Sunday, June 3, 2007

Boycotting Israel as "moral masturbation"

From Haaretz:
Just for the sake of argument, let's suppose that you're a British academic. You believe strongly that the occupation must end, that the Palestinians should have an independent state, that Israel's military and diplomatic policies are wrongheaded to the point of immorality.

What to do? Simple. Find the one group within Israeli society which has consistently, vigorously and courageously campaigned against the occupation since its inception.

Then attack them....

Choose your victim with care. Select the one group in Israel which has taken substantive physical, professional, legal and personal risks, which has defied the spirit of Israeli nationalism and the letter of Israeli law, in order to seek out Palestinians to search for equitable solutions.

Select the one group which has, from the very beginning, spoken out eloquently for the rights of the Palestinians to self-determination, to freedom from Israeli domination, to freedom from disproportionate and often indiscriminate use of force, to freedom from social injustice.

Then denounce them.

Decide that your moral vision fully empowers you to declare Israeli professors and other university and college faculty to be unworthy of practicing their calling. All of them.

That is, perhaps, the real beauty of the British campaign to declare a quarantine over Israeli academics.

You really must envy the U.K. far-left for its blindness. Its consummate inability to see more than one side, which is to say, its demonstrated refusal to see Jews as fellow human beings...

Perhaps this is why the whole boycott campaign smacks of a uniquely far-left British brand of moral masturbation, a desperate, delusional, sterile, supremely self-contained form of non-activism that risks nothing even as it changes nothing.

There must be some reason why no one in this world does condescension better than the British far-left. There must be some reason why the British far-left manages to satisfy itself with a uniquely public, uniquely self-congratulatory form of ideological self-abuse.

Leftists abroad would do well to respect their Israeli counterparts for defying societal norms to work for the rights of people with whom their nation is at war. Perhaps the Israeli left deserves respect, as well, for having to do this while enduring the racist abuse of leftists abroad.

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