September 17, 2008

Denouncing Israel kills!!!

Eh? What? Who could say such a ludicrous, nay more, nutty thing? Yup, it's our own nutty professor, or at least he would be a nutty professor if he was a professor* at all, Dr David Hirsh. So what's this latest attempt at silencing criticism of Israel all about?

Paul McCartney is to play a gig (maybe more) in Israel and he has been asked not to by the Palestinian Campaign for an Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. Well apparently some of the papers have got hold of an islamist rent-a-quote's threat to kill McCartney and according to Dr Hirsh it's all PACBI's fault because of their "politics of denunciation". See this:
PACBI should understand what it means to denounce a person as a collaborator with "Israeli apartheid". If you play the politics of denunciation, somebody is likely to take you seriously and for that, you have to take some political responsibility.
But no, I'm wrong and I'm being unfair. I'm just having a little bit of fun at the expense of "frightened Jews". Dr Hirsh isn't for one minute saying it is all PACBI's fault. It's the fault of the Universities and Colleges Union as well because look:
The University and College Union, which talks the talk in favour of the exclusion of Israelis from the academic, cultural, sporting and economic life of humanity needs to understand that its denunciations may have consequences. Just because the political children of the boycott campaign are used to nobody taking what they say seriously, they should not rely on it.

Official policy of the UCU "notes" the "apparent complicity of most of the Israeli academy" in "illegal settlement, killing of civilians" and other human rights abuses.
You gotta love the line about people not taking the UCU seriously. He's such a shrewd debater. Point out that the whole of the zionist movement has upped its resource deployment by millions of pounds to combat the academic boycott in the UK alone and Hirsh can say, aha, "so they are inciting murder" or say "ok, no one takes the boycotters seriously" and bear the shame of agreeing with Hirsh.

Hirsh is an intellectual shadow of John Strawson (as in poor imitation not carbon copy) and Strawson has tried this incitement to murder tosh on Joseph Massad before now so there's an element of party line to this hysteria. Campaign against Israel's racist structure or the occupation in a meaningful way and you will be accused of inciting murder.

And of course no post by Dr Hirsh would be complete without a misrepresentation of what his targets have actually said. See this:
McCartney is not "effectively complicit" in "racial oppression". It is just rubbish. And it is also dangerous and irresponsible rubbish.
And what did the PACBI statement that led to Hirsh accusing them of responsibility in the event of McCartney being killed actually say?
Despite our denunciation of Paul McCartney's effective complicity in covering up Israel's occupation and system of racial oppression, ... PACBI strongly and unequivocally condemns any violent threats made against him or, for that matter, against any other cultural or academic figure who decides to visit Israel in violation of the Palestinian boycott of Israel.
Complicity in the covering up of racial oppression. And that is without getting into their strong and unequivocal condemnation of any violence against McCartney or anyone else who scabs on the boycott.

Oh no! I've looked at the comments and Ben White has queried Hirsh's use of quotation marks around the expression "collaborator with apartheid". In some ways I wish he hadn't have done that because now the Engage troll army is mobilised in making the word collaborator mean one who is complicit. But Hirsh was offering what clearly purported to be a quote. Curiouser still, the shadowy Shachtman (who I've always suspected of being a Hirsh sock puppet) has popped up with some copied and pasted letters from PACBI again running this line that people who entertain in Israel are participating in the covering up of Israel's oppressive state structure and behaviour, not collaborating with the oppression itself.

But Ben White's question has remained unanswered by either Hirsh or Shachtman. Here it is:
Is it possible to provide some examples where either Paul McCartney or others who PACBI have included in their boycott campaign have actually been called "collaborators with apartheid"?
Amid twenty-five comments (so far) accusing Ben of illiteracy (or something close) or obsessiveness he's forced to respond to his own question thus:
The thing is, when you use quotation marks, it's usually because you're quoting someone. However, as we've seen, the phrase "collaborator with apartheid" is a Hirsh interpretation. That is important, of course, because of the specific mileage Hirsh then tries to get out of the term 'collaborator'. So thanks 'Shachtman' (ahem) and Brian, but the impression of rather tenuous logic still lingers...But then Hirsh often seems to see what he'd like, rather than what's there, like the recent case of the vanishing 'solidarity' headline.
'Solidarity' headline, what 'solidarity' headline?

*What the Americans call a professor is called a lecturer in the UK. Professor in the UK is something more grand.

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