Friday, June 15, 2007

Israel only became illegal when it did not go away.

The title is from a long piece by Howard Jacobsen in The Independent (of all unlikely places) about the UK academic boycott of Israel and Israelis (h/t The Augean Stables).

Some highlights:
To rub it in - and this would be childish were it not villainous - the UCU resolution includes proposals to "organise a UK-wide campus tour for Palestinian academics/educational trade unionists". In other words, we will hear them, we will not hear you. Anyone familiar with the emotional politics of the campus will be able to imagine the rapturous applause awaiting these Palestinian educational trade unionists - given free rein to vent their grievances while the other side of the argument is gagged;

(about the Six Day War):
It is probably futile to imagine what would have happened had victory gone the other way. But it is not unreasonable to suppose that had the Arab countries won decisively Israel would not exist. Annihilation has, after all, been (as it continues to be) the declared aim of most of the states and organisations that surround it;

about a boycott were the shoe on the other foot:

Whether the enlightened Universities of Birmingham and Brighton would have enforced an academic boycott of these conquering Arab countries, we can only guess. But since there are many Arab countries, in actual as opposed to imaginary existence, whose practices one might think deserving of a boycott but who have so far escaped one, I think we have to guess not;

about Israel's behaviour:
In the present climate, however, it is almost impossible to make the case that some of Israel's most detested actions (I do not say all) are themselves responses to provocations. At a certain stage the pieces are pushed from the table. Israel can make no legitimate response to a provocation because Israel is not itself legitimate.

about `rights of audience' for Israeli academics:
An Israeli scholar dare not be in even the most partial agreement with his government. For an Israeli academic not to think exactly as they think on the campuses of Birmingham and Brighton is to be guilty of a crime for which the punishment is expulsion from the international community of thought.

It is the last of these which makes me most ashamed as an academic and scholar. Unfortunately, I am unable to resign from the UCU as I have never been a member.

1 comment:

Yorkshireminer said...

Maths is the only science that if there was no progress in maths there would simply be no progress, without Newtons calculus there would effectively be no scientific research or technological research. If you can't measure it and manipulate it using abstract symbols you can't really understand it. Faradday's great work can only be really understood using Maxwell Clerks equations. These PC baboons running the British educational system don't even begin to get it. I think that the real problem with the educationalists today that they can't accept the simple concept that you can only educate a person to the limit of his abilities and NO FURTHER. These idiots think you can but you will never make a rocket scientist out of a mongol. The problem is that we have been filling our schools with the children of third world immigrants who have an average IQ 10 points lower than the average European. This drags down standards and the pass rate falls. They see this as a failure of the educational system and not as a lack of inmate ability in the students. The first thing that they do is lower standards to bring the pass mark up to make them look good. When that begins to fail they start to fudge the facts, well not fudge the facts exactly put more emphasis on opinions. You can always give higher marks for an opinion than you can if the facts are wrong. Canker may I humble suggest that you check out this link, as a mathematician I am sure you will enjoy it when you get to the page click on the link LA GRIFFE DU LEON when you have enjoyed yourself which I am certain you will click to his home page and enjoy his columns Let me know what you think. By the way it is nice to see you blogging again I presume you have been having to do a lot of marking lately.

Deep Regards

Yorkshire Miner