It has been heartwarming to read the warm responses to Rabbi Waxman’s post asking Beliefnet to reconsider its decision to cancel Virtual Talmud. Virtual Talmud offered an alternative model for internet communications: civil discourse pursued in postings over a time frame of days (rather than moments) predicated upon the belief in the value of and […]
Two weeks ago, the British University and College Union (UCU), the union of university academics, passed an absurd and deeply offensive resolution calling on all union members to “consider the moral implications of existing and proposed links with Israeli academic institutions.” In plain English, the UCU is encouraging its members to agree to a boycott of Israeli academia–to cut ties with any Israel-based professors, conferences, journals, or institutions. This preposterous move presents itself in response to Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.
And they’re right. What makes this campaign so outrageous and dangerous is that it punishes Israel’s actions, which are relatively minor, even as it stays silent about flagrant human rights abuses and genocide in countries like China and Darfur. The UCU is completely silent when it comes to these countries and maintains relationships with human rights abusers around the world, including with Serbia during the height of the genocide. And what’s worse is that the UCU is not alone in this hypocritical effort to single out Israel. The Presbyterian Church recently voted to divest from Israel; the National Synod of the United Church of Christ has a similar resolution for Israeli divestment on the table for their coming meeting, while the question of divestment from Sudan isn’t even on the agenda. In other words, it’s clear that Israel is being singled out for isolation, even as organizations carry on business as usual with far worse offenders. The truth of the matter is that the UCU boycott will do nothing to help the Palestinian cause; it isn’t pro-Palestinian, it’s just anti-Israeli. The true aim of the UCU isn’t to change Israeli policy or help Palestinians. Its purpose is to delegtimize Israel and turn it into a pariah state. That is why it is so insidious and that is why it must be opposed.