April 04, 2015

Israel advocate sums up Zionist disarray over cancelled Southampton Uni conference

Since Israel advocacy site, Engage, registered the first signs of Zionist disarray over the University of Southampton academic conference, International Law and the State of Israel: Legitimacy, Responsibility and Exceptionalism by posting two comments in one post arguing against demanding the conference be cancelled, the conference has been cancelled.

Obviously the disarray among Zionists was already apparent when many of them believed that the conference wouldn't actually be cancelled.  Ignoring Zionist demands and proceeding with the conference would have been a huge embarrassment for all who argued for cancellation.  Zionists arguing against cancellation would at least have been on the winning side.  But it was not to be and now there are Zionists contacting the university urging them to reverse their decision.  Again, see Engage, here and here.

But the post which sums up most eloquently the cleft stick in which the Zionists find themselves is one by Engage founder and BICOM advisory editor, David Hirsh.  Titled, Thoughts on the Southampton Conference, it's here in full with notes by me:
The fact that the Southampton conference is organised by somebody who has actively come to the defence of an open antisemite is not the point. [Actually if Zionists hadn't been so over-enthusiastic about cancelling the conference because of its subject, they might well have scored points by highlighting the thoroughly repugnant views expressed by one of the four conference organisers] The fact that it de-legitimizes Israel and only Israel is not the point. [This shows Dr Hirsh and indeed many Zionists' awareness that there is no case for Israel. In spite of the fact that Zionists were to be in attendance putting a case for Israel, Hirsh et al have assumed that the conference has jumped to what seems to be their own conclusion] The point is that the narrative of unique Israeli evil and criminality educates antiracists into an antisemitic worldview.[Again Hirsh seems to be making, indeed spinning, an assumption about the conclusion.  Does he know that there would be no comparative work presented to the conference?  And why resort to the word, "evil"?  Calm down, Doctor]
The fact that this antisemitic worldview is not recognised as such by most ‘decent’ people is one of the things that makes it especially dangerous; another is that it operates partly on an emotional and unconscious level and so is less vulnerable to rational debate than might be hoped. [I think he means, correctly, that Israel cannot pass objective tests deploying consistent standards and reasonableness] The antizionists love it when people of ‘opposite’ views engage them in debate because it legitimizes their questions, it positions them as the radical side of a discussion; to posit debate as an alternative to ‘banning’ is not proving an effective way of responding. The antizionists love to debate, they suck strength out of it.[This is downright crazy language without getting into the sheer presumptuousness of asserting what "antizionists love". And shouldn't anti-Zionist have a hyphen?  Not if you want to make out that antizionism is a freestanding ideology arising independently of Zionism itself which I think is the idea] Everybody sympathises with those who are defeated in debate by the ‘clever Jews’. [Win-win.  There are clever and not so clever Jews on all sides of most debates]
Ban the conference, especially on the spurious grounds of ‘security’, and it will be held elsewhere, the participants will declare their own courage and oppression, and people will be attracted to the conference which the power of the ‘Israel Lobby’ cancelled by fiat.[So no-one would have attended the conference at the original time and place?]
Don’t ban the conference and the daily work of normalizing the feeling that the Jews are behind everything bad in the world progresses as usual; [a reminder of the conference title which is International Law and the State of Israel: Legitimacy, Responsibility and Exceptionalism, not how Jews are behind everything bad in the world] ,  it happens in pseudo-academic pseudo-egaltiarian language and seduces many directly, but it also sets the framework of what is considered respectable and legitimate.[actually discussing where a state sits with regard to international law was already considered respectable and legitimate.]
The toxic notions pushed by this conference seem, at the moment, to be impermeable both to debate and to coercion. This is a measure of the scale of the problem.[Ban the conference and Israel loses, allow it to proceed even with Israel advocates participating and Israel still loses]
 By highlighting the lose-lose situation that Zionists find themselves in, Hirsh has not identified the "scale of the problem" but the nature of the problem: there is no case for Israel.


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