Thursday, May 22, 2014

  • Thursday, May 22, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
From Jonathan Marks at The Chronicle of Higher Education:

Need a break from grading? Head on over here, where someone has posted a partial record of Modern Language Association member comments on resolution 2014-1, urging the “United States Department of State to contest Israel’s denials of entry to the West Bank by United States academics who have been invited to teach, confer, or do research at Palestinian universities.” It is a spectacle. How often do you get to see scholarly colleagues refer to one another as “Zionist attack dogs?”
In January, the MLA’s Delegate Assembly narrowly passed the controversial resolution at the association’s annual meeting. In March, the Executive Council decided to send it to the full membership for a vote, which began on April 21 and will close on June 1. The debate over the resolution took place from mid-March to mid-April, at a site open only to MLA members. Only part of  it has been posted at the link above, but the rest I found this morning mysteriously lodged in the jaws of my Labrador retriever, to be known hereafter as my Zionist retrieving dog.
To some extent, there is normal debate over this closed message board. There are arguments for and against the resolution. But plenty of Israel haters reveal their antisemitism. To wit (I added the affiliations):

It is time that Zionists are asked to finally account for their support to the illegal occupation of Palestine since 1967. This resolution rightly targets only Israel given the humongous influence that Jewish scholars have in the decision making process of Academia in general.

Posted 20 Mar 4:11 pm by Alessio Lerro [Comparative literature, Rutgers]

Does anyone remember Edward Said, our beloved late leader? I think he must be turning in his grave to see how far we have regressed since his tenure! What is stiking [sic] here is not that that Resolution 2014-1 is eliciting debate. Rather, what stands out in bold relief is just how intolerant of debate are its detractors. As on the broader political scene, moves to seek justice and opportunity for Palestinians (or to remove obstacles to achieving those goals) are countered by Zionist attack dogs. When the Zionist lobby railroads its way through Congress, universities, and civil society no request is made for equal time for the other side. Only when a counter voice is raised in this tightly controlled wilderness, do the proponents of Israeli exceptionalismn [sic] cry foul. VOTE YES on this simple proposition seeking to facilitate academic freedom and inquiry in the Palestinian Occupied Territories.

Posted 22 Mar 5:16 pm by Elizabeth Jane Ordóñez [Spanish, Metropolitan University Denver]
Elizabeth Jane Ordóñez's dismissal of everyone who opposes this resolution as "Zionist attack dogs" is insulting, contemptible, and unacceptable.

Posted 22 Mar 6:46 pm by Peter C. Herman
"Zionist attack dogs" was probably used metaphorically. However, considering the undue and unfair pressures being exercised on universities by Zionist funders and lobby groups to quell any dissent or any objection to Israel's colonial activities, as well as Zionist academics using their past or present positions (as with Cory Nelson) to strangle resistant voices, not to mention Zionist politicians pushing the US into disastrous wars, the expression maybe [sic] severe but not far from the truth. I can understand that some Jews can be mild Zionists (not sure if the Christian variety in North America can be that mild), but Zionism is a harmful ideology that has caused tremendous damage to the minds of otherwise reasonable people as well as disrupted and unsettled the lives of millions of people it has dispossessed.

Posted 22 Mar 8:30 pm by Basem L. Ra'ad [professor emeritus at Al-Quds University]

Jonathan Marks makes an excellent point:
The anti-Semitic tropes in these statements are not subtle. But even if they were, I wonder why the academic left, which is usually so attuned to the subtlety of racism and sexism, puts up such a high bar for anti-Semitism. Suddenly “But I said Zionist, not Jew”; or “I’m a Jew, so I can’t possibly be in league with haters of Jews”; or “Yes, I’m focusing on the Jewish state and no other state, but so what?”; or “Sure, I’m echoing standard anti-Semitic tropes, but they’re really applicable here” are incontrovertible arguments, and it becomes bad form to suggest that anti-Semitism is at work unless someone is screaming anti-Semitic slogans.

(h/t Yair Rosenberg via @Geuzen1)

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