Thursday, March 06, 2014

BDS supporters like Judith Butler have signed a petition "condemning censorship."

Really.

This open letter from Butler and Rashid Khalidi - which Haaretz published in full even though it is an online petition with a mere 150 signatures - contains the most hypocritical passages one is ever likely to see:

Whether one is for or against Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) as a means to change the current situation in Palestine-Israel, it is important to recognize that boycotts are internationally affirmed and constitutionally protected forms of political expression. As non-violent instruments to effect political change, boycotts cannot be outlawed without trampling on a constitutionally protected right to political speech. Those who support boycotts ought not to become subject to retaliation, surveillance, or censorship when they choose to express their political viewpoint, no matter how offensive that may be to those who disagree.

We are now witnessing accelerating efforts to curtail speech, to exercise censorship, and to carry out retaliatory action against individuals on the basis of their political views or associations, notably support for BDS. We ask cultural and educational institutions to have the courage and the principle to stand for, and safeguard, the very principles of free expression and the free exchange of ideas that make those institutions possible. This means refusing to accede to bullying, intimidation, and threats aimed at silencing speakers because of their actual or perceived political views. It also means refusing to impose a political litmus test on speakers and artists when they are invited to speak or show their work. We ask that educational and cultural institutions recommit themselves to upholding principles of open debate, and to remain venues for staging expressions of an array of views, including controversial ones. Only by refusing to become vehicles for censorship and slander, and rejecting blacklisting, intimidation, and discrimination against certain viewpoints, can these institutions live up to their purpose as centers of learning and culture.

People who openly advocate curtailing the free speech of Israeli academics - no matter how dovish; people deny the right of Israelis to speak or perform in any venue worldwide; people who threaten artists who want to freely perform in Israel;  people who intimidate and attack audiences who want to go to Israeli cultural events; people whose very existence depends on censoring Israelis are claiming to be victims of "censorship." People who support shouting down pro-Israel speakers on campus, who interrupt performances by artists who happen to have been born in Israel, who insult and intimidate people who attempt to attend lectures and concerts - are whining about supposed limits to their free speech!

These "academics" don't even know what free speech means. Private institutions choosing not to allow specific people to speak is not an attack on free speech as long as they can find other venues.

Oh, and one of the signatories is Lisa Duggan, the ASA president-elect who creates academic conferences where pro-Israel voices are denied the ability to speak or even attend.

Hypocrisy doesn't even begin to describe this.

(h/t JW)



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