In one paragraph he (without naming anyone) refers to those who might prefer seeing Jews in concentration camps rather than their own country. In one sentence he manages to bring up that spectre of the Holocaust, and then expects us to take for granted the ridiculous notion that a religious group should have its own country (I don't believe Saudi Arabia should be a Muslim only state). Mr Jacobsons article argues that the entire boycott is unjustified, immoral and done out of some sense of spite people have with Israel (nobody mention anti-semitism!). True, Israel's perception may have changed in the West, but Mr Jacobson attributes that to some bizarre change in peoples attitudes, rather than the fact that more information about Israel's formation and subsequent actions with its neighbours may have played a role in this.
Friday, June 08, 2007
The campaign to boycott Israeli universities and academia is rapidly gaining steam here in the UK and it is interesting to see the responses of those who support the occupation of Palestine. Howard Jacobson has written a lengthy diatribe of sorts equating (indirectly) and as always, those who oppose Israel with anti-semitism. Of course he doesn't allow you to realise that because quite clearly he "is tired" of trying to work out who is anti-semitic. Besides, he tells us, there are plenty of other crimes one could be guilty of. Crimes, one could argue, which can be just as equally useful to tag people with should they believe that they are allowed to criticise Israel.
Another interesting aspect of his article is his measly attempt to pre-empt any criticisms about Israel, or even his article, by going through an impressive range of these criticisms, dismissing and trivialising them to petty and malicious babble and debate. Unfortunately for Jacobson, this neither lessens from the force of these arguments, nor is he able to disprove them directly. Rather than engaging, he attempts to deconstruct and marginalise these accusations.
Finally, he brings up the bogeyman of the Holocaust (did I say nobody should mention anti-semitism), and deftly equates the Arabs fighting to regain their land with the Nazi's and their attempted extermination of the Jews. Jacobson seems to want everybody to think that the end of Israel means the end of world Jewry which is not the case. Should anybody say that actually, the Arabs and the Jews have never had problems coexisting historically, again, the brilliant Jacobson thinks he has pulled off a coup by recycling and regurgitating tired arguments from right wing anti-Islamic thinktanks such as Jihad Watch and Daniel Pipes that these medieval Jews in Islamic lands were "second class citizens" and merely tolerated. He deliberately confuses contemporary understandings of citizenship and politics with historical periods in a way which is completely out of context. He "sincerely" hopes that the Wall the Israeli's are building, allegedly to keep Palestinian suicide bombers out isn't there in the future, but one wonders whether it is not the Arabs and Muslims which he wishes are not there? Again, he works on the assumption that the end of Israel must equate to some horrific 21st century Holocaust.
In a sham attempt to present himself as concerned with just and peaceful solutions, Jacobson, while trying to torpedo the boycott, is aiming to shift the entire nature of the debate again away from Israel and to the boycott itself, presenting it as devoid of legitimate motives and actual grievances. Thank you Mr Jacobson, but no thank you. I sincerely hope the boycott goes through, in addition, I hope to see the Zionist state dismantled in the future. I am neither anti-semitic, nor am I hiding anything in my other hand.