Boicottare la scienza, boicottare il dialogo

Alcuni esponenti dell’AAA (American Anthropological Association) hanno lanciato una petizione [1] per il boicottaggio delle istituzioni universitarie israeliane come forma di pressione contro le politiche di occupazione che lo stato ebraico adotta nei confronti delle terre palestinesi.
Ad oggi, i firmatari sono oltre 600, tra i quali diversi nomi illustri della disciplina, nonché parecchi italiani. Ne ha scritto Giulio Meotti su “Il Foglio” del 7 ottobre 2014: “Più di cinquecento antropologi sostengono il boicottaggio (BDS) contro Israele” [2].
Il 28 agosto 2014 la gran parte dei membri dell’IAA (Israeli Anthropological Association) ha risposto [3] all’AAA, rigettando la prospettiva del boicottaggio e affermando che tale azione sarebbe inutile e dannosa, oltre che discriminatoria nei confronti di una comunità di studiosi che è tra le prime e le più impegnate nello sviluppo del pensiero liberale dentro e fuori Israele.
Il 10 settembre 2014 alcuni antropologi israeliani hanno contro-risposto [4] alla lettera dell’IAA, sostenendo la prima petizione e, anzi, promuovendo la necessità di una discussione aperta al prossimo meeting annuale dell’AAA (in dicembre) sulla possibilità, appunto, di boicottare, disinvestire e sanzionare Israele e le sue istituzioni accademiche.
Per la verità, nel testo della petizione “Anthropologists for the Boycott of Israeli Academic Institutions” non si parla di discussione, bensì si afferma in maniera piuttosto perentoria che “We pledge not to collaborate on projects and events involving Israeli academic institutions, not to teach at or to attend conferences and other events at such institutions, and not to publish in academic journals based in Israel. We call for doing so until such time as these institutions end their complicity in violating Palestinian rights as stipulated in international law, and respect the full rights of Palestinians“.
Personalmente, sono allibito. Ho sempre creduto – e credo ancora, più di prima – che boicottare la scienza, lo studio, la cultura e gli studiosi sia una pratica eminentemente illiberale (ma ho in mente un’altra parola). L’antropologia fa bene a scendere dalle cattedre e a prendere una posizione politica, a giocare un ruolo sociale, ma non può rifiutare il dibattito perché sarebbe un negare se stessa: prima ancora che svelare le dinamiche di potere che si celano dietro i fenomeni umani, l’antropologia è infatti una disciplina che “traduce” una cultura in un’altra, ovvero si fonda sul dialogo tra alterità, talvolta opposte tra loro. L’antropologia, se non vuole ricadere in alcuni dei più gravi errori discriminatori della sua storia (l’appoggio al colonialismo europeo nell’Ottocento [5], l’avallo del “manifesto della razza” nell’Italia fascista che portò alla persecuzione e all’esilio di numerosi accademici [6]), deve promuovere scambi e confronti, deve illuminare e dare voce, non incoraggiare embarghi.
A fine anno vedremo quale sarà la posizione ufficiale dell’AAA.
Va sottolineato, infine, che il website della petizione firmata da centinaia di antropologi nel mondo ha anche una sezione per i dubbiosi: “Yes, but…” [7], in cui si forniscono spiegazioni che, tuttavia, ai miei occhi non spiegano granché (ad esempio: “The boycott targets academic institutions only. The boycott does not apply to individuals. Nor is it directed at Jews or Israelis“. Cioè, come si fa a boicottare un’istituzione senza boicottare chi ne fa parte?).
Insomma, io sarò anche eccessivamente scettico (ritengo che il boicottaggio sia una pratica inefficace e, specie nel caso in oggetto, che radicalizzi le posizioni [8]) e colpevolmente prudente (non posso non pensare agli antisemiti che nel 2008 invitavano a boicottare la letteratura israeliana al Festival del Libro di Torino [9] o, addirittura, i concerti di Yasaf Avidam nel 2013 [10]), ma questi antropologi hanno tutta l’aria di porsi come “esportatori di democrazia”.

PS: i link di approfondimento sono al primo commento qui in basso.

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AGGIORNAMENTO del 30 ottobre 2014:
Il 12 ottobre 2014 ai microfoni di TLV1, una radio in lingua inglese che trasmette da Tel Aviv, il direttore esecutivo dell’AAA, prof. Ed Liebow, ha affermato che nessuna mozione di boicottaggio è stata presentata e che l’AAA non si è mai impegnato in boicottaggi accademici (“No boycott motion has been submitted, he says, and adds that the AAA has never engaged in academic boycotting“). Lo streaming dell’intera puntata (intitolata “‘Boycott of Israel is not on the table,’ says head of American Anthropological Association“) è QUI (in particolare, dal minuto 42’50” al minuto 51’30”).

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AGGIORNAMENTO del 5 novembre 2014:
Il website “Anthropology News”, blog dell’AAA, ieri 4 novembre 2014 ha pubblicato quattro articoli sul tema del boicottaggio contro le accademie israeliane.

  • Il primo post è “storico”, nel senso che ripropone le due lettere ricevute da membri dell’IAA il 28 agosto (contro il boicottaggio) e il 10 settembre (a favore di tale possibilità), che ho già citato più su in questo post: Two Letters from Members of Israeli Anthropological Association and AAA [a].
  • C’è poi una lettera di Paula G Rubel che critica l’ipotesi del boicottaggio: “[…] The academic boycott which is being proposed is against one of the major tenets of AAA: the free exchange of ideas. Boycotts and BDS do not embody what anthropology is all about. Certainly, at this point, all anthropologists would like to see an end to the bitter painful conflict between Israel and the Palestinians which still continues to erupt. I would even speculate that most members are in favor of some form of a two-state solution, which so long ago was voted on by the United Nations and was part of the Oslo accords. A boycott will not achieve this […] I think that a positive resolution which supports peace would be a much more powerful statement than the negative one which supports a boycott and BDS. [b]
  • Il terzo contributo è di Ilana Feldman e Lisa Rofel, che invece sono a favore del boicottaggio: “[…] Anthropologists once again have the opportunity to take a stance in support of the international, national and human rights of an indigenous group, in this case Palestinians. […] Members of the AAA might expect Israeli universities to be vocal in their condemnation of violations of Palestinian rights, including to academic freedom. They are not. In fact, not a single Israeli university has ever spoken out against or condemned the occupation. Nor has the Israeli Anthropological Association. In the latest assault on Gaza, the Israeli government bombed 141 schools and utterly destroyed the Islamic U of Gaza. […] Israel’s academic institutions are directly and materially involved in the occupation […]”. [c]
  • Infine Sam Edelman e Ilan Troen elencano i miti e gli slogan intorno al BDS contro le università israeliane: “The call for AAA to boycott Israeli universities is based on misrepresentations of the actual practices of Israeli universities and on intellectual distortions being proliferated in the academy, including anthropology. […] There are valid criticisms of Israel. The question is why has Israel been singled out for boycott? Palestinian universities on the West Bank and Gaza are explicitly criticized in UN reports for abuses of human rights. To compare Israel to South Africa and the situation of Palestinians to that of Black South Africans under apartheid is a canard rejected outright by anyone who knows anything about that system. When Israel is singled out for boycott and censure, the anti-Israel polemics are tainted with sadly familiar and thinly disguised animosities and slanders. Academics can and must abet the discourse by disentangling genuine criticism that needs to be addressed from polemics that mask political and ideological agendas. […] The prestige of the AAA would be compromised if it sided with one of the parties to a complicated political/national dispute. Adopting slogans befits a partisan political lobby, not a professional academic organization […]”. [d]

I link che rimandano alle pagine originali sono tra i commenti qui in basso (dove riporto anche i testi integrali delle ultime tre lettere citate).

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Il 5 dicembre 2014 l’AAA si è riunita a Washington per il proprio meeting annuale. In quest’occasione si è votato per una proposta contro il boicottaggio delle accademie israeliane; il risultato è stato schiacciante per il NO a questa risoluzione: su oltre 700 partecipanti al convegno, solo 52 hanno votato perché l’associazione si dichiari contro il boicottaggio anti-israeliano. Ciò ha dato nuove speranze ai sostenitori del BDS: “boycotting Israeli academic institutions has become a plausible and ever more likely course of action“, come scrivono il website “Electronic Intifada“, un comunicato dei pro-BDS e questo storify di tweet. Ulteriore fonte è questo blog israeliano (in ebraico).

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AGGIORNAMENTO del 27 dicembre 2014:
Debra Nussbaum Cohen ha scritto su “Haaretz” di oggi un articolo in cui spiega che il 2014 è stato l’anno in cui il BDS (Boicottaggio, Disinvestimento, Sanzioni) è diventata la principale preoccupazione degli ebrei americani: “Prompted in part by last summer’s Gaza war, “we certainly did see an increase in anti-Israel activity in the beginning of the semester but simultaneously we’ve seen a dramatic surge in pro-Israel activism. The movement has never been broader, has never been stronger,” said Jacob Baime, executive director of the Israel on Campus Coalition. “We’re tracking at least 4 or 5 pro-Israel events for every anti-Israel event. Pro-Israel activism by far outweighs anti-Israel activity in the aggregate. There are tons of pro-Israel speakers for every anti-Israel speaker” on a campus, he said. […] The American Anthropological Association rejected an anti-boycott measure at its annual conference last month, instead appointing a task force to bring recommendations to its 2015 conference” (QUI o tra i commenti).

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AGGIORNAMENTI del 6, 9 e 25 marzo 2015:
Su “Il Foglio”, Giulio Meotti ha firmato l’articolo “Il soffice rogo dell’Università di Londra: messi al bando i professori israeliani. Con voto unanime” (qui o qui).

Il 9 marzo Pierluigi Battista ha commentato dalle colonne del “Corriere della Sera” con l’editoriale “Contro l’antisemitismo della London University“: “il boicottaggio delle idee e delle persone è incivile, supera ogni limite di decenza. Il boicottaggio contro le merci si può capire: può essere un errore, lo è quasi sempre, ma non calpesta la dignità delle persone. Il boicottaggio contro i libri, la ricerca, gli studenti, i professori è invece una barbarie contro la cultura, il sapere, i valori stessi dell’Europa” (qui o qui).

Il 25 marzo alcuni sostenitori della campagna BDS presso la Soas di Londra (School of Oriental and African Studies) hanno risposto sul “CorSera” alle critiche di Pierluigi Battista: “smentiamo nel modo più categorico che il referendum consultativo qui svoltosi sia stato un gesto antisemita. La nostra università e i gruppi firmatari rifiutano inequivocabilmente ogni forma di razzismo e antisemitismo“.
L’editorialista, dal canto suo, ha controreplicato molto brevemente: “Boicottare non le merci ma gli studiosi e le ricerche culturali e scientifiche israeliane è antisemitismo camuffato da antisionismo” (QUI).

AGGIORNAMENTO del 22 marzo 2015:
Il controverso “nuovo storiografo” israeliano Ilan Pappé era stato invitato a Roma, poi la sua conferenza non si è più tenuta. Di seguito, due articoli: uno pre e contro (“A Roma Tre la conferenza dell’odio contro Israele“, di Dario Sanchez), l’altro post e pro (“Palestina, la guerra con Israele nel mondo accademico“, di Ranieri Salvadorini).

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AGGIORNAMENTO del 22 aprile 2015:
Il 16 aprile il blog “Savage Minds” ha pubblicato un paper in pdf di Isaiah Silver (curato da Alex Golub) intitolato “Why Anthropologists Should Embrace BDS“, in cui sono raccolte le ragioni a favore del boicottaggio delle accademie israeliane.

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INTEGRAZIONE del 16 giugno 2015:
Il website della Comunità Ebraica di Milano ha pubblicato un resoconto di Davide Foa sulla conferenza “Boicottaggio, disinvestimenti, sanzioni, verso l’isolamento di Israele?”, organizzata dall’Associazione Italia-Israele e dalla Federazione Sionistica Italiana domenica 14 giugno, presso il Conservatorio G. Verdi di Milano. Ne ha scritto Davide Foa su “Mosaico” il 15 giugno 2015, intervistando i relatori David Meghnagi (professore presso l’Università di Roma 3) e Giovanni Quer (ricercatore alla Hebrew University). L’articolo è stato poi ripreso da “Osservatorio Antisemitismo“.

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AGGIORNAMENTO del 15 marzo 2017:
Non torno su questo tema da tanto, come si vede dall’ultimo aggiornamento qui sopra. Non che i discorsi siano cambiati molto, tuttavia il tema del boicottaggio (e, in particolare, del boicottaggio accademico) è stato sempre piuttosto presente in questi ultimi due anni, tra USA, Europa e Italia. Tra le università dove c’è stata più mobilitazione va segnalato sicuramente il Politecnico di Torino, di cui prima o poi mi piacerebbe recuperare un po’ di rassegna stampa. L’ultimo atto, almeno per ora, è di ieri, 14 marzo 2017, quando il Senato Accademico ha votato No al boicottaggio contro il Technion di Haifa, proposto da una mozione presentata una settimana fa dal Consiglio degli Studenti e appoggiata anche da una sessantina di docenti. Il rettore Gianmaria Ajani è stato accolto all’uscita dalle grida dei filopalestinesi: “Vergogna, assassini. Con questo voto siete complici del massacro dei palestinesi“. Ne ha scritto Jacopo Ricca su “La Repubblica”.

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14 risposte a Boicottare la scienza, boicottare il dialogo

  1. giogg ha detto:

    Il 16 ottobre 2014 il website dell’AFEA (Association Française d’Ethnologie et Anthropologie) ha pubblicato un link alla petizione pro-boicottaggio. Il post è stato inserito da uno degli oltre 800 firmatari (al momento).
    http://asso-afea.fr/Anthropologists-for-the-Boycott-of.html

  2. giogg ha detto:

    Non c’entra con l’antropologia, ma riguarda comunque la cultura, anzi il teatro, per la precisione.
    A Milano qualcuno invita (via-FB) a boicottare il Teatro Franco Parenti perché sarebbe “filoisraeliano”. Ne ho letto su “Osservatorio Antisemitismo“:

    SHAMMAH, LEVIN E IL PARENTI: QUALCUNO LI ODIA
    di Antonio Bogo

    Nell’universo parallelo chiamato Facebook si accendono discussioni, partono invettive, si creano onde di pensiero. Su quelle pagine web, divertimento e stimolo per milioni di individui, ogni opinione è lecita. Non è dunque una sorpresa che vi siano, e operino con post e proclami, persone che vedono negli ebrei ogni sorta di male. E nello stato ebraico la fonte di guerre ingiuste, addirittura naziste: secondo questi acuti osservatori del nostro tempo (che non vedono i tagliateste dell’Isis), Israele non dovrebbe esistere, e se il Paese venisse raso al suolo, meglio. Domani, al Parenti, va in scena una pièce dell’israeliano Hanoch Levin, «Il lavoro di vivere», con il grande attore Carlo Cecchi, diretta da Andrée Ruth Shammah. Che ghiotta occasione: ma guarda questi ebrei, questi sionisti! E il Parenti gode di fondi pubblici: vanno tolti! Sciò, Shammah e amici. I sostenitori della causa palestinese boicottino il teatro! Questo in un post sulla pagina di Shammah, che la regista ha lasciato visibile per mostrare a molti quanto stupidità, ignoranza e razzismo siano gramigna rigogliosa. Shammah è sionista? E allora? Chiudiamo una delle realtà culturali più vive di Milano? Si dirà: stiamo parlando di un post, ovvero di niente. Ma il veleno non è mai niente, anche una goccia uccide.
    (Fonte: “Corriere della Sera”, edizione di Milano)

    Lo screenshot pubblicato da Andrée Ruth Shammah è questo:

    Il teatro Parenti e la sua regista sono una delle più forti realtà sioniste di Milano… promuovono tutte le propagande israeliane, dal turismo al cinema. Noi non solo invitiamo i sostenitori della causa palestinese a boicottarlo, ma inviteremo il comune a non sostenere economicamente un teatro filoisraeliano” (Annalisa Portioli, 17 ottobre 2014)

    FONTE, con vari commenti, tra cui questo:
    Boicottare un teatro e’ un’operazione anticulturale, come bruciare i libri in piazza. Solo una nazista puo’ pensare e scrivere quelle cose“.

  3. giogg ha detto:

    Link dell’aggiornamento del 5 novembre 2014:
    [a] http://www.anthropology-news.org/index.php/2014/11/04/two-letters-from-members-of-israeli-anthropological-association-and-aaa/
    [b] http://www.anthropology-news.org/index.php/2014/11/04/why-a-boycott-is-a-bad-idea/
    [c] http://www.anthropology-news.org/index.php/2014/11/04/academic-and-cultural-boycott-of-israeli-institutions/
    [d] http://www.anthropology-news.org/index.php/2014/11/04/boycott-divestment-and-sanctions-myths-and-slogans/

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    “Anthropology News”, 4 novembre 2014, QUI

    WHY A BOYCOTT IS A BAD IDEA
    by Paula G Rubel

    At the annual Business Meeting this year, the members of the American Anthropological Association will, without doubt be asked to consider a boycott, of Israeli academic institutions, which, in effect, would be a boycott of Israel anthropologists, scholars and students, and those scholars from other countries who work in Israel . In actuality , the AAA membership will be joining BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movements as it is now known. One may ask what, regardless of your political position, will a such boycott achieve? The academic boycott which is being proposed is against one of the major tenets of AAA: the free exchange of ideas. Boycotts and BDS do not embody what anthropology is all about. Certainly, at this point, all anthropologists would like to see an end to the bitter painful conflict between Israel and the Palestinians which still continues to erupt. I would even speculate that most members are in favor of some form of a two-state solution, which so long ago was voted on by the United Nations and was part of the Oslo accords. A boycott will not achieve this.
    The AAA membership needs to recognize how infrequently we have passed boycotts or censures, and the nature of those passed. For example, the association passed a resolution against holding meetings in Illinois until they changed their mascot. The AAA executive board also passed resolutions against holding scholarly conferences in Arizona and Georgia because of their immigration policies. It supported a boycott of the multinational Coca-Cola company until it agreed to protect its workers in Colombia against intimidation and violence and respected their rights to unionize. Censure motions were also passed such as the one related to US policy on the embargo of Cuba which urged a more humane plan regarding sending Cuba supplies, and advocated a relaxation of the ban on US citizens’ travel to Cuba. The state of Colorado was censured because of its anti-discrimination policies. Many members will remember how over many years there have been many spirited political discussions at AAA business meetings. During the Vietnam War, US policy and its consequences was vigorously discussed, including the question of whether anthropologists should be involved in research about Vietnam for the US government. Countries and their anthropological communities have thus far not been the subject of boycotts, which is what boycott supporters are now advocating.
    Some have argued that the AAA should not get involved in political issues. But if the past is any guide, the AAA has always been a forum for the discussion of important political problems though the number of boycotts and censures voted upon by AAA members has been small. Others have questioned why the politics surrounding the Israel/Palestine conflict are brought up for discussion, while topics such as Russia’s invasion of the Crimea and its effects on the Crimean Tatars, and the persecution of Tibetans and Uighurs by the Chinese have not been considered for censure or boycott.
    To further discussion, the April 2014 online version of Anthropology News contained “Towards an Informed AAA Position on Israel-Palestine.” The stated purpose of its authors (Monica Heller, Hugh Gusterson, Alisse Waterston and Edward Liebow) was to encourage debate of the Israel/Palestine situation at the annual meeting. However, because of panel and paper deadlines, its publication at the end of April precluded the inclusion of panels in addition to those that had already been proposed. An examination of the program for the meeting reveals that most of the panels at which the Israel/Palestine situation will be discussed seem to be slanted in a particular direction, that is in support of BDS. Why didn’t the authors of the note published in AN include it in a January issue rather than late April which would then have allowed for the presentation of a broader point of view? The membership of the AAA surely represents a broad spectrum of opinion on the Israeli/Palestinian situation. At this point it is impossible to know how many would or will support a boycott when and if such a resolution is brought up at the AAA business meeting in December.
    In the background information which accompanied the April AN article, two of the US associations which have adopted a boycott—Asian American Studies Association, and Native American and Indigenous Studies Association—were listed. The American Studies Association and the Critical Ethnic Studies Association should also be added to this list of associations which have supported BDS. What was not included was mention of the 252 universities and colleges which have not adopted a boycott resolution. Nor was the fact that the members of major scholarly organizations like the American Psychiatric Association, American Sociological Association, the American Historical Association or the American Association of University Professors have all opposed a boycott of Israeli scholars and universities. In June 2014, the membership of the Modern Language Association also voted against support for a boycott of Israeli academics and institutions. The American Council on Education with its 1,800 institutions has also not come out in support of a boycott. Thus the preponderance of academic associations, and universities and their presidents have not supported a boycott of Israeli academics and their institutions.
    What points have been presented in support of a boycott, and what are their fallacies and lacunae? Much of the argument is presented on the Savage Minds blog, by several likely members of AAA who use pseudonyms rather than their own names. The issues raised center around what Israeli government policies, not academics or their institutions (though state institutions) have done to Palestinians. Should Israeli academics be responsible for a boycott as a moral obligation against the ongoing Israeli violations of human rights especially when many Israeli academics have been members of the Peace Now movement. If one systematically goes through the charges made, and why boycott, divestment and sanctions are seen as necessary, it is clear that the Israeli government, not academics themselves are the foci of these charges. Academics do not control all aspects of daily life in Palestine, the military checkpoints and roadblocks and the occupation, as well as the other indignities to which Palestinians and their children are subject. Most American academics as well as many Israeli academics recognize the difficulties which Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as those in Israel face. Both US and Israeli academics as well as other members of Israel society, over the years, have striven to point out and redress these difficulties.
    The issue about whether to support a boycott or not is two-fold. The first deals with the history of AAA boycotts and censures. Given the pattern of boycotts and censures supported by vote of the members of AAA, one can question whether BDS of Israel and its academics is in keeping with AAA policy? My contention is that it is not. The second deals with the difficulties that Palestinians have been subjected to, and whether a boycott of Israeli academic institutions, Israeli scholars and scholars from other nations who work in Israel would help the Palestinians and their situation in any way. Certainly, one can assume that such a boycott will not influence the Israel government to change its policies in regard to Palestine, and the Palestinians, but only infringe on the freedom of Israeli academics. It would not target those who are at fault. In the final analysis, it is morally wrong.
    There are several courses of action which the AAA could take. The first is the various panels and sessions which have already been organized. It is my hope that these sessions in the program, particularly the forum, will be the site for broad-ranging discussions of the all of the issues involved. An examination of the abstracts of the session and papers in some of the sessions organized and approved by the AAA Executive Program Committee gives one the impression that they seem to be slanted in one direction, as already noted. It is my hope that it will be possible for many points of view to be presented. It is important that time be allotted for a serious exchange of views in the discussions which will take place in the sessions related to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and in the forum.
    At the AAA Business Meeting, it is highly likely that resolutions on both sides of the issue will be offered. I do not think that a resolution supporting a boycott of Israeli scholars and academic institutions really deals with the problem. Instead, the association should pass a resolution which is positive, not negative in content. It should advocate and strongly support the immediate beginning of peace negotiations as the United Nations has been trying to do, which would involve all of the relevant parties. The US and other governments have labeled Hamas a terrorist organization. However, the fact that it formed a union with the Palestinian Authority this spring means that the latter should speak for it during any negotiations, though that is not how Hamas has operated in discussions in Cairo so far. Hamas has, in effect, accepted the existence of Israel. The Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority have both agreed to support a two-state solution. It is the parameters of this solution which remain to be worked out. I think that a positive resolution which supports peace would be a much more powerful statement than the negative one which supports a boycott and BDS
    .

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    “Anthropology News”, 4 novembre 2014, QUI

    ACADEMIC AND CULTURAL BOYCOTT OF ISRAELI INSTITUTIONS
    by Lisa Rofel and Ilana Feldman

    In its best moments, anthropology is a discipline that is dedicated to social justice. It is a discipline that has historically stood up for marginalized peoples around the world. Anthropologists have not always lived up to these best ideals, of course, and the history of our discipline includes cooperation with colonial and imperial regimes and with war machines. Yet there have always been anthropologists who have criticized these relationships. And as a collectivity, we have generally looked back upon these moments of complicity with regret. The AAA has passed resolutions condemning academic research that lends support to the oppression of indigenous and subaltern cultural groups, as well as numerous motions that support human rights in a variety of communities and contexts.
    Anthropologists once again have the opportunity to take a stance in support of the international, national and human rights of an indigenous group, in this case Palestinians. Palestinians have asked for solidarity in support of their efforts to end the 47-year Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, to gain equal rights for Palestinian citizens of Israel, and to resolve the more than 65-year Palestinian refugee condition, ongoing since the displacement and dispossession of the majority of the Palestinian population in 1948. Palestinians have asked the international community to join in non-violent struggle against these violations, and to engage in campaigns of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel.
    There are a number of things the AAA, and individual anthropologists, can do to participate in this effort. We can, and should, condemn widespread Israeli violations of Palestinian academic freedom, the ongoing seizure of Palestinian land, destruction of archeological sites, and systematic and pervasive threats to Palestinian community and culture. We can, and should, condemn Israeli practices that deny international scholars and students access to research and teaching opportunities in Palestine, both isolating Palestinians and undermining scholarship. And we can, and should, support a boycott of complicit Israeli institutions as part of the international effort to apply pressure on Israel to end the occupation.
    As an occupying power, Israel has responsibility to protect the lives and rights of Palestinians under occupation. Instead, it has pursued a vigorous policy of settlement building in Palestinian territory, expanded significantly after the 1993 signing of the Oslo Accords that many hoped would lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It has appropriated Palestinian water resources and destroyed agricultural land. It has progressively limited Palestinian movement and denied Palestinians access to each other. In Gaza it has imposed a blockade that is designed to keep the population suspended on the edge of a humanitarian crisis. This summer it launched its third assault on Gaza in seven years, killing over 2,000 people, largely civilians. International human rights organizations have accused the Israeli military of widespread war crimes in Gaza.
    In the face of this continued and intransigent occupation, an overwhelming majority of Palestinian civil society organizations and unions, including the Palestinian Council for Higher Education (CHE) and the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE), have called for BDS, including an academic and cultural boycott. This boycott is of institutions, not individuals. It asks scholars not to accept invitations to give lectures, be visiting faculty, or attend conferences convened or co-sponsored by Israeli universities. For anthropologists, this would mean they can do field research in Israel, but not formally under the aegis of an Israeli institution. Anthropologists can continue collaborative relationships with Israeli scholars, but again, not under the aegis of an Israeli institution. The boycott also asks scholars not to arrange institutional agreements between their home institution and Israeli academic institutions or research institutes or to publish in Israeli academic journals sponsored by an Israeli university.
    As scholars and teachers, members of the AAA are naturally concerned with academic freedom and may worry that their participation in a boycott would contravene those commitments. It would not. Not only is the boycott a statement in support of Palestinian academic freedom—which is consistently violated by Israel—it does not undermine the academic freedom of Israeli scholars. Any Israeli scholar, whether Jewish, Muslim or Christian, has the right to freely express their views and conduct their scholarship. The boycott does not deny Israeli scholars the right to attend conferences such as the annual AAA meeting, come to US universities, or publish their work; it only requires that they not do so as representatives or ambassadors of their institutions. The academic and cultural boycott of Israeli institutions is not based on race, ethnicity, or citizenship. It is not a boycott of individuals.
    If the AAA adopted a boycott resolution, it would impose requirements on the association, but not on individuals. In their professional engagements members of the AAA would be free, as in all matters, to follow their conscience. The AAA recommends ethical practices, but does not adjudicate these matters. Boycott would be no different. For the association, its commitment would likely be to refuse in its official capacity to enter into formal collaborations with Israeli academic institutions, or with scholars who are expressly serving as representatives of those institutions or on behalf of the Israeli government, until Israel ceases to violate human rights and international law. By supporting a boycott, AAA members would put the power of our collective voice behind our commitment to justice.
    Members of the AAA might expect Israeli universities to be vocal in their condemnation of violations of Palestinian rights, including to academic freedom. They are not. In fact, not a single Israeli university has ever spoken out against or condemned the occupation. Nor has the Israeli Anthropological Association. In the latest assault on Gaza, the Israeli government bombed 141 schools and utterly destroyed the Islamic U of Gaza. In the summer of 2014 alone, Israeli forces raided Al Quds U in Jerusalem, the Arab American U in Jenin, and Birzeit U near Ramallah—yet again. Since 2000, 185 schools have been shelled and scores of teachers and students have been shot at and arrested. Israeli universities did not speak out against these assaults.
    Israel’s academic institutions are directly and materially involved in the occupation. Virtually all Israeli universities are involved in defense-related research with the Ministry of Defense. Ben Gurion U, Hebrew U, Tel Aviv U and Haifa U all made explicit statements of support for the summer 2014 assault on Gaza, including providing financial benefits to soldiers. Universities have been part of the colonization of Palestinian territory: part of Hebrew U’s campus is built on confiscated Palestinian land; Ariel U, the most recently accredited Israeli university, is located in a West Bank settlement.
    Israeli universities also discriminate against Palestinians with Israeli citizenship. Some 20% of Israeli citizens are Palestinian, yet they make up only a tiny percentage of university faculty; these scholars face barriers to promotion, especially if they are known as critics of the government. Palestinian students in Israeli universities have less access than their Jewish counterparts to scholarships and campus housing, as a result of privileges offered to those who serve in the military. Their freedom of political and cultural expression is regularly curtailed. Israeli Jewish faculty members openly critical of state policies are also marginalized and threatened.
    No Israeli university has spoken out in support of Palestinians’ right to education and academic freedom. Neither has the Israeli Anthropological Association. While Israeli scholars will certainly be inconvenienced by this boycott, through its restrictions on movement and repeated targeting of Palestinian universities the Israeli government has forced Palestinians to make a Herculean effort to pursue the right to education, let alone the right to academic freedom. The Israeli government also makes it extremely difficult for Palestinian scholars to travel abroad (since it holds the power to issue travel permits), for foreign scholars to teach in Palestinian universities, and for international students to study in Palestinian universities.
    The US government provides enormous sums of money to Israel every year. US citizens are, therefore, not just witnesses to Israeli crimes, but complicit in them. For that reason an association such as the AAA—with American in its name, located in the US, and with a majority of its members US citizens—has particular responsibility to support the boycott. This support is an effective way to speak not only to the Israeli government, but to the US government. It is a crucial way to open up public discourse and to indicate that the US government needs to change its stance. It is about ending the silencing atmosphere in the US academy about the Palestine/Israel conflict as well.
    As employees in institutes of higher learning we have a particular interest in and responsibility to respond to the obstacles to the right to higher education that the Israeli state has created for Palestinians both inside Israel and in the occupied territories. As educators we have a responsibility to model forms of horizontal solidarity for our students, showing them that charity is not the only form of engagement they can have with the world. The AAA fosters an engaged anthropology that is committed to supporting social change efforts that arise from the interaction between community goals and anthropological research. It is time for anthropologists to stand up for the Palestinian right to education, social justice and freedom
    .

    – – –

    “Anthropology News”, 4 novembre 2014, QUI

    BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT AND SANCTIONS: MYTHS AND SLOGANS
    by Sam Edelman and Ilan Troen

    The call for AAA to boycott Israeli universities is based on misrepresentations of the actual practices of Israeli universities and on intellectual distortions being proliferated in the academy, including anthropology.
    Many thousands of Israeli Arabs are integrated in Israeli higher education and they advocate for an even greater share in it. One-third of the undergraduate students of Haifa U are Arab. Increasing numbers hold faculty positions throughout Israel, and a Bedouin is president of an Israeli college. A host of interactions and joint projects on topics such as arid-zone research, medicine and conflict resolution involve Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank and are carried on between Israeli and Palestinian universities.
    Palestinians are not advocating boycott. Like most Israelis, they can be critical of Israel and at the same time appreciate one of the world’s most advanced systems of higher education and scientific research and the direct and measurable benefits it brings. Israeli higher education fosters cooperation and community between Arabs and Jews.
    There are valid criticisms of Israel. The question is why has Israel been singled out for boycott? Palestinian universities on the West Bank and Gaza are explicitly criticized in UN reports for abuses of human rights. To compare Israel to South Africa and the situation of Palestinians to that of Black South Africans under apartheid is a canard rejected outright by anyone who knows anything about that system.
    When Israel is singled out for boycott and censure, the anti-Israel polemics are tainted with sadly familiar and thinly disguised animosities and slanders. Academics can and must abet the discourse by disentangling genuine criticism that needs to be addressed from polemics that mask political and ideological agendas. We can usefully interrogate the repeated representation of Israeli Jews as post-colonial invaders of indigenous Arab lands. This narrative casts Israel as a European implant, an agent of Western imperialism. This colonial-settler paradigm blatantly ignores where most Jews lived, how they viewed themselves and how others have viewed them over the past two thousand years, and runs counter to the history of the area.
    The point of this claim is that Jews are not indigenous. This original sin lays the foundation for the current campaign against the Jewish state. It is one that anthropologists would do well to examine critically.
    At least until the 1970s, academic discourse complemented the discourse of the international community that supported partition of Palestine into Jewish and Palestinian Arab states. Both had legitimacy and were entitled to independence in a contested land. The League of Nations and subsequent bodies declared Jews were entitled to reconstitution. They could re-turn, re-claim, re-store, and re-build and re-constitute themselves as a modern people. The “re” means, of course, again. This small word reflects the real and vital connection that modern Jews have with preceding generations that never gave up hope of returning to their homeland. A substantial scholarly literature details the re-acquisition of Hebrew and its re-introduction as a modern language, a singular achievement among the peoples of the world. A significant body of research examines the adoption of original Hebrew terms in personal and place names in a landscape recognized by Jews and gentiles as associated with Jews. Gainsaying the authenticity of these connections too often slips into anti-Zionist and anti-Israel polemics.
    The claim that Jews are not indigenous and are but mere colonial-settlers should provoke at least some question about Palestine’s indigenous. Since ancient times Palestine/Israel has been a crossroads country on land paths between Africa and Asia and a vital transit point between Europe and the East through ports and the via maris. Which residents of Palestine can we determine with certainty have been continually resident?
    Approximately two millennia ago there were from one to three million people in what is now called Palestine/Israel. In 1800, there were 250,000; in 1900 only 500,000. Today that same territory, from the Jordan to the Mediterranean, holds about 10 million or about 20 times the population of just one century ago. Moreover, what we now call Israel/Palestine was for many centuries embedded in large empires and without discrete definition. Non-existent borders allowed for multi-directional permeability between that territory and the Ottoman Empire and beyond.
    In the 19th century, Palestine and the Eastern Mediterranean littoral began to be incorporated into an international economic system stimulated by European capitalist energy: Significant numbers of Egyptians moved into Palestine; Bedouins came from the south to a sparsely populated Negev; Circassians came from the Caucasus; European and American millenarians established colonies, as did Jews who migrated from Europe and other parts of the Ottoman Empire. There is no factual basis for Jews being singled out as the only non-indigenous, yet this is the argument being put forward. It is not innocent, and has implications for the discussion at hand.
    Consider Arab claims to indigeneity, whether by Christians or Muslims. Invoking and then secularizing supersessionism, some Palestinian Christians claim to be resident in the land continuously since the time of Jesus. There is no documentary evidence for this, yet their tradition and collective memory of belonging in the land has been privileged in a kind of supersessionism, as though it supported denying the continuity and vitality of the Jewish people anywhere, to say nothing of contemporary Israelis.
    There are also Muslim Palestinians who assert ancient continuities that extend beyond Christian and Jewish rule to a distant pagan past, specifically to the Canaanites and particularly the Jebusites who lived in pre-Davidic Jerusalem. This narrative often erases the existence of Hebrews, including from the ancient past; if they did exist, it claims they have no connection with present day Jews. Again, no documentary evidence for this.
    How is this relevant to the boycott campaign? The illegitimacy of the Jewish presence is the subtext that underpins BDS polemics. It is not a consequence of contemporary Israeli actions. It is not only post-1967 Jewish settlement policies in the territories that are at issue. It is not even 1948 or the 1917 Balfour Declaration. BDS rejects the legitimacy of Zionism and the right of the Jewish people to a homeland in Israel.
    To endorse a boycott is not merely to object to Israeli policies on the West Bank. Boycott makes common cause with those who still object to partition and the two-state solution. Underlying BDS is the conviction that the land belongs solely and exclusively to the Arabs. Criticism is legitimate but denying the right of the Jewish state to exist requires a singular suspension of critical judgment.
    These apparently simple but malicious petitions belie the reality: Israel/Palestine is a complex place where blame and responsibility must both be addressed with care and nuance. The Arab/Israeli conflict may well harbor no binaries of good and evil, right and wrong. Critical academics view competing arguments with both skepticism and respect.
    The argument about being indigenous is being used in some contemporary academic discourses as a rhetorical cudgel to batter the Jewish state and support related polemical frameworks, especially apartheid—a sleight of hand that pretends Israelis are Middle Eastern equivalents to Boers or other ex-Europeans.. Invoking indigeneity automatically conjures up demands for rectifying injustice. It was crucial in these efforts beginning with the ILO’s program to develop international conventions that protected native peoples of Central and South America and extended to pre-Columbian peoples elsewhere including Australian Aborigines. But it does not fit the Arab/Israeli dispute.
    For millennia, Jews were largely located in the Middle East and North Africa. Small communities lived in Europe two thousand years ago, but a significant majority continued to live in this area, including what is now Israel. Not until the 16th to 18th centuries did the population balance begin to shift. In 1800, 40% of world Jewry still lived in or proximate to the Ottoman Empire. Only in the 200 years from the 18th century through the Holocaust did the majority of world Jewry spread throughout Europe. Significantly, Europeans viewed Jews as outsiders and referred to them as Orientals. Today there is a new and significant Diaspora in the US, but an equally large Jewish community has returned to where it was located for most of its history.
    Nearly half of Israel’s Jews are decidedly non-European and never left the country or region. They are Jews from Arab lands who lived among the literally hundreds of millions of Arab Muslims. With the rise of Arab nationalism and fundamentalism in the twentieth century they have been persecuted like the Kurds, Azeris, Maronites, Chaldeans, Yezidis and a host of other minorities whose home has also been continuously in the Middle East. For the Middle East’s ancient Jewish communities, Israel provided a necessary refuge. Yet for political reasons it is convenient for some to consider them and other Jews non-indigenous, colonial-settlers.
    Others argue that BDS speaks truth to power. Enlarging the focus of the lens reveals that allegedly all-powerful Israel is a vulnerable target in the madness of the contemporary Middle East. Hamas is explicit, defining Israel as a theological impossibility that requires jihad. Even secular Palestinians are reluctant to forego the rights that may accrue to having exclusive indigeneity.
    The prestige of the AAA would be compromised if it sided with one of the parties to a complicated political/national dispute. Adopting slogans befits a partisan political lobby, not a professional academic organization. There are a plethora of forums and associations in which political judgments of individual AAA members may be expressed and lead to public action. By subjecting arguments to rigorous examination, and encouraging research that contributes to critical and nuanced understanding, the AAA can maintain its important role as an organization of scholars devoted to the study of humankind
    .

  4. giogg ha detto:

    “Haaretz”, 27 dicembre 2014, QUI

    THE YEAR BDS BECAME THE NUMBER ONE CONCERN FOR AMERICAN JEWS
    Last academic year, Jewish groups faced the ‘most organized campaign to demonize Israel,’ says Hillel CEO. In response, Jewish organizations have shifted their strategy.
    By Debra Nussbaum Cohen

    NEW YORK – This was the year that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement moved to the center of the American Jewish community’s agenda.
    While BDS efforts began more than a decade ago and have not reached the level of impact that similar work has in Europe, BDS proponents claim progress.
    This academic year “we faced the most organized campaign to demonize Israel and attack pro-Israel students we have ever seen,” wrote Hillel CEO Eric Fingerhut in a Dec. 22nd letter to Hillel International board members. “We were prepared,” he wrote, citing Hillel’s work with nearly 250 campus professionals on communications and other training, and plans to bring many to Israel in January.
    The academic sphere is a major focus, with BDS resolutions brought before student governments and graduate student unions, as well as academic associations of college professors. The next attempt will be at the annual conference of the American Historical Association, a 14,000-member group meeting in early January in New York City.
    BDS has become a central focus for the organized American Jewish community, which views it as a long-term threat. This year new coalitions were formed and efforts to fight it intensified by countering anti-Israel speakers and events on college campuses with others on the pro-Israel side. A new book of nearly three dozen essays, “The Case Against Academic Boycotts of Israel,” edited by Cary Nelson and Gabriel Noah Brahm, has just been published.
    Prompted in part by last summer’s Gaza war, “we certainly did see an increase in anti-Israel activity in the beginning of the semester but simultaneously we’ve seen a dramatic surge in pro-Israel activism. The movement has never been broader, has never been stronger,” said Jacob Baime, executive director of the Israel on Campus Coalition. “We’re tracking at least 4 or 5 pro-Israel events for every anti-Israel event. Pro-Israel activism by far outweighs anti-Israel activity in the aggregate. There are tons of pro-Israel speakers for every anti-Israel speaker” on a campus, he said.
    One of the few BDS resolutions to win endorsement in a college system was at the University of California, whose graduate student union members on December 10th approved a resolution that calls on the UC system and United Auto Workers International union “to divest from companies involved in Israeli occupation and apartheid.” The union has 13,000 members working as teaching assistants and tutors on UC’s nine campuses.
    Just over half the 2,100 union members who voted personally pledged not to participate in any research, conferences, events or exchange programs sponsored by Israeli universities.
    Another was at Chicago’s Catholic DePaul University, where divestment narrowly won a student referendum in May.
    A similar measure was rejected in the City University of New York’s graduate student union.
    BDS opponents say in the U.S. “the BDS campaign has been a complete failure. They have not really succeeded in convincing anybody except a handful of students and some professors that this in any way will contribute to peace or improving the lot of Palestinians,” said Mitchell Bard, executive director of the Israeli-American Cooperative Enterprise, a group which brings Israeli academics to American campuses.
    “When it comes to campuses, the boycott has been a colossal failure,” he said. “There are roughly 2,000 four-year colleges in the U.S., and in the last academic year there were 16 or 17 divestment resolutions and they lost at least 12.”
    Andrew Kadi, an IT professional of Palestinian descent in Washington, D.C., is co-chair of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. In an interview, he took issue with Bard’s description. If “this has been a complete failure, then why is so much money being invested in trying to counter it? All of the explicitly Zionist Jewish organizations in the country seem to be investing very heavily in the millions to oppose BDS,” Kadi said.
    “I am not going to sit here and try and paint boycott as the greatest victory success of this year. This is a long-term process. It took 10 to 15 years for these type of campaigns to help end apartheid in South Africa, for those campaigns to have an effect at the policy level.”
    Kadi acknowledged that BDS has been far more influential in Europe. “In the U.S., he said, “we still have a long ways to go.”

    Death by papercuts
    American Jewish organizations are shifting strategy in order to make change in the long term, moving toward building relationships with potential partners rather than being reactive when a new BDS initiative emerges.
    “All of the leaders of our community believe we have to broaden our efforts. We all believe that this is not just a Jewish issue, but an American issue,” said Baime. “We’re seeing pro-Israel students active in politics making new allies outside the pro-Israel traditional circles.”
    The David Project, for instance, is growing a program that this winter break will bring a pro-Israel student and two or three non-Jewish campus leaders they invite on a trip to Israel. This year it involves 32 campuses. Next year, said Philip Brodsky, the group’s executive director, they plan to involve 40.
    “The community has gotten more sophisticated in understanding that every fight doesn’t have to be at the nuclear level,” said Bard. “Different tools are needed.”
    “There are reasons to be concerned about growing disaffection from Israel, concern that even if today we have support, 10 years down the road we will have a bigger problem,” said Geri Palast, director of the Israel Action Network. Her network, which supports pro-Israel work at Hillels, JCRCs and non-Jewish groups like churches and black and Latino organizations, is a partnership between Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Center for Public Affairs and has a $1.5 million annual budget.
    A decade from now, “will you have a progressive community in America that is no longer as supportive of Israel as they are today because they’ve grown up in this environment? That’s what you have to think about – not the resolution itself.”
    “It’s death by a thousand papercuts,” Bard said. “People seem to feel we need to defeat it everywhere so they don’t gain the foothold or confidence they’ll need to succeed.’
    Ethan Felson, vice president of the JCPA, the community relations arm of the organized Jewish community, said there should be a positive focus to anti-BDS efforts. “We’re trying to develop a movement in support of peace embodied in two states for two people, not fighting some bogeyman,” he said.
    Felson tracks BDS efforts among Christian churches and said that he anticipates divestment resolutions similar to that passed in June by the Presbyterian Church (USA) to be raised in just about every mainline Protestant denomination in the coming year.

    Entry point to academia
    BDS proponents say their efforts this year have yielded success.
    “BDS efforts have been greatly effective,” said Sydney Levy, advocacy director of Jewish Voice for Peace, which describes itself as part of the BDS movement. The decision of Durham, NC, to drop a $1 million contract with G4S, a multinational security corporation, over the company’s work in Israeli prisons and security checkpoints is one reflection of their success, Levy said.
    Another is SodaStream’s decision to move its factory from a West Bank industrial park to a town in southern Israel. The home seltzer-maker manufacturer said in November it was moving for purely commercial reasons. But, Levy told Haaretz, that it is “moving out of a settlement shows the success of the BDS campaign.”
    Beyond, perhaps, that instance, the BDS fight is not influencing Israeli policy, said JCPA’s Felson. “Even if Israelis are aware of the BDS movement, it’s not a motivator. Israeli leaders make decisions and Israeli voters make decisions based on far more tangible factors like security, their economic interests and political concerns. They’re inured to international isolation. They’re used to the UN and the EU and this one here and that one there saying they should go away.”
    BDS has also not impacted Americans’ views on Israel, as a whole. In focus groups with influential non-Jewish Americans “no one knew what BDS was,” said a source, who did not want to be named. “It consumes a lot of our energy but it doesn’t have much reach. We think the whole world is BDS. It’s not so much.”
    One arena in which BDS advocates have been notably successful this year is in academia, where being pro-boycott and divestment has become a near prerequisite for progressive bona fides.
    “Our contacts on campuses are extremely alarmed at the way the Palestinian issue is being framed as a kind of entry point for people who want to see themselves as defenders of the downtrodden,” said Gideon Aronoff, CEO of Ameinu, a liberal Zionist organization that started The Third Narrative in 2013. This year TTN launched a forum for academics who oppose both the occupation and boycotts of Israeli universities.
    “Its ability to become a sort of huckster for being properly left is very worrisome. When it becomes this kind of ideological signifying issue it loses its ability to be countered with factual arguments. That transition has happened this year,” Aronoff said.

    The next battle?
    At next month’s conference of the American Historical Association, which has 14,000 members, there will be a roundtable discussion by historians “critical of Israeli policy,” said one of the organizers, Van Gosse, and two resolutions condemning Israel will be raised at the business meeting.
    Historians Against The War, a group started in 2003 to oppose the American occupation of Iraq, is trying to put the Israeli occupation on the AHA’s agenda.
    Their resolutions reprimand Israel for “acts of violence and intimidation by the State of Israel against Palestinian researchers and their archival collections, acts which can destroy Palestinians’ sense of historical identity as well as the historical record itself,” for “refusing to allow students from Gaza to travel in order to pursue higher education abroad, and even at West Bank universities” and its “policy of denying entry to foreign nationals seeking to promote educational development in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”
    “If you move a large body like the AHA, which has real standing, that changes consciousness and opinion,” said Gosse, associate professor of history at Pennsylvania’s Franklin and Marshall College, and a member of HAW and the AHA. “If we stimulate debate on these issues, that’s what we’re seeking to do,” said Gosse, who has personally donated money to JVP.
    The AHA has not addressed international issues in his four years as AHA’s executive director, said Jim Grossman but previously that took a stand on the freedom of scholars in Russia. Grossman declined to share if he is Jewish or pro-Israel, saying, “my views on this are irrelevant. If there are historians whose rights as scholars, whose academic freedom is being constrained then we will speak out on their behalf.”
    The AHA would join several other academic associations that have put anti-Israel resolutions on their dockets in the past year, though the AHA is the largest by far. The Middle East Studies Association adopted a policy last month allowing its 2,700 members to boycott Israel. The American Studies Association, with 5,000 members, passed a resolution to boycott Israeli academics and institutions in December 2013, though Israeli scholars were permitted to participate in its conference this year.
    The American Anthropological Association rejected an anti-boycott measure at its annual conference last month, instead appointing a task force to bring recommendations to its 2015 conference. The Modern Language Association, which has nearly 24,000 members, rejected an Israel boycott motion at its conference in June.
    Some pro-Israel historians members said they are working behind the scenes to try to scuttle boycott efforts at the AHA.
    “The notion the AHA will have any effect whatsoever on Israel’s policies in the West Bank or nudging the parties toward negotiations is ridiculous,” David Greenberg told Haaretz. Greenberg is associate professor of history, journalism and media studies at N.J.’s Rutgers University. “There is a worldwide campaign of delegitimization of Israel. Every little piece makes a difference. In and of itself it’s not important but insofar that it contributes to the idea that Israel should be a pariah state it’s a bad thing. It’s bad for the AHA, it alienates Jewish members and creates divisions.”
    Young scholars’ views on BDS can threaten their career prospects, he said.
    “People who are even mildly supportive of Israel are in kind of a delicate position in academia. If you’re a graduate student or junior untenured professor you’re really fighting a strong anti-Israel climate in a lot of departments and your future could be on the line,” said Greenberg. “It’s no secret that there are almost no conservatives in the historical profession. Support for Israel has become equated with the conservative position. Anyone remotely supportive of Israel faces the legitimate worry that they will suffer as a result.”
    “You should be able to say that I’m a Zionist and still get tenure and people shouldn’t care. It shouldn’t impinge on judgments of your scholarship. But it does”
    .

  5. giogg ha detto:

    “Il Foglio”, 6 marzo 2015, qui o qui

    IL SOFFICE ROGO DELL’UNIVERSITA’ DI LONDRA: MESSI AL BANDO I PROFESSORI ISRAELIANI. CON VOTO UNANIME
    di Giulio Meotti

    Hanno votato 2.056 fra docenti universitari, studenti, presidi di facoltà, perfino gli inservienti e gli addetti alla sicurezza. Il 73 per cento ha deciso per il boicottaggio totale delle istituzioni accademiche di Israele. Soltanto in 425 hanno votato contro. A favore dell’esclusione dello stato ebraico il sessanta per cento dei docenti ordinari e dei “lecturers”, i docenti associati. E’ stato un referendum sul diritto all’esistenza dello stato ebraico fra le classi abbienti del mondo accademico e culturale britannico. La London University diventa il primo ateneo inglese a votare ufficialmente la fine di ogni legame accademico e professionale con i colleghi israeliani. La prima a farne le spese sarà l’Università ebraica di Gerusalemme, con la quale l’università londinese ha in corso degli scambi. Ai votanti era stato chiesto se fossero d’accordo con la decisione della Scuola di studi orientali e africani (Soas) della facoltà di aderire alla campagna di boicottaggio di Israele. Il voto è tanto più importante perché arriva dalla più prestigiosa università inglese per gli studi mediorientali. E’ la stessa dove era andato a studiare Mutassim Gheddafi, uno dei figli del Colonnello. E’ la stessa dove l’imam Yusuf al Qaradawi siede fra gli advisor del Journal of Islamic Studies. E’ lo stesso religioso che ha giustificato gli attentati suicidi contro gli ebrei: “Oh Allah, colpisci gli ebrei, i nemici dell’islam. Oh Allah, colpisci questa banda arrogante. Oh Allah, non sprecarne neppure uno, contali e uccidili, fino all’ultimo”. Ci sono poi quei finanziamenti della famiglia reale saudita all’Università di Londra (costituiscono il quindici per cento del totale delle donazioni). Di fronte al voto di Londra esultano i militanti del boicottaggio, come Rana Baker, ricercatrice di Antropologia di quella facoltà, che dice: “Il referendum è il primo passo nella direzione di porre le università israeliane nel giusto contesto di laboratori militari”. Nel 2007 i ricercatori associati del Regno Unito si erano riuniti a Bournemouth per votare a favore di “un boicottaggio generale” delle istituzioni israeliane. E l’università israeliana di Bar-Ilan ha dichiarato che un boicottaggio “silenzioso” delle università inglesi è già in atto da tempo. Ogni corporazione e burocrazia in Inghilterra ha preso parte all’inimicizia d’Israele: insegnanti, dipendenti pubblici, architetti, medici, accademici, giornalisti e chierici religiosi. Ngo Monitor ha appena stilato un bel rapporto su come funziona il boicottaggio. Il voto della London University, che ieri è stato definito “non binding” dall’amministrazione, avrà effetti pratici e immediati: impedire agli studenti israeliani di ottenere sovvenzioni alla London University, persuadere altre istituzioni accademiche inglesi a rompere le relazioni con le università israeliane, convincere gli accademici che lavorano alla London University a non recarsi in Israele, non invitare gli israeliani alle conferenze della stessa università, impedire la pubblicazione di articoli di studenti israeliani nelle riviste dell’ateneo e non pubblicare articoli su riviste specializzate israeliane. E’ un rogo antisemita soffice.

  6. giogg ha detto:

    “Corriere della Sera”, 9 marzo 2015, QUI o QUI

    CONTRO L’ANTISEMITISMO DELLA LONDON UNIVERSITY
    di Pierluigi Battista

    Una schifezza antisemita che dovrebbe sollecitare una mobilitazione di chi lavora nelle università europee. Il voto a maggioranza con cui l’Università di Londra ha decretato l’ostracismo contro gli studenti israeliani, i libri israeliani, le ricerche israeliane non può essere trattato con giudizi diplomatici, con cautele eufemistiche, con ipocriti distinguo. È un accanimento senza pari contro i cittadini e le idee di un’intera Nazione. Neanche ai tempi del boicottaggio contro il Sudafrica dell’apartheid si era decretato che gli studenti sudafricani non potessero mettere piede in un’università europea o americana, o che i libri scritti da scrittori e scienziati sudafricani non potessero essere adottati negli atenei.
    Neanche con l’Iran che nega con decreto di Stato la verità storica della Shoah, si impedisce la circolazione degli studenti di Teheran. Perché il boicottaggio delle idee e delle persone è incivile, supera ogni limite di decenza. Il boicottaggio contro le merci si può capire: può essere un errore, lo è quasi sempre, ma non calpesta la dignità delle persone. Il boicottaggio contro i libri, la ricerca, gli studenti, i professori è invece una barbarie contro la cultura, il sapere, i valori stessi dell’Europa.
    Perciò il voto della London University è una decisione che fa ribrezzo. Perché demonizza lo Stato di Israele. Perché fa a pezzi i diritti dei singoli cittadini di quello Stato. Perché è un’aggressione morale contro lo Stato degli ebrei, proprio adesso che l’antisionismo radicale, la negazione dello Stato di Israele a esistere, è diventato per i fondamentalisti l’arma per massacrare gli ebrei che vivono in Europa, per quelli che non distinguono tra una Sinagoga e un’ambasciata israeliana e mettono sotto assedio i quartieri dove ci sono gli ebrei considerati quinte colonne dell’«entità sionista», i supermercati kosher dove gli ebrei vengono uccisi in quanto ebrei, e quindi complici e corresponsabili del nemico sionista. Se i boicottatori dell’università di Londra non sanno queste cose, sono soltanto ignoranti che macchiano la dignità della loro accademia. Se lo sanno, si prestano al più losco gioco degli antisemiti. E chi collabora con l’antisemitismo, chi non dice una parola sulla caccia all’ebreo merita di veder giudicato il suo boicottaggio con parole che non siano troppo indulgenti: una schifezza antisemita. Una raccolta di firme tra gli accademici europei contro l?antisemitismo dei loro colleghi londinesi?

    • giogg ha detto:

      Il 25 marzo alcuni sostenitori della campagna BDS presso la Soas di Londra (School of Oriental and African Studies) hanno risposto sul “CorSera” alle critiche di Pierluigi Battista: “smentiamo nel modo più categorico che il referendum consultativo qui svoltosi sia stato un gesto antisemita. La nostra università e i gruppi firmatari rifiutano inequivocabilmente ogni forma di razzismo e antisemitismo“.
      L’editorialista, dal canto suo, ha controreplicato molto brevemente: “Boicottare non le merci ma gli studiosi e le ricerche culturali e scientifiche israeliane è antisemitismo camuffato da antisionismo” (qui).

      L’intero testo è questo:

      Scriviamo in quanto studenti e professori di Soas riferendoci all’articolo«Contro l’antisemitismo della London University» (Corriere, 9 marzo). In qualità di studenti e professori di questa università, smentiamo nel modo più categorico che il referendum consultativo qui svoltosi sia stato un gesto antisemita. La nostra università e i gruppi firmatari rifiutano inequivocabilmente ogni forma di razzismo e antisemitismo. La campagna internazionale che va sotto il nome di Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions (Bds), sulla quale sono stati consultati studenti e corpo docente, sostiene tre richieste: la fine dell’occupazione; l’uguaglianza dei cittadini arabo- palestinesi in Israele; il rispetto del diritto al ritorno dei rifugiati palestinesi. Benché riconosciamo che questa linea di confine sia a volte delicata, il boicottaggio non é diretto a singoli individui, bensì alle istituzioni strettamente legate alle politiche dell’attuale governo israeliano Accademici e studenti israeliani sono e saranno sempre i benvenuti a Soas (School of Oriental and African Studies), che da tempo ospita un centro di studi israeliani ed ebraici di livello mondiale. Ci conforta il fatto che numerosi studenti e professori di religione ebraica così come di cittadinanza israeliana si sono fatti promotori di questa campagna qui in Inghilterra, così come messaggi di solidarietà sono pervenuti da Israele. È nostra convinzione che il mondo accademico sia il luogo nel quale sviluppare il dibattito critico, nello spirito di valori che riteniamo fondamentali come la libertà di opinione e di espressione. La diversità di opinioni riguardo a strategie quali il movimento Bds appoggia è sempre benvenuta. Tuttavia accusare di antisemitismo chi sostiene un pensiero critico rispetto alle attuali politiche del governo israeliano, è un’azione non solo inaccurata ma soprattutto strumentale e di pericolosa disinformazione.
      Soas Students’ Union, Israel Student Society, Palestine Student Society, Italian Student Society, singoli membri del corpo docente della Soas

      Clicca sull'immagine per ingrandirla

  7. giogg ha detto:

    Il controverso “nuovo storiografo” israeliano Ilan Pappé era stato invitato a Roma, poi la sua conferenza non si è più tenuta. Di seguito, due articoli: uno pre e contro, l’altro post e pro.

    “Informazione Corretta” 13 febbraio 2015, QUI (o su FB)

    A ROMA TRE LA CONFERENZA DELL’ODIO CONTRO ISRAELE
    di Dario Sanchez

    Con l’articolo di oggi avrei voluto parlarvi delle incubatrici dell’odio, cioè di quegli atenei e di quelle istituzioni accademiche dove al riparo da qualsiasi sospetto e interferenza i “cattivi maestri” indottrinano i miei coetanei all’antisemitismo e all’odio verso Israele: per farlo, avevo intenzione di proporvi come esempio valido per tutti quanto accaduto nei giorni scorsi nelle aule della sudafricana “Durban University of Technology”; dove lo “Students Representative Council” coadiuvato dall’organizzazione di sinistra “Progressive Youth Alliance” ha chiesto con una lettera formale inviata al Rettore di “espellere dall’Università (tutti, ndr) gli studenti ebrei, cominciando a partire da quelli che hanno idee sioniste e che non sostengono la lotta palestinese”.
    Riconosco tuttavia di essere completamente a digiuno di questioni sudafricane, e dunque che sarebbe stato particolarmente arduo tirare fuori una analisi compiuta del fenomeno: tuttavia sfortunatamente in mio soccorso sono arrivate delle curiose segnalazioni da parte di alcuni conoscenti su quanto sta accadendo nell’ateneo italiano dove formalmente a dispetto della mia aliyah risulto ancora iscritto, vale a dire “l’Università degli Studi Roma Tre”, assai nota nella città di Roma per le sedi delle sue facoltà frutto dell’oculato recupero e restauro di nobili esempi di archeologia industriale e assai meno per il cancro antisemita che al riparo degli spazi lindi e ordinati movimenta la vita accademica e rende sempre più irrespirabile l’aria ai non pochi studenti ebrei.
    Potrei provare a cercare di recuperare nella memoria i dettagli di un episodio che mi ha visto appena un anno fa direttamente coinvolto, quando nel corso di una lezione mi trovai completamente solo a controbattere a una studentessa portatrice di idee antisemite e negazioniste lasciata parlare a ruota libera dalla docente di quel corso per una mezz’ora abbondante, ma questa scaramuccia è poca cosa al confronto di una conferenza che prossimamente sarà realizzata dal Dipartimento di Scienze Politiche di quell’Università in collaborazione con la “School of Oriental and African Studies” di Londra e “Assopace-Palestina” dal titolo “EUROPA E MEDIO ORIENTE OLTRE GLI IDENTITARISMI: DIALOGHI CON ILAN PAPPÉ”.
    Perché dico prossimamente? Perché avrebbe dovuto svolgersi il 16 febbraio prossimo nei locali dell’Istituto di Cultura Francese a Piazza Campitelli, a pochi passi dalla zona del vecchio ghetto, ma grazie all’impegno degli amici romani gli è stata negata la sala per via della più che ovvia provocazione costituita dalla vicinanza con il cuore della comunità ebraica più antica della diaspora.
    Non vi è tuttavia alcun dubbio che la conferenza si terrà comunque in altri spazi. Non ci vuole molta fantasia per immaginare quali saranno i toni dei dialoghi con questo sedicente storico che ha fatto della menzogna più spudorata la sua professione, da anni vero e proprio esperto nella costruzione ad arte di false citazioni da lui attribuite di volta in volta a diversi leader israeliani per suscitare odio e risentimento verso Israele. Tra le tante dichiarazioni rilasciate pubblicamente , giusto per fare un esempio, Ilan Pappé ha dichiarato che “l’apartheid sudafricano è un picnic in confronto a quanto stanno subendo i palestinesi”, e si è augurato più di una volta che Israele venga quanto prima distrutta.
    Ad accompagnarlo nel monologo – tale non può non essere, dato che non è previsto l’intervento di nessuna personalità con posizioni equilibrate – ci saranno Luisa Morgantini (presidente di ASSOPACE-PALESTINA, sorta di “agenzia di viaggi” responsabile di numerosi tour dell’odio tra Israele e territori palestinesi), l’antisionista e per questo “ebreo buono” Moni Ovadia e alcuni professori dell’ateneo. Organizzatrice di questo circo antisemita fatto passare niente di meno che per “giornata di studi”, è la professoressa di antropologia Michela Fusaschi.
    Cosa accade, in ambiento accademico, in Europa? Dov’è l’origine di questa nuova forma di antisemitismo culturale di cui si fanno portavoce docenti come questi con la complicità delle istituzioni accademiche? E’ doveroso interrogarsi sugli effetti a breve, medio e lungo termine della pericolosa congiuntura tra antisemitismo, negazionismo e anti-imperialismo che sta prendendo piede e forma nelle istituzioni accademiche italiane ed europee/occidentali, ma non è oggi e non questo il momento per poterci fermare a pensare: a dispetto della lunghezza di questo articolo, è bene che al fervore delle parole nel giorno in cui si terrà questa conferenza si sostituisca lo slancio dell’azione.
    Mi aspetto, cari lettori di Informazione Corretta, che nel mio nome di cittadino italo-israeliano studente in quell’ateneo e nel vostro nome di sinceri amici di Israele che appena sarà noto il luogo definitivo di questa “giornata di studi” sarete in tantissimi lì presenti a difendere le ragioni di Israele dando vita a quel contraddittorio che gli organizzatori del circo dell’odio vorrebbero in ogni modo negare: sono sicuro che uniti saprete dare loro una meravigliosa lezione di democrazia
    .

    – – –

    “Lettera 43”, 19 marzo 2015, QUI

    PALESTINA, LA GUERRA CON ISRAELE NEL MONDO ACCADEMICO
    Dibattiti annullati. Studiosi screditati. Attacchi sulla stampa. Da Roma a Londra: negli atenei Ue va in scena lo scontro con Tel Aviv. Tra censure e sabotaggi.
    di Ranieri Salvadorini

    I primi fatti risalgono a febbraio. L’Università di Roma Tre ha revocato aula e logo al noto storico israeliano Ilan Pappé a tre giorni dell’incontro «Europa e Medio Oriente oltre agli identitarismi», previsto per lunedì 16.
    Per gli organizzatori l’università avrebbe ceduto a pressioni dell’ambasciata israeliana, mentre il rettore Mario Panizza ha minimizzato, parlando a Lettera43.it di «errore procedurale».
    Panizza ha offerto un’altra aula rispetto a quella stabilita, ma gli organizzatori hanno rifiutato: «Richiedendo (…) di rimuovere i loghi dell’Università da tutti i volantini e gli inviti, cancellando le informazioni dell’evento dal sito dell’ateneo, l’evento era stato delegittimato».
    UNIVERSITÀ TROPPO TIMIDE. Da questi fatti ha preso corpo A call for academic freedom, appello pubblico in cui si racconta l’accaduto e si denuncia, con il dietrofront dell’università romana, la pratica di un «doppio standard» in tema di libertà d’espressione: siamo tutti Charlie Hebdo, ma se c’è da aprire un confronto su Israele e Palestina le cose si complicano.
    Pochi giorni dopo, alla facoltà di Ingegneria della Sapienza di Roma un episodio simile, con la revoca dell’aula per la proiezione di The Fading Valley della regista israeliana Irit Gal. Il film denunciava l’accesso all’acqua interdetto ai palestinesi.
    Analizzando le opinioni raccolte da Lettera43.it sull’episodio romano emerge un’università timida, avulsa dalla realtà.
    CALL PARLA DI «DOPPI STANDARD». Così l’accademia, da luogo di produzione di sapere critico, si trasforma in incubatrice di spiriti innocui e conformisti.
    «Sembra che in Italia, come nel resto dell’Europa, offendere i musulmani con vignette sul Profeta sia diventato un tema sacro della libertà di parola, mentre quella sul Medio Oriente e la Palestina è limitata, se non interdetta», scrivono gli estensori di Call. «I doppi standard e l’eccezionalismo manifestati nel caso di qualunque dibattito su Israele ridicolizzano il discorso sulla libertà di parola che è stato devotamente avanzato in Francia in seguito agli orribili attentati di Parigi».
    È di inizio marzo il voto positivo della School of Oriental and African Studies (Soas) di Londra al boicottaggio accademico di Israele, nell’ambito della campagna globale Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (Bds) e – spiega l’antropologa Ruba Salih – è in corso la mobilitazione perché la British Middle East Studies Association Conference faccia lo stesso, a maggio.
    Un’iniziativa controversa, che il vicedirettore del Corriere della sera Pierluigi Battista – sul numero del 9 marzo – ha definito una «schifezza anti-semita», che supera «ogni limite di decenza».
    Di tutt’altro avviso Salih: «Tramite i confronti sul Bds si mettono a nudo i legami militari, culturali ed economici del sistema accademico israeliano con l’occupazione, quindi viene meno l’idea cardine che la comunità accademica, in Israele, sia un’oasi di democrazia».
    Il Bds, dice l’antropologa, spiazza il governo israeliano, «abituato ad agire impunemente, perché è una sorta di pressione che viene dal basso, frutto di dibattiti e processi democratici in sedi disparate (da congressi accademici, a students unions)».
    STEFANINI: «STUDENTI E DOCENTI HANNO PAURA». Per Angelo Stefanini, direttore del Centro di Salute internazionale dell’Università di Bologna nonché responsabile di programmi di salute pubblica sia per l’Organizzazione Mondiale della Sanità (Oms) sia per il governo italiano, il clima è pesante: «Percepisco che i miei studenti, quelli che seguono i temi sulla responsabilità sociale della scienza, hanno paura, per non parlare dei docenti», dice a Lettera43.it. «A Bologna c’è un gruppo di studenti israeliani molto aggressivo e, anche se non ci sono intimidazioni dirette, c’è un’atmosfera che manda un messaggio molto chiaro: ‘Queste cose non si fanno, altrimenti ci sono conseguenze che ricadono sulla tua testa’».
    Solo un sentore? Può darsi, tuttavia Stefanini si è “guadagnato” negli anni varie menzioni (su siti come Honest Reporting), in cui si invitano i lettori a scrivere (nel suo caso al Lancet) per screditare l’autore e il suo lavoro.
    BENEDUCE: «L’UNIVERSITÀ PUÒ ESSERE DECISIVA». La campagna Bds ha lanciato l’idea, raccolta da Carlo Tagliacozzo, di invitare Omar Barghouti all’Università di Torino. Nome ignoto ai più, l’intellettuale e attivista palestinese è cofondatore del Bds e membro del comitato per il boicottaggio accademico e culturale di Israele. L’incontro è previsto per giovedì 19 marzo alle 17 (mercoledì 18 Barghouti ha parlato a Roma Tre, con l’università che ha prestato l’aula ma non il logo). Niente pressioni a Torino? Per l’antropologo Roberto Beneduce «hanno prevalso messaggi obliqui: l’organizzazione di un contraddittorio, ad esempio, non è stata possibile».
    Le persone invitate hanno tutte declinato: chi per impegni, chi perché in disaccordo, chi perché ritiene che una voce dissenziente non troverebbe ascolto. Interviene invece via video l’attore Moni Ovadia. Prosegue Beneduce: «L’università può avere in questo intrico un ruolo decisivo, e creare uno spazio dove discutere ciò che sembra essere diventato impossibile pensare».
    Esemplare delle schermaglie Israele-Palestina in ambito accademico è il caso della genetista Paola Manduca. Dopo la pubblicazione di una lettera aperta sul Lancet che denunciava gli attacchi sistematici di Tel Aviv ai danni dei civili di Gaza, iniziò l’offensiva contro gli autori e Richard Horton, direttore della prestigiosa rivista medica britannica.
    L’accademia israeliana, mobilitata dai media, scrisse al direttore e all’editore stesso della rivista – Elsevier – per chiedere la rimozione sia del documento sia dello stesso Horton, la cui gestione del Lancet sarebbe «tendenziosa» e «faziosa».
    Il Jerusalem Post, per esempio, ospitò le lettere di diversi esponenti autorevoli, come David Katz, professore emerito di immunopatologia a Londra e capo della Jewish Medical Association Uk, e altri ancora (qui le lettere).
    LA DOTTORESSA ACCUSATA DI ANTISEMITISMO. Gli attacchi sono andati crescendo, ma Horton non ha desistito. L’israeliana Ngo Monitor disse di avere trovato «prove che mostrano i legami tra due importanti autrici della lettera (Paola Manduca e Swee Ang, ndr) e David Duke, ex leader statunitense del Ku Klux Klan e attivista per la “supremazia bianca”».
    L’accusa, per la genetista italiana e per Ang, sarebbe di aver fatto circolare un video antisemita (Cnn, Goldman Sachs & the Zionist Matrix) firmato Duke.
    Infine fu il Jerusalem Post a “spiegare” tanta aggressività nei confronti della dottoressa, quando scrisse che Manduca «è stata per anni coinvolta nella diffusione di accuse senza fondamento su diaboliche armi israeliane».
    HORTON? «COLPEVOLE» DI AVERLE DATO SPAZIO. La vera responsabilità di Horton, secondo questo “schema accusatorio” mediatico, sarebbe di aver pubblicato i suoi lavori, che conterrebbero «affermazioni pseudo-scientifiche». L’equipe guidata da Manduca ha dimostrato in anni di lavoro che contenuti e residui delle armi da guerra israeliane causano difetti nelle nascite a Gaza; che i metalli cancerogeni presenti nelle bombe e nei proiettili al fosforo bianco sono gli stessi trovati nei tessuti delle ferite e nei capelli dei bambini un anno dopo “Piombo Fuso”; che tali metalli non vengono eliminati dall’organismo, e persistono in esso o nell’ambiente. E ancora: esiste una correlazione tra l’esposizione agli attacchi e malformazioni alla nascita, con effetti di lungo termine sulla salute riproduttiva.
    Lancet ha pubblicato gli studi scientifici che suffragano l’accusa di crimini di guerra. Così scatta lo stigma di facile presa dell’«antisemitismo»
    .

  8. giogg ha detto:

    AGGIORNAMENTO del 3 giugno 2015:
    Due lettere di professori americani di antropologia che spiegano perché hanno firmato per il BDS:
    http://savageminds.org/2015/06/03/anthropology-and-the-boycott-of-israeli-academic-institutions-part-1/

  9. giogg ha detto:

    INTEGRAZIONE del 16 giugno 2015:
    Il website della Comunità Ebraica di Milano ha pubblicato un resoconto di Davide Foa sulla conferenza “Boicottaggio, disinvestimenti, sanzioni, verso l’isolamento di Israele?”, organizzata dall’Associazione Italia-Israele e dalla Federazione Sionistica Italiana domenica 14 giugno, presso il Conservatorio G. Verdi di Milano.

    “Mosaico”, 15 giugno 2015, QUI (e anche su “Osservatorio Antisemitismo“)

    MOVIMENTO BDS, COM’E’ E COME E’ ORGANIZZATO
    di Davide Foa

    Che cos’è il movimento Bds (Boycott, Divestment and sactions)? Com’è organizzato? Ma soprattutto, quanto è in grado di danneggiare realmente Israele?
    Delle prime risposte a queste domande sono state date da David Meghnagi, professore presso l’Università di Roma 3, e Giovanni Quer, ricercatore alla Hebrew University, in occasione della conferenza “Boicottaggio, disinvestimenti, sanzioni, verso l’isolamento di Israele?” organizzata dall’Associazione Italia-Israele e dalla Federazione Sionistica Italiana domenica 14 giugno presso il Conservatorio G. Verdi di Milano.
    Per quanto il movimento Bds sia nato solo nel 2005, Meghnagi precisa fin da subito che “il boicottaggio coincide con la nascita di Israele”. Negli anni ’50, era cosa comune per i paesi arabi boicottare imprese e industrie che collaborassero con lo Stato ebraico.
    Non si tratta quindi di un fenomeno moderno. Come accade per ogni processo, anche il boicottaggio “ha avuto alti e bassi”. Infatti, come ricorda il relatore, tra il ’93 il 2000 Israele è stata riaccettata grazie agli accordi di Oslo; quando questi però si mostrarono inadeguati, allora riemerse la vecchia tendenza, che è andata accelerando negli ultimi anni. Una tendenza, quella del boicottaggio, che, secondo Meghnagi, “è stata sottovalutata sul piano politico”.
    Il problema del Bds (Boicottaggio, Disinvestimenti, Sanzioni), sembrerebbe quindi non essere compreso a pieno: “si fa fatica a comprendere che il BDS è un fenomeno non legato alla politica israeliana”. Infatti, il Bds “utilizza i temi della politica ma procede autonomamente su più piani”. Meghnagi spiega che questa incapacità di comprendere le vere finalità del fenomeno ha fatto sì che molti siano caduti nella sua rete.
    Se è vero che la storia insegna, uno sguardo al passato non dovrebbe far male; così Meghnagi ricorda per esempio il caso Dreyfus ma anche i primi segnali dell’antisemitismo in Europa negli anni ’30: anche allora la malattia del mal-comprendere era piuttosto diffusa.
    Di cosa dunque abbiamo bisogno? Unità cognitiva. “Avere unità cognitiva significa comprendere quali forze sono in gioco”; purtroppo però “un singolo osservatore difficilmente riesce a cogliere l’unità cognitiva del processo ed è portato a pensare che il Bds non sia antisemitismo”.
    Il fatto preoccupante, secondo Meghnagi, è la normalità con cui vengono trattati certi argomenti. Per esempio, oggi è normale che alcune università decidano di non invitare ospiti israeliani.
    E domani, cosa sarà normale? Il Bds non è altro che un processo e “i processi avvengono per fasi: una fase ne prepara un’altra e rende normale il fatto compiuto”. Si passa da una degenerazione all’altra, senza accorgersene.
    Ma perché proprio Israele? Come si spiega il fatto che “nessuno boicotta paesi come l’Iran o l’Arabia Saudita” ? Facile: “si spiega con la politica del doppio standard: lo standard utilizzato per giudicare Israele non è lo stesso utilizzato per gli altri paesi”.
    Per combattere tutto ciò, Meghnagi sceglie il piano scientifico: “bisogna mettere in discussione certi luoghi comuni” che da tempo, sin dal ’67, sono presenti nell’ambiente universitario ma non solo.
    Ecco allora la risposta concreta di Meghnagi che nella sua università dirige l’International Center for Modern Jewish Civilization and Israel Studies.
    Per comprendere più a fondo il Bds, dalla sua struttura ai suoi reali obiettivi, l’Associazione Italia-Israele e la Federazione Sionistica Italiana hanno chiamato l’esperto Giovanni Quer.
    Il relatore chiarisce fin da subito che si tratta di “un fenomeno molto stratificato che colpisce qualsiasi entità legata a Israele”.
    Tutto ha inizio nel 2001, precisamente durante una conferenza organizzata in Sudafrica; lo scopo doveva essere la discussione di temi come xenofobia e razzismo, in realtà si è dato sfogo a sentimenti antisemiti. Proprio in quella conferenza, a Durban, è stata definita la strategia del Bds, che aveva come punto centrale la visione di Israele come uno stato razzista e di apartheid. Nel 2005 il Bds lancia un appello, prontamente firmato anche in Italia da Cgil, Fiom e Rifondazione comunista.
    Secondo Quer, il movimento Bds non ce l’ha tanto con le scelte della politica israeliana, il suo “vero fine non è lo smantellamento delle colonie”. Per comprendere questo punto, basta considerare il linguaggio utilizzato nei documenti del movimento. Si capisce come “l’esistenza di Israele e soprattutto il sionismo sono nel mirino del Bds”.
    Israele viene visto come un pericolo. “La presenza ebraica nel Medioriente è per loro (Bds) una presenza coloniale e di disturbo”, afferma Quer. Anche in questo caso la storia può aiutare: la parola “pericolo” accostata al popolo ebraico non è certo una novità.
    Il Bds è stato in grado di intaccare gli ambienti politici, intellettuali e religiosi. E’ entrato nel mondo cristiano, facendo sì che si tornasse “a forme di antisemitismo che si pensavano abbandonate con il dialogo ebraico-cristiano iniziato negli anni 60”.
    Tramite la religione si arriva ad affermare la violenza dei sionisti, ovvero di coloro che “agiscono secondo le volontà del Dio violento, non avendo accettato il Vangelo”. In questo modo Quer mostra la “visione teologica dell’illegittimità dell’esistenza dello Stato di Israele”.
    Necessariamente, chi critica il sionismo loda la diaspora ebraica. Un esempio ricordato dal relatore, è quello della filosofa Judith Butler secondo cui il sionismo sarebbe una “snaturalizzazione dell’essenza ebraica.”
    Dopo il successo ottenuto in Norvegia e Svezia, paesi che adottano il disinvestimento come politica statale, il Bds ha influenzato per la prima volta anche la politica italiana il mese scorso, quando, come ricorda Quer, “un gruppo di senatori di Sel ha avanzato una mozione parlamentare per impedire che l’Acea abbia rapporti con l’impresa israeliana Mekorot.”
    I disinvestimenti “fanno leva sul diritto internazionale” e la cosa interessante, specialmente per i paesi nordici prima citati, è che quando si parla di Israele “non vengono utilizzati gli stessi standard etici validi per gli altri paesi”. Si torna alla politica degli standard sottolineata da Meghnagi.
    Quer pone inoltre l’accento sulle contraddizioni interne al Bds, una su tutte la sua pretesa di essere a favore della pace e della giustizia. Il problema è quale giustizia, dato che “propongono una visione della giustizia massimalista, che non appoggia il dialogo ma che vuole imporre solo una visione, nutrendosi di antisionismo e antisemitismo.”
    Gli effetti su Israele
    Ma Israele come sta? Quali sono effettivamente i danni causati dal Bds? Secondo Quer “per ora Israele non ha subito grandi danni, ma siamo solo all’inizio. L’appello è stato lanciato solo nel 2005.”
    Per Meghnagi gli anticorpi al Bds ci sono, ma non se ne parla. E’ necessario, in questo senso, mantenere uno spirito positivo e “non vivere di paranoia”. Il Bds va combattuto, ricordandoci però che “ ogni generazione deve vincere la sua battaglia: non si esce dall’Egitto una volta per sempre”
    .

  10. giogg ha detto:

    “Anthropology News”, 22 settembre 2015, QUI

    Two Views on Anthropologists and Boycotts
    Note from the editor: Anthropology News shares here two essays that discuss the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction movement (BDS) as it relates to current discussions among anthropologists. As a reminder, all essays appearing in AN reflect the views of the authors; their publication does not signify endorsement by AN or the AAA. Authors are expected to verify all factual information included in the text. We have published the two essays together here to help ensure a wider conversation. The two essays appear in the order they were received by the AN editor.
    We welcome comments below. AN policy does limit comments on the AN website to current AAA members as it is supported by member dues. Discussions are moderated to ensure that members only are posting comments. As with all AN content, comments reflect the views of the person who submitted the comment only. The approval of a comment does not signify endorsement by AN or the AAA
    .

    – – –

    WHY I SUPPORT THE BOYCOTT OF ISRAELI ACADEMIC INSTITUTIONS
    by Thomas Blom Hansen (Stanford U)

    I came of age politically as an anti-apartheid activist in my native Denmark during the late 1970s. We campaigned for a comprehensive boycott of South Africa. The UN General Assembly had recommended this since the 1960s but effective international sanctions were repeatedly blocked by the US, the UK and France in the Security Council as late as 1988—two years before Mandela was released from prison. Regardless, the campaign gathered force as many countries imposed sanctions and trade embargoes on South Africa. In 1986, the US Congress finally passed legislations that boycotted South Africa in a range of fields.
    Many forget the odds we were up against at the time. We were called radicals, unbalanced, one-sided, agents of Soviet style communism, and supporters of “terrorist organizations” like the ANC’s armed wing, Umkonte we Sizwe. We were told that there were two sides to this conflict; that we should go and see for ourselves (many of us had in fact been to South Africa which made us even more committed to our cause); and that people of color in South Africa lived better lives than the majority on the African continent.
    We called for a boycott because we saw the systematic dispossession of an entire people—robbed of their land, history, livelihood, political rights, dignity, life and future—by a powerful and wealthy state, with the strongest military on the African continent, backed by major Western powers.
    Did the boycott campaign work? Yes, it contributed to the gradual erosion of the apartheid regime’s legitimacy and standing in the world. It is hard to find anyone today that would admit to have ever supported apartheid, or to have opposed a boycott of South Africa.
    Did it hurt and inconvenience people in South Africa? Yes, it did in many fields, including many of the South Africans of color whose interests and future we were vested in. However, most of the progressive civic, religious and political organizations in South Africa strongly supported the boycott. Most South Africans of color deeply appreciated these efforts. It made them feel less forgotten by the world.
    The boycott movement included calls for boycott of academic institutions, scholars, book contracts, research collaborations, academic visits, conference participation and much else. These measures were applied to all institutions and scholars in South Africa. The history of this academic boycott has been summarized in a thoughtful study by Lancaster and Haricombe. They conclude that the boycott gradually, symbolically and indirectly isolated South African academics and undermined the credibility of the regime. See a summary at http://www.monabaker.com/pMachine/more.php?id=A1105_0_1_0_M
    I had grown up with the heroic story of the rescue of Danish Jews during the war, and the special relationship between Denmark and Israel was a part of our lives: visiting school classes, cultural events, lectures by eminent scientists, music performances, Israeli produce in our shops, and a steady flow of young Danes spending time in progressive kibbutz communities. In our worldview at the time, Israel and South Africa belonged to two very different categories. South Africa was the last bastion of colonialism, brutally dominated by a culturally unsophisticated and provincial white community. Israel, by contrast, appeared as a more cosmopolitan democracy full of vigorous debate and critiques of the consolidating occupation of Palestinian territories. Although the occupation clearly violated international law and the human rights of Palestinians, and although Palestinian organizations called for action against Israel, a full-scale boycott did not appear as an appropriate action at the time.
    This perception of Israel and Israeli policies has not changed among many liberal minded people across the world. But events in the occupied territories in the last two decades have been so grave that this stance must be re-evaluated: the systematic expansion of settlements and theft of land across the West Bank, the undermining of the Oslo Accord, the undermining of the Palestinian Authority, the building of the wall, the military destruction of life and infrastructure in Gaza in successive campaigns, the routinized harassment of Palestinians by the IDF, the demonization of Israeli Arabs as an enemy within . These are only some of the most glaring acts of state violence against an entire category of people.
    Israel of today is different from the rosier picture I, and many others, grew up with. Its economy and society is more militarized and securitized than ever before. The political landscape is dominated by political formations that range from belligerent majoritarianism to the outright racist. An earlier rhetoric of co-existence and peace in the political mainstream has given way to a shrill rhetoric of danger and fear. Even moderate critics of Israeli state policies are shouted down as self-hating Jews, or, more commonly, as simply anti-semitic.
    I cannot help but compare this with the shrillness and aggressiveness of the apartheid regime in the 1980s as it grew ever more isolated in the world. Dignified men of the cloth like Desmond Tutu and Alan Boesak were depicted as blood-thirsty agents of world communism! That was every bit as absurd as Netanyahu’s recent statement that that the BDS campaign in effect amounts to support of ISIS….!
    Today, it is no longer just political organizations like the PLO that calls for boycott of Israel. The current BDS movement responds to calls from a range of Palestinian civil society organizations, professionals, and academics who after years of attempts at collaborating with Israeli counterparts have reached an impasse. Their inevitable conclusion is that only comprehensive global boycott, divestment and sanctions aimed at the aggressive policies of the state of Israel can begin to change the desperate situation of millions of Palestinians.
    I want to support this effort because what I see now, is so close to what I saw in the 1970s—to repeat my formulation: “an entire people robbed of their land, history, livelihood, political rights, dignity, life and future—by a powerful and wealthy state, with the strongest military in the region, backed by the major Western powers.”
    I want to support this effort from where I stand, think and work. I believe that an academic boycott of those Israeli institutions that are actively engaged in efforts that supports the continued occupation of Palestinian territory is the only way forward. It may not change Israeli policies, and yes, it may appear as merely ‘symbolic’ as the defenders of Israel’s policies never fail to tell us. However, as any anthropologist will know, symbols and symbolic action are at the heart of human life and can change things, albeit often slowly and indirectly—just as the academic boycott of South Africa worked slowly, symbolically and indirectly.
    Joining an academic boycott of selected Israeli institutions is for me first and foremost an appropriate way of supporting our embattled Palestinian colleagues at their financially deprived and marginalized academic institutions. It is also a way of communicating to our Israeli colleagues in the academy that we are not afraid of taking a clear stand on this issue and that we would encourage them to do the same. In the 1980s South Africa, draconian emergency laws curtailed what academics and others could say and do in the public. No such strictures apply to Israeli academics. Yet, surprisingly few have come out in solidarity with their Palestinian colleagues, or in open protest against the systematic violation of Palestinian human rights by the Israeli state.
    To all those who argue that ‘yes, BDS was appropriate in the case of South Africa, but not in the case of Israel’, please take a moment to consider what actually happened in South Africa in the apartheid years, and what is actually happening today in Gaza and on the West Bank. Rather than dismissing this comparison as intrinsically unfair and even anti-semitic, as is often alleged, it behooves us as scholars and academics to look at the facts, the death toll, the structures of deprivation, the daily humiliation, the theft of land, the legal frameworks and much else. Let us have a real conversation, and let us use our resources as anthropologists and scholars to develop a truly informed debate that enables us to understand and properly assess what has been happening in Israel and Palestine for many years.
    I would also ask my colleagues who are in two minds about the issue to take a moment to study the facts of the actual academic boycott of South Africa. It was pretty sweeping and blunt, it did not discriminate between institutions and it was targeted at inconveniencing individual scholars as well as whole professions. The current proposal for boycott measures against Israeli institutions by Anthropologists for the Boycott of Israeli Institutions is much less blunt than what was ever applied to South Africa, much more precisely targeted, and much less aimed at individual scholars
    As Sheldon Adelson in his Las Vegas hotel persuades Republican presidential hopefuls that BDS is the next big threat against Israel and Jews across the world, it may be a good time to take a fresh look at the facts on the ground.
    It may also be a good time to listen to the fast growing and truly progressive organizations like Jewish Voices for Peace that actively supports BDS
    .

    Thomas Blom Hansen is professor of anthropology and director of the Center for South Asia at Stanford University. His most recent book is Melancholia of Freedom. Social Life in an Indian Township in South Africa (2012).

    – – –

    ANTHROPOLOGISTS AGAINST THE BDS BOYCOTT
    by David M Rosen (Fairleigh Dickinson U) and Alex Weingrod (Ben Gurion U)

    Anthropologists are adept at analyzing political symbols and deconstructing the rhetoric and tones crafted into political debates. We pride ourselves as experts in uncovering the “real meanings” planted deep within the give-and-take of political contests and thereby understanding what really is at stake.
    But what happens when anthropologists themselves become activists in a political movement that aims to ostracize other anthropologists? How do some anthropologists frame their political actions as they seek to discredit others and advance their goals within the AAA, the world’s largest and leading anthropological association?
    A revealing case in point is the BDS supporter’s political maneuvering now underway leading up to the forthcoming annual meeting of the AAA in November 2015. A move to boycott Israeli anthropologists will be on the November agenda, and the boycott activists recently issued a five page statement billed as “Advice for Anthropologists.” This special directive for anthropologists is a version of the 2014 guidelines originally issued by the Palestine Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. Comparing the original PACBI Guidelines with the newer “Advice for Anthropologists” can help us to understand what is at stake in the current boycott debate.
    The original PACBI Guidelines are written in austere dark tones; it is a detailed guide that directs boycott supporters to cut any and all ties with Israeli academics. Thus, while it begins by accepting the “universal right to academic freedom,” the Guidelines immediately go on to state that “an individual academic, Israeli or otherwise, cannot be exempt from being subject to ‘common sense’ boycotts.” The Guidelines list 12 academic activities that are forbidden, ranging from taking part in “Academic events” convened by Israel or “complicit Israeli institutions” to “Publishing in or refereeing articles for academic journals based at Israeli universities.” A central claim throughout is that the boycott is aimed at academic institutions, not at individual academics, but this attempt to distinguish between a university and its students and academic staff totally fails to convince. For example, in section 10, the explicit ban upon “serving as external reviewers for dissertations, writing recommendations … on hiring, promotion, tenure decisions” is followed by an exception for letters written on what is obscurely called “a personal basis.” So the sentence that excepts letters written on a “personal basis” is designed to make it seem that the ban is targeted at institutions rather than at persons, but is a total smokescreen, in that it completely ignores the reality of academic life—letters of recommendation, reviews of dissertations, etc, reference the work and career prospects of individual academics, and their careers depend upon them. In other words: in its most crucial section, the boycott is specifically aimed at Israeli students and academics, not Israeli academic institutions.
    While the PACBI Guidelines are grim and austere, the new “Advice for Anthropologists” is presented in a friendly, folksy fashion. What were steely commandments in the previous version are here transformed into mere suggestions, just friendly advice to fellow anthropologists, “a useful framework to help scholars.” The boycott is depicted as a way of “signaling,” “an act of protest,” and the document once more insists that the boycott is directed at Israeli academic institutions and not at “Israeli scholars acting in their individual capacity.” But again, this attempt to distinguish between institutions and individuals is a failure, or really, a sham, a shell game that supports the convenient lie that the boycott merely favors a good cause and hurts no one. Specifically, in the section called “Academic Service,” anthropologists are told that serving on PhD committees for Israeli anthropology students, or writing letters regarding promotion for Israeli anthropologists, are “generally covered by the boycott.” Just like the earlier BDS statement, this version is also an attempt to ostracize Israeli anthropologists and their students.
    Why is this so important? Because letters of recommendation, serving on PhD committees, or reviewing journal articles, are integral elements in our profession, and boycotting these activities will adversely affect the careers of Israeli anthropologists—Jewish and Palestinian—as well as their Jewish and Palestinian students. The BDS movement, and the anthropologist activists who support it, would effectively be driving Israeli anthropologists out of the anthropological profession.
    Unfortunately, discrediting Israeli academia is viewed by some as important in the struggle for Palestinian independence. Israeli universities are well-known as centers of social and political critique and liberal thought. Weakening them is really aimed at discrediting Israel generally. All this illustrates the fundamental dishonesty of BDS. The sly “Advice to Anthropologists” is not about anthropology or anthropologists, but part of the BDS attempt to re-write history and injure Israel by delegitimizing its more progressive groups. This is central to the BDS anti-normalization campaign, whose primary goal is to shut-down debate and communication among anthropologists regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict, and to drive out the voices that favor dialogue and informed discussion. Is this a position that anthropologists can support?

    David M Rosen is professor of anthropology at Fairleigh Dickinson University. His most recent book is Child Soldiers in the Western Imagination: From Patriots to Victims (2015).

    Alex Weingrod is emeritus professor of anthropology at Ben Gurion University of the Negev. A collection of articles called Towards an Anthropology of the Building and Un-Building of Israeli Society (2015) was recently dedicated to him.

    – – –

    COMMENTI

    Lara Deeb and Lisa Rofel says (September 22, 2015 at 9:13 pm):
    Rosen and Weingrod’s piece is a masterful example of misdirection. By focusing on the boycott movement’s Advice document, they turn this into a discussion about individual Israeli academics and their careers, deflecting all attention from Palestinian scholars and students and the conditions under which they try to research, teach, and learn.
    Moreover, Rosen and Weingrod mischaracterize that Advice document in two ways that allow them to use it to reject the academic boycott entirely. First, they conflate the actions an individual scholar could take to implement the boycott in their own professional practice with the actions the AAA as an Association could take to implement the boycott. The AAA does not write letters of recommendation for scholars, for instance. The Advice document is not directly at the AAA; it is directed at individual scholars who are free to choose whether or not to adopt the academic boycott. If the AAA membership endorses a boycott resolution, its individual members will remain free to choose whether or not to adopt the boycott in their own professional lives.
    Second, by only partially quoting the Advice document, Rosen and Weingrod ignore the flexibility built into it. For example, this flexibility allows individual scholars to write for colleagues and students applying for jobs at Israeli institutions by using Interfolio, which allow them to submit references without addressing them to Israeli institutions, so as not to legitimize those institutions. Furthermore, because the boycott is directed at institutions, it does not apply to reference letters for Israeli academics applying for jobs or fellowships at non-Israeli institutions. While this is irrelevant to the issue of an Associational boycott, it shows that – while there will be some cases where individual scholars are affected by a boycott of their institutions – the boycott movement has deliberately incorporated flexibility to ensure that those cases are minimized as much as possible. That said, it is also worth noting that the point of a boycott is to pressure institutions, which, practically, takes place by pressuring individuals working in those institutions. This returns us to our initial point: focusing discussion of the academic boycott on Israeli individuals shifts attention away from the reasons for that boycott in the first place. It is possible to conjure scenarios where an individual scholar may be negatively affected by this boycott, but that is not a reason to reject boycott as a strategy. The stakes are far more serious than whether an Israeli tenure committee receives letters directly from reviewers or via an intermediary portfolio service
    .

    Dan Rabinowitz says (September 22, 2015 at 4:01 pm):
    Hansen rightly notes that sanctions were essential in bringing down the Apartehid regime in SA, but greatly overrates the role of the academic boycott in that struggle. It was governments applying economic sanctions, not academics ostrecizing others, that made the change. This oversight perhaps explains Hansen’s misrecognition of the true nature of PACBY and its supporters, including anthropologists. One type of boycott (call it type A) sets clear, realistic benchmarks for the boycotted entity to reach, stipulating that once they are met the boycott will be terminated. The second type of boycott (call it type B) strives to terminate the very existence of the boycotted entity. Deep down PACBY is type B: it seeks to boycott Israeli moderates, including academics, as part of a concerted effort to essentialize, demonize and deligitimize Israel out of existence. Its public face, meanwhile, is a clumsy attempt to pass as type A. Weingrod and Rosen successfully highlight some of the more embarrassing contradictions that stem from this duplicity.

    Amahl says (September 22, 2015 at 12:45 pm):
    The Advice to Anthropologists document referenced by Weingrod and Rosen in fact is a set of individual guidelines for boycott. The AAA boycott would not raise the same issues. On a broader point, the Weingrod & Rosen piece really minimizes the scope of this issue. As Hansen points out, this is about doing what we can, where we live and work, to speak out and take action regarding a massive set of injustices.

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