors but not others. Sometimes this can be justified, but sometimes it can’t—it has to be decided case by case. And cases where lesser rather than greater offenders are selected for punishment cry out for further explanation and justification.
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Furthermore, where the only group targeted for punishment is one for whom there is a history of discriminatory hostility, and where the nature and effect of the punishment would be to further the very ends of ostracism and exclusion which that past discrimination

“The singular focus on Israel created an explanatory gap—why this country? —which could readily be filled by some very traditional discriminatory attitudes towards Jews”
pursued, then the singling-out of that group for specially punitive treatment begins to look ethically very dubious indeed. So this attempt to defend the singling-out of Israel for hostile attention, by appeal to the supposed principle that it’s always legitimate to punish an offender regardless of what happens to other offenders, also fails to work, since that principle is in fact false. In the absence of an adequate justification for the singling-out of Israel for special hostility, some of those fighting the boycott proposal became convinced that it was antisemitic, in effect and in some cases in intention. They pointed out that singling out an individual or country for special hostility without justification is discriminatory; and given that Israel is the only Jewish state, and is supported by many Jews outside its borders, unjustified discrimination against it would be discrimination against Jews—that is, antisemitism. The UCU proposal had attempted to pre-empt this charge by declaring that in the current context criticism of Israel cannot be construed as antisemitic, but since absolutely no supporting argument was ever provided for this extraordinary claim, and since obvious counter-examples (for example, from the public statements of Hezbullah or Hamas) are so easy to find, this clause in the boycott proposal tended rather to strengthen the charge of antisemitism than to weaken it. Antisemitism in effect The standard response to the charge of antisemitism was outrage and offense on the part of the boycotters. This was understandable, since it’s a serious charge, but the effect of this response was to change the subject under discussion

to the wounded feelings of the boycotters, and away from a consideration of the truth (or otherwise) of the charge.10 Such consideration as there was generally took the form of saying that criticism of Israel isn’t the same as antisemitism; this was, however, irrelevant, since no anti-boycotters ever claimed that it was the same, and in any case a boycott is not a form of criticism but rather a form of punishment. Many of the boycotters clearly felt, and said, that the proposal couldn’t be antisemitic, since they themselves didn’t hate Jews11. This error—of considering antisemitism as purely a matter of how people feel, rather than of what they actually do—is one which is now rarely made by academics about other forms of racism, since the idea of indirect or institutional racism is well-established and well-known in the UK. The persistence of this purely psychological approach to antisemitism itself calls for further explanation. That a boycott would in practise discriminate against Jews seems fairly plausible. That the motives of the boycotters were discriminatory was harder to ascertain, and is unlikely to have been universally the case, although this view of their motivation was to some extent supported by the way in which many boycotters chose to describe events in the Middle East. From their accounts of the Palestinian plight, few of their listeners would have realized that Israel had been established by the UN, promptly attacked by all its Arab neighbors, subjected to constant terrorist attacks on its civilians, and made the object of genocidal threats by its enemies. Only its wrongdoings were acknowledged—all too often the pro-boycott narrative was one in which the complexities of the Middle East were flattened out into a simple morality play, in which the Palestinians were cast in the role of pure and innocent victims, with Israel being presented as the locus of unrelieved malevolence and guilt. Indeed, many boycotters were ready to compare Israel to the Nazis—for example, by declaring the situation in Gaza to be like that in the Warsaw Ghetto. Calamitous though the state of Gaza is, the differences between the two cases are gross and glaring; and in view of these deep disanalogies, the insistence on drawing this comparison had a peculiarly repellent quality, deriving perhaps from its exploitation of the terrible history of the Nazis and the Jews. It was hard to tell why some people felt the need to paint the swastika onto the foreheads of the Jews of Israel in this way, to covertly suggest that the Nazis have been reincarnated as Israeli Jews and that Israel is the new Third Reich. Not all boycotters
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shared these views, but few actually disavowed them; and insofar as they endorsed such innuendos they were peddling a new version of a very old stereotype, that Jews are secretly planning to kill millions of innocent people. Another familiar anti-Jewish motif was discernible in the pro-boycotters’ increasing insistence, especially after the collapse of the boycott, that they were the victims of a “well funded” international Zionist lobby that is attempting to suppress criticism of Israel12—a claim which both fed on, and gave new life to, a standard antisemitic trope. But there was also a different reason for regarding the pro-boycott campaign as effectively antisemitic. Supporters of the boycott made much of its symbolic power, and they were right to do so—a boycott is indeed a powerfully symbolic weapon. Supporting a boycott was felt by its proponents to show how much Israeli wrongdoing is rejected, how much solidarity is felt with and offered to Palestinian victims. But symbolism is a complex matter, and often it is not entirely or even largely under the control of the person deploying the symbols.

“The arguments for the boycott never succeeded in showing why Israel should be treated in this discriminatory way, and the legal advice that was eventually given underscored this fact”
Other symbols, other layers of meaning, were also involved in the boycott proposals. One effect of singling out Israel for adverse treatment, particularly by people claiming to act in the name of justice, was to imply that its offenses were peculiarly objectionable, peculiarly in need of punishment. Why else, after all, was it the only one for which the UCU was considering a boycott? No-one needed to say that it’s the most heinous offender to present it in this light, and indeed supporters of the boycott generally didn’t say this, since it’s so obviously false. But nonetheless, at the symbolic level, the identification was made. This was part of the mechanics, so to speak, of the demonization of Israel, of its construction as the special, intolerable wrongdoer, whose lesser offenses are more

objectionable than greater offences by other polities. Whatever the motives of the boycott supporters, the symbolism of the boycott was always likely to have the effect of encouraging antisemitism. The singular focus on Israel created an explanatory gap—why this country?— which could readily be filled by some very traditional discriminatory attitudes towards Jews; and this was likely to happen however much the supporters of a boycott claimed that they were only targeting Israelis and not Jews. Any boycott is a call for ostracism, exclusion and punishment. The boycott proposal encouraged antisemitic views and attitudes partly because this content—the demand for ostracism and exclusion—mapped so neatly onto traditional antisemitic goals and practices. (And here, perhaps, we do find some truth in the claim that Israel is being selected for boycott because it’s most likely to work with her. Insofar as the aim of a boycott is to encourage hostility to and rejection of its target, then this is indeed most likely to be effective with Israel, since there is already a space in our culture for just that rejection of and hostility towards Jews.) The arguments for the boycott never succeeded in showing why Israel should be treated in this discriminatory way, and the legal advice that was eventually given underscored this fact. The whole episode was immensely damaging to all concerned: those parts of the left involved in the pro-boycott movement were associated with illegal discrimination; academics (and others) fighting the boycott felt the whiff of antisemitism in the air, and also came to feel that their union could not be relied on to refrain from discriminating against them; and the Union itself was torn apart for months by a savage dispute which drove many people away from union activism and some of them out of the union altogether. In the aftermath, many proboycotters have expressed outrage that (as they see it) their freedom of speech has been curtailed by lawyers, and have demanded that the Union further investigate the adequacy of the legal advice they were given. (The irony of the boycotters’ demand that academic freedom of speech should be unconstrained by any other considerations has not been lost on those who fought the boycott proposals.) It would be nice to be able to say that what I’ve provided here is the anatomy of a failure, but it’s by no means certain that we’ve heard the last of the boycott project. Watch this space.

Excluding Israelis: An Intellectual Anatomy of the Academic Boycott 7

1 See Motion 30, 2 The supposed bad consequences ranged from the predicted ineffectiveness, and even counter-effectiveness, of an academic boycott, to its probable encouragement of antisemitism. I discuss some aspects of the latter concern below. 3 Philip Marfleet (University of East London): “Israeli academic freedom comes at the cost of the denial of even the most basic freedoms of Palestinian academics and students.” 4 “The academic freedom of Israel has generated illegal, racist and oppressive behavior by Israeli universities”, Why Boycott Israeli Universities?, British Committee for the Universities of Palestine, April 2007, p.18. 5 Signed in 1648, the Peace of Westphalia ended the Thirty Years War between rival German principalities and is widely regarded as enshrining the principle of the sovereign equality of states most famously expressed in Article 2 of the UN Charter of 1948. 6 “In the case of Israel, we are speaking about a society whose dominant self image is one of a bastion of civilization in a sea of medieval reaction. And we are speaking of a culture, both in Israel and in the long history of the Jewish diaspora, in which education and scholarship are held in high regard. That is why an academic boycott might have a desirable political effect in Israel, an effect that might not be expected elsewhere.” Tom Hickey, British Medical Journal, 7 “It is precisely because Israel invites evaluation in terms of Western values that it matters so much to us, for we are complicit if we fail to say ‘No, Not in Our Name’ (and that, incidentally, is why it matters so much to Jews in the West for whom Israel in effect speaks twice).” Richard Kuper, http://normblog. 8 Steven Rose (Professor of Biology, The Open University) isr.html 9 Charles Jencks, letter to The Independent, cited here: 10 At the time of the first academic boycott attempt in 2005, the AUT—precursor union to the UCU—responded indignantly to concerns about antisemitism in just this way: “[T]he AUT deplores the witch-hunting of colleagues, including AUT members, who are participating in the academic boycott of Israel. We recognize that anti-Zionism is not antisemitism, and resolve to give all possible support to members of AUT who are unjustly accused of antisemitism because of their political opposition to Israeli government policy.” The web-page on which this appeared is no longer available—it disappeared shortly after the first boycott resolution was overturned. For commentary on it at the time, see: http://normblog. A variant of the indignation response can be seen in David Clark (a previous political advisor to the Labour government) writing in the Guardian: “those leveling charges of antisemitism against the left …. do it not because they believe it, but because they know the left takes its anti-racism seriously and is susceptible to this kind of blackmail. There has been enough of this intellectual thuggery on both sides, and it’s time someone called a stop to it.”,,1724459,00.html 11 Supporting evidence for this claim often took the form of citing the speaker’s Jewish and/or Israeli friends. For a notable example of such citations see Patrick Bateson (Provost of King’s College Cambridge) writing at an early stage in the boycott movement php?id=A2745_0_1_0_M. For the claim that the boycott can’t be antisemitic since its supporters include Jews, and also the increasingly common claim that the charge of antisemitism is simply a device to deflect criticism, see Ghada Karmi (honorary research fellow and assistant lecturer, University of Exeter) 12 See, for example, Alex Callinicos (Professor of European Studies, King’s College London), writing in Socialist Worker: art.php?id=13103

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