Monday, May 23, 2005
Socialist Worker pro-boycott
Dear Socialist Worker,
Hilary and Steven Rose's article is peppered through with half-truths and downright lies.
The campaign against the proposed boycott is not being led by zionists or those who oppose the palestinian struggle. The picture painted of Israeli universities being key to the oppression of the occupied territories is well wide of the mark.
Our website www.links-not-boycott.org.uk hosts a large amount of articles both for and against the boycott by socialists who support the palestinian struggle. Signaturies of our founding statement which opposes not only the occupation by Isreal but also the AUT boycott include noted Palestinian acedemics.
The boycott makes no sense politically or tactically. The logic of Steve Rose's position would make more sense if he were advocating a boycott of acedemic links with US and UK universities for their involvement in the Iraq war or Chinese Universities for there systematic harrasment of the states critics.
No right minded socialist wants to see the closing of debate between academics across the world particularly when many of the academics at Haifa are active in solidarity with the palestinian struggle. As socialists, readers of a socialist newspaper we are for greater debate, not less; we are for the greater exchange of ideas(which in the end are the only thing a University actually produces) of differing opinions not less. As socialists we judge ideas, theories, articles, dissertions on the basis of what they say, not who says them and certainly not on the basis that those ideas come from a country we don't approve of.
Within the palestinians struggle an acedemic boycott makes no sense. The only beneficiaries of the closing down of ideas and debate are the reactionaries whose hegemony enforces the status quo. To punish only Isreali acedemics for the actions of the state in which they live is to open ourselves up to accusations anti-semitism. We need more links with socialist in Isreal and Palestine not boycotts.
I urge all fellow Socialist Worker readers to sign our statement at www.links-not-boycott.org.uk: