June 08, 2007

Israel "uniquely evil"

Thanks to commentor, Hulkagaard for the link to this ridiculous Education Guardian article on how Anthony "blood libel" Julius and Professor Alan (From time immemorial II) Dershowitz are going to be working together on a project to sue academics who support or try to implement any boycott of Israel. Here's the whole article by Donald McLeod:
The prominent lawyer Anthony Julius has said he will represent individuals or institutions affected by the proposed academic boycott of Israeli universities.

The intervention, by the man who acted for Princess Diana in her divorce and is representing Heather Mills McCartney, is likely to alarm members of the University and College Union, who passed a pro-boycott motion at their annual conference last month.

Dr Julius, who also successfully defended the historian Deborah Lipstadt against a libel suit brought by the Holocaust denier David Irving, is collaborating on a forthcoming statement on the issue with American legal star Prof Alan Dershowitz.

Prof Dershowitz has threatened sanctions to "devastate and bankrupt" those acting against Israeli universities.

Dr Julius used less colourful language, but he told EducationGuardian.co.uk yesterday: "It is truly appalling that this kind of thing should be happening."

He says Israel is being treated as "uniquely evil" - in contrast to the attitude towards India's position in Kashmir or China's in Tibet - in a way that is reminiscent of the anti-semitism of the medieval Christian church.

The lecturers' union has not yet called a boycott, unlike its predecessor Association of University Teachers in 2005, but that decision was reversed at a special conference.

The motion, passed at this year's conference in Bournemouth by 158 to 99, notes the call for a boycott by Palestinian trade unions and says the full text of the Palestinian boycott call should be sent to all branches "for information and discussion".

As a boycott has not yet been imposed the possibility of legal action has not yet arisen, said Dr Julius, but he said he would he delighted to act for academics who found themselves in contractual difficulties because of the boycott or, say, an Israeli PhD student had their supervisor withdrawn.

"Boycotts are gesture politics anyway but a resolution that comes close but is afraid to strike is a gesture wrapped up in a gesture - it's nothing more than a bad smell," he said.
I said ludicrous. Look how Alan Dershowitz is described. "Legal star." What's a legal star? He's acted for some wealthy people and he holds some chair or other at Harvard. Do they really know nothing of his other works, like his plagiarism, his ad hominem attacks on Norman Finkelstein, his attempts to get a book banned and then his denial that he had tried to get the same book banned? Do these things contribute to legal stardom? The handling of Anthony Julius is no better. He acted for Princess Di! Wow! He defeated the moronic holocaust denier, David Irving, in a case where Irving, famous for denying the holocaust, decided to deny that he denied the holocaust. And what about his work on the "blood libel," published to intimidate people out of reporting, still less protesting, Israel persistent killing of Palestinian children? Was that not worth a mention? Apparently not. Instead we get this:
Israel is being treated as "uniquely evil" - in contrast to the attitude towards India's position in Kashmir or China's in Tibet - in a way that is reminiscent of the anti-semitism of the medieval Christian church.
Now what's he saying? Is he saying that Jews really did kill Christian children in those times but so did the Chinese and Indians? He probably doesn't mean to say that. He is saying that Israel occupies territory and abuses the basic human rights of the occupied so why target Israel? His comparison to medieval times is an appallingly clumsy one then. But there are two major differences between Israel on the one side and China and India on the other. Israel's existence, not just its occupation, is predicated on persistent human rights abuses. This doesn't apply to India and China. Also, who are India and China's defenders in the newpapers in, say, the UK. Who are India and China's Jonathan Freedland and Linda Grant at the Guardian? Who is India and China's Eric Silver at the Independent? Who is their Melanie Phillips at the Mail?

No, if Israel is being singled out for disapproval it's because Israel has been singled out by itself and by its propagandists and sympathisers in the media.

But there's another thing that makes this particular Education Guardian article ludicrous. See this bit again:
As a boycott has not yet been imposed the possibility of legal action has not yet arisen, said Dr Julius, but he said he would he delighted to act for academics who found themselves in contractual difficulties because of the boycott or, say, an Israeli PhD student had their supervisor withdrawn.

"Boycotts are gesture politics anyway but a resolution that comes close but is afraid to strike is a gesture wrapped up in a gesture - it's nothing more than a bad smell," he said.
So what on earth was the article doing there in the first place? Dershowitz and Julius are threatening academics over proposals that haven't been adopted and may not be. Who allows them to get their intimidation in up front like this?

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