Sunday, June 8, 2014

Anti-Israelism is Having A Real Bad Hair Day In Australia .. Part 1.


Not a good week to be an anti-Israel activist down under. 

First punch was in the universities when a BDS motion in the local branch of the academic union of Sydney University got comprehensively shelved with the back of a shovel when it was realised that to provide Jake Lynch, Stuart Rees, Peter Slevak, Nick Riemer et al with a platform to push a toxic policy on the union so malodorous that it might invite a response that will consume the time and resources of the union and distract it from doing bloody silly marginal things such as its job. 

Checking out the size and fit for a racist policy will do that. We have seen this before in universities everywhere. More frequently and recently than you might care to think about.  

Right now is a good time to ask why our universities are nesting these "peace and conflict" departments given how whiffy is the pedigree of the discipline globally and that's just for a start. It is a pretty good question any time but when universities are under pressure and there is a risk of loss of real academics surely the question becomes more pressing.

This is the introduction but read it all. An unusually balanced and fair account from New Matilda which is under new management. Jumping Jake Lynch earlier piece is linked below that.

Then my comment.

Union Backs Away From BDS Motion

By Nick Rowbotham

A motion to discuss support for a boycott of Israel has been voted down by members of the University of Sydney NTEU, after the issue again reared its head at the sandstone institution. Nick Rowbotham reports.
The Sydney University branch of the national academic union has overturned a previous vote in support of a “broad discussion” around endorsing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Approximately 120 members attended a meeting on Wednesday at which the General Secretary of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), Grahame McCulloch, spoke against “a Union-sponsored debate on the merits of the BDS.”
“At a time when universities and trade unions are under siege from the Abbott Government, an NTEU Branch as important as the University of Sydney cannot afford the division and fruitless procedural wrangling that has been generated by this ill-conceived general meeting decision,” he wrote in an email before the meeting.
Sydney University NTEU members had voted to support a debate about BDS at a branch meeting on May 15. The vote was overruled by the union’s executive branch committee the following week, triggering outrage from pro-BDS members of the union, which led to the resignation of branch Vice President Damien Cahill and the eventual involvement of the national General Secretary.
On Wednesday, members voted 68-56 against a debate on BDS in the branch, overturning the vote on May 15, which is understood to have passed almost unanimously with around 35 NTEU members in attendance.

This follows  from an article on 4 June by Sydney University's Jumping Jake Lynch himself, Mr BDS Australia, four years running, where the pitifully losing case was put and appears here for the record only.

Jumping Jake and his mates simply can not understand why they and Palestine are not the centre of everything for everyone. 

BDS is racism. There is no doubt about it. If you look it straight in the eye you can actually see the spit and the snarl. You either know what is meant by that or you do not. That antizionism is antisemitism is a truth that really should not need explanation by this stage of this old and sad game. Indeed antisemitism is the lowest form of racism as some one on one of these threads has noted.

BDS is intellectually contemptible.  It relies on a sleight of hand that allow its proponents to avoid saying exactly where they stand especially about the existentialist stench that overhangs the whole stage. Avoid even thinking about it really. Like most radical leftist and other lethal campaigns it is designed to give all the wiggle room needed to keep the populist appeal about 'occupation” and “settlements”  strong while dodging wedges and pain that might flow from the knowledge that this is essentially just another racist and violent movement from a political culture that is steeped in brutal bigotry and knows little else.

If you are in a campaign that gets all hazy and snappy about what exactly is the end game then maybe you should get out a map and check exactly where you are standing under the nearest light.  Most  activists are clear and upfront about their objectives. Proud of what they stand for. Zionists are.
BDS is an exception. Getting them to admit that they stand for the destruction of Israel as the sovereign Jewish state is beyond boring.  They squish and flap around like a flounder on a rock.  
It's as if BDS and its urgers in the universities and the fringe parties are so ashamed of the only end game they could rationally have in mind that they have to hide it in the papers in the attic like a dirty family secret. 
Lets face the truth here. This mob has always had a problem with Jews, Zionism and Israel. At least since the days of Marx and Trotsky . Not to mention Stalin.
Universities have always harboured academics who were antisemitic or otherwise racist.  At times it has reached fever pitch. The idea of gas chambers to put down the genetically inferior, including races, first came from leading US scientists of the influential eugenics movement in the 1920's.  
By the 1930's these various schools of thought were dripping from university balustrades from Boston to Sydney in one guise or another. Something like BDS is now only with a different kind of nazi in the background.   .
By then the boycotts in the universities had well set in.
It is likely that the incidence of anti- Israelism and antisemitism has always been much higher among academics than it is in the general population. In Europe this has been proven. It is a curious phenomenon. It says much.   
Boycotts are about attacks on people because of who they are perceived to be. To excuse an affront to an individual by asserting that it was really an act against the group to which she is perceived to be a member, whatever group,... institution, nation, race... whatever ... is the oldest and glibbest  line in bigotry. 
Very soon there will be an allegation that the "Zionists" are behind this big BDS fail in Sydney. BDS has been "silenced" at this university they will say. Mark my words. They will say this. They always do.
The truth is the opposite. The more talk the better I say. Everything is an opportunity to educate. The problem for BDS is that it does not bear much scrutiny.  A racist movement, a catastrophic failure in its impact on events as it was always certain to be, bullying, astonishingly hypocritical,  at times threatening, at times comical, always venal and capricious, especially when it attacks artists and musicians, and with a message so thin, flash and dopey it makes the Gays for Sharia Mardi Gras float look like the Next Big Thing.

No wonder they are ashamed of themselves. 

That'll help the Palestinians. 

cross posted Geoffff's Joint

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