Monday 14 July 2008

When academics stray

Posted on A Liberal Defence of Israel blog

"Every year an assembly of British academics gathers to pass a motion condemning Israel and attempting to introduce a boycott against academics, universities, and colleges in Israel. It never goes off the agenda, not even after last year's fiasco when the Universities and Colleges Union (UCU) passed a boycott motion only to be told by their national executive that it would be illegal to implement it. Nothing daunted, they have come back this year with another variation on a tired but increasingly racist theme. (...)

When academics find it hard to condemn terrorism as terrorism, praise hatred and call it legitimate political expression, and single out for vituperation the only democracy in the Middle East, it's a sure sign they aren't thinking straight. Surely this is the irony of these boycotts, that they should be spearheaded by academics of all people. Academics are supposed to have been taught how to use their minds. A great many do. But a host of left-wing post-structuralists and post-colonialists, who have been taught how not to think by thinkers who love obscurity, have forged ahead to be the standard-bearers of a new ignorance. The hatefulness of radical Islam doesn't faze them in the least. Just as Ken Livingstone was able to give the finger to his gay, feminist, and Jewish allies when he decided to embrace the notorious anti-Zionist, anti-gay, and anti-feminist Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, so these hardcore illiberals abandon all pretence to morality and progress. They admire a group like Hamas that would eat them alive if it got the chance. They defend Iran, a country that bans some religious minorities from its universities and calls it freedom. They condemn Israeli actions without once citing the context within which those actions take place. But what do facts matter? They make their minds up, despise open debate, and clamour to break the law against discrimination."

Read the full article here

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