July 18, 2007

Anti-boycotters apologists for Israel

I didn't see the Howard Jacobson article that prompted this letter to the Independent and I can't be bothered to look for it but maybe we can hazard a guess by what this correspondent had to say:

Why boycott of Israel is necessary

Sir: Howard Jacobson's latest tirade against those who advocate an academic boycott of Israeli institutions exemplifies a prominent and recurrent feature of such criticisms (14 July). He says little or nothing about the Palestine-Israel situation. He ignores the motivations of the boycott, which originate in Israel's violations of international law, infringements of Palestinians' human rights, and the 40 years' oppression of the population of the Occupied Territories. Instead of confronting the advocates' case he misrepresents them, without distinction, as accusing "Israel of every known crime against humanity" and encourages his readers to see in that the signs of anti-Semitism.

Those who advocate the boycott are not insensitive to the importance of academic freedoms but they give higher priority to the rights to life and livelihood and believe that public opinion must find ways of actively and effectively opposing those policies of Israel which perpetuate oppression.

If the critics, who make passing reference to not supporting the Israeli occupation, were to show that they actually oppose it and were to present alternatives to the boycott, then they could be taken seriously. Otherwise they appear only as apologists for Israel.

ALDRIC BROWN

LONDON N7

Maybe the article was a bit like this.

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