Sunday, February 13, 2011

I have been active in opposing the BDS campaign against Israel. I consider the campaign to represent new heights in hypocrisy and hatred. Below is a letter I wrote to the Secretary-General of Britain’s Universities and Colleges’ Union after the Union voted to boycott Israel a few years ago. Thanks to the Internet, the letter went around the world and received favorable comments from many quarters. Not surprisingly, the Union did not grant my request. People who hate are not usually imbued with a sense of consistency and honor.

Dear Ms. Hunt:

I am writing to request the names of the 158 members of the British University and College Union who voted to adopt a policy supporting a boycott of Israeli academic institutions, as well as calling for a moratorium on EU funding for Israeli research. I am also requesting that you provide all information you have about each member's university affiliations, grant providers, publishers, journal affiliations, and any related information.

I need this information to start an international boycott of these members. I hope to encourage a cessation of research conducted with them, grants to them, publication of their articles, speaking engagements, etc. I believe a boycott is appropriate and that the Union should provide this information for the following reasons.

1. The action of the 158 members is anti-Semitic and immoral. Israel is a democratic state that respects minorities and has a free press and an independent judiciary. While not perfect, it does its best to protect human rights while defending its citizens. Despite this, the 158 members voted to boycott Israel. They have not chosen to use that tactic against oppressive, racist, sexist, dictatorial regimes such as Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, North Korea, and the like. I can think of no other reason why they would employ the boycott, which was one of the first tools used by Nazi Germany against the Jews, when it comes to the only Jewish-majority country on earth other than because they are Jew-haters. Moreover, even if Israel deserved to be boycotted, which it does not, they have chosen to use the weapon against all of Israeli academia, most of which is Jewish, regardless of their position on Israeli policies and regardless of whether they have any role in Israel's decision-making. Thus, they are holding Jews collectively guilty and imposing collective punishment, just as the Nazis did. This is immoral.

2. The members who voted for boycotting their academic colleagues are violating every tenant of academia, which puts an emphasis on open and free exchange of ideas and information. Consistent with the transparency that characterizes academia, the 158 should have no problem with the Union providing their names and affiliations.

3. The members who took this outrageous step should be quite willing to be held accountable for their action. They should be willing to be judged by the public and to live with any consequences. Obviously, if they believe the boycott is a useful tool to be used against those who are citizens of a country with which they disagree, they should have no problem with people who find their actions disagreeable using it against them. I should point out that, unlike the 158 members who voted for the policy, I only want to boycott those who specifically demonstrated their position, not everyone that may be associated with them. However, if for some reason the Union does not provide the names and related information, I will be forced to advocate a boycott of the entire Union membership. I do not think the 158 members would have an objection to a boycott hurting those who did not vote for the action because they apparently have no problem with associated guilt and collective punishment. Likewise, if you do not provide the names of the 158 so they can be specifically boycotted, I will assume you have no problem with holding all Union membership responsible.

I look forward to receiving this information from you very soon. I am anxious to get started on my boycott of the 158 members. I know that there are many others who share my desire to use the 158 members' endorsed tactic to express their opposition to a boycott of Israeli academics. I hope to get this information out to them as soon as possible.

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