Thursday, April 21, 2016

Anthropology On The Down Escalator

Targeting the Israeli Academy: Will Anthropologists Have the Courage to Just Say “No”?

If the proposal to shun and stigmatize Israeli academic institutions becomes official policy they, like the Jews of Germany in the 1930s, will not feel at home in their own society. Some will resign from the AAA, pack up and leave. Some already have. Others will just resign themselves to melancholy reflection on the late great discipline of cultural anthropology, recalling how their profession first gave up on positive science and then exchanged its humanistic soul for the soft porn of partisan identity politics.

The pro-boycott activists are galvanized. They have the courage of their conviction that Israel is a neo-colonial apartheid regime and its academic institutions complicit in the activities of the State. They view anthropology as a platform for political engagement and postcolonial social critique. They argue that Israel is a predacious Goliath undeserving of international support. They are energized by the prospect of receiving a corporate branding and seal of approval for their political judgments from a large academic association. Faced with the reality of Israeli scholars who are members of the AAA, boycott supporters sustain their sense of moral purpose by trying to convince others (and themselves) that their resolution merely discriminates against Israeli academic institutions but will not target individuals. They feel good, even righteous, about the many petty but highly provocative prohibitions in the boycott resolution, for example, the injunction against “granting permission to copy and reprint articles from AAA publications to journals and publications based at Israeli institutions.” There are no tears in their eyes when they advocate a censor’s restriction on the free flow of ideas as just collective punishment.

Those opposing the boycott resolution have the courage of a different set of convictions. They view the call to avoid contact with Israeli academic institutions as an outrageous violation of academic freedom norms, including the principle that participation in the world-wide academy is open to all regardless of nationality, race or creed. They believe the voting process itself is corrosive of academic values, that a professional scholarly association does not need a foreign policy for the Holy Land or anywhere else and should be committed to free thought and disciplined inquiry, not collective political action. When it comes to contestable political and social issues they do not cede authority to the AAA to make corporate declarations about what is right-minded and true. They prefer to speak for themselves, especially since the AAA is not a homogeneous political bloc. It is a disputatious community of scholars who differ in their causal analyses, assignments of blame, and proposed solutions to any political conflict. Collective political branding is viewed by many boycott opponents as an act of institutional violence committed against the intellectual autonomy of those members of the guild who disagree with the proposed party line. They believe that institutional neutrality on hot button social and political issues enables free thought.
The charge of apartheid against Israel is laughable, especially considering both Israel's multicutural democracy, and considering the elitist attempt to exclude Israel from their own "scholarly" enterprise. It would seem that actual Anthropologists would be aware of the reality of the Palestinian promise to wipe Israel off the map and to claim all the region under Islamic Palestine. Given that they cannot understand even that most basic issue, then it is the BDS Leftist faux anthropologists who should be run out of the organization. Hopefully, that is what will happen.


Hunter said...

I don't like political correctness so I'm going to get real un-pc on this one.
The scholars from Israel aren't responsible for Israel's monstrous actions so I don't know how I feel about this. And I'd never defend *every* action of the Palestinians.
But if the UN gave my country to other people, I sure won't be sitting one the side smiling happily. Fuck the UN.
I don't know why you thing the apartheid analogy is laughable. Hell, the author of South Africa's apartheid policies described Israel as an apartheid state. Hafrada seems like an expansion of apartheid. The south Africians didn't have the technology to have whites-only roads... but the Israelis...

And as if the Israelis haven't threatened to wipe out other countries! Or hold racist attitudes - remember "One million Arabs are not worth one Jewish Fingernail"! The Israel "mows the grass" and destroys towns. Israel's teenage soldiers gun down people "because they are bored". And then we send them billions of dollars.
And political correctness stops people from examining the situation.
So yeah, un-pc rant over.

Stan said...

I did not remember the massacre. According to Wikipedia, the Israeli Government took severe action against the movement that caused it, and then against the Palestinian rioters who followed it.

"Mowing the grass" referred to the occasional strikes on Palestinian arsenals which are stockpiled by Iran, and also feed the random rocket attacks on Israel from within Palestine. Because the Palestinian vermin hide their stockpiles behind civilians, schools, hospitals, etc., despite the Israeli pre-warnings of attack, civilians got killed. Hamas killed their own civilians from time to time.

The Israeli campaign in 2014 is the one you refer to in the "bored" statement. The Israeli intent was to clear a protective zone at the border, to prevent rocket attacks and tunnel attacks on Israel from that region. That campaign was designed with the roof-knock and leaflet drop to clear the areas under attack of civilians. But some people stuck around and became identified as combatants. Anyone using a cell phone was designated a combatant passing information. People who remained in the area were presumed to be combatants, since the population had been warned, and in fact the area was cleared of most civilians. Palestinians were popping out of tunnels in order to attack the Israeli forces. Some Israeli soldiers did fire at distant civilians out of "boredom", it appears. Israel was accused and cleared of genocide, but the accusation of "incitement to genocide" stuck.

Stan said...

Palestinian areas containing terrorist threats within Israel are isolated from their neighboring Israelis. This is not the case for all Arabs or Muslims in the Israeli community, and there are many free Arab-Israelis (21% of the population) who vote, go to Arab language schools (Arabic is an official language in Israel), and hold office in the Knesset.

"While there is no institutional segregation, Jews and Arabs have chosen to live separately in all but a handful of cities. Israelis all recognize that Arab villages have historically received less funding than Jewish areas and this has affected the quality of Arab schools, infrastructure and social services. Arabs are also underrepresented in higher education and most industries.

Israeli Jews and Arabs have surprisingly little contact with each other. Most young people study at different elementary and secondary schools and may not come into contact with one another until college; by then, many preconceived opinions have been formed. This lack of interaction exacerbates tensions between the two communities.

Israeli Arabs also face their own conflicts as Palestinians in a Jewish state. While identifying with the Palestinian people and disputing Israel's identification as a Jewish state, they see their future tied to Israel. They have adopted Hebrew as a second language and Israeli culture as an extra layer in their lives. At the same time, they strive to attain a higher degree of participation in national life, greater integration into the economy and more benefits for their own towns and villages.

Although Israeli Arabs have occasionally been involved in terrorist activities, they have generally behaved as loyal citizens. During Israel’s wars, none engaged in acts of sabotage or disloyalty. In some instances, Arabs volunteered to take over civilian functions for reservists.

There are twenty employment centres established around Israel to help the Arab, Druze, and Circassian minorities find employment and receive assistance. According to the Israeli Ministry of the Economy statistics for 2015, 8,000 new Arab, Druze, and Circassian participants sought help or assistance from these employment centres. In total these centres have helped 13,600 members of Israeli minority groups find employment, and have provided assistance for more than 24,000 individuals. Approximately 68% of candidates who have come into the employment centres since they were established in 2012 have found jobs. "

Before the 1948 creation of the state of Israel, the entire area was under the British, not the possession of the Palestinians. The area was multi-culti but the surrounding Islamic countries went ballistic and attacked the new state immediately. The indigenous Muslims were told by the attackers that the Israelis would kill them so a great many - not all - of them immigrated to Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, etc. But Israel did not massacre the native Palestinians who remained. I think that they did refuse to repatriate those who immigrated, possibly to keep from taking in insurgents from their attackers.

I think that quoting the names of Israeli operations and some of their soldiers atrocities without including the perspective of the context is prejudicial. Hamas is in a perpetual war with Israel; Hudna is not truce, it is breathing room for re-arming for future attacks. Hamas attacks its own people, as well, and does so with impunity. Meanwhile Hamas educates the hatred into Palestinian children, making them into child-terrorists. The Hamas-driven Palestinians are a nightmare neighbor; even Fatah would not be that much better.