Monday, June 18, 2007
As the Middle East Studies of North America Association points out, "the briefing report and findings
issued by the Commission may actually weaken efforts to combat anti-Semitism by expanding its definition to include an indefensibly broad range of legitimate speech and conduct". How does the definition of antisemitism, thus expanded, include legitimate speech and conduct? Well, how do you think? By blurring the distinction between criticism of Israel (or even US policy) and antisemitism. The Commission's findings include a serious of claims about the American academia being hideously one-sided and biased in favour of the Ay-rabs which, as MESA notes, is completely unsupported with any evidence. The commission conducted its inquiries in a one-sided polemical fashion, accepting insinuation and slander as fact. The result is that:
By adopting a vague and politicized definition of this insidious form of hate speech, the Commission increases the risk that attention and resources that are better directed toward combating real anti-Semitism will instead be diverted to politically-motivated efforts to censor unpopular or controversial views expressed by university faculty.
Now, as the Heathlander notes, there is growing attention to the fact that many of the supporters of a boycott against Israeli institutions are in fact Jewish. Perhaps we will hear that this too is antisemitic, and that, in the ultimate of ironies, a cabal of antisemitic Jews conspires against Israel. Don't rule it out. As Ernie Halfdram points out, Israel is mistreating an awful lot of Jews these days. And, as he also relates, Alan Dershowitz is working hard to discipline the ones who don't live in Israel. And of course Israel is working very hard to overturn the UCU's support of a boycott, while Histradut has sent a letter to Unison demanding that 'cancel' a boycott motion. It has been said before, and it needs saying again: it is about time we had free speech for Jews.
On a related note, Finkelstein has had an interesting experience with Memri.