What's this blog about?

As a result of a combination of factors, culminating in the shameful UCU boycott-in-waiting of Israel, I've grown alienated & silenced, working here in one of the UK's finest universities all the while feeling like a Boycotted British Academic, alone in facing some dilemmas of the moment. In this generally chilling environment, it's hard to speak out and be heard, and hear others...and I find myself writing this blog.

What's it about? At present, it seems to me like a rather tortured articulation of the state of being silenced & mute, beyond words; struggling for the right even to use them, for a voice which can still be heard. When it started, all those successive boycott motions ago, I'd hoped it would function as a blog forum of support & solidarity amongst academics similarly-situated to BBA, to help us break through the boycott movement's silencing strategies. That hope remains notwithstanding this silence... Perhaps it lives in trying to articulate beyond the filter of these coping mechanisms of old (denial, avoidance, withdrawal); by way of this labour of finding the words, this voice...
[A forum of sorts has also arisen in the blog's comments, in which others have adopted the BBA moniker in case of need (e.g.
and here exposing the racist hate speech which masquerades as UCU solidarity activism).]

Saturday, 8 March 2008

The Story of the Backfiring Boycott

This blog is meant to give an account of the damaging results & effects of this bonkers boycott, as they have been written onto BBA's life - thus far, an account which can only really be read or perceived between the lines, I'm afraid, since I still don't seem to have found a way of giving expression to all this ...yet! Mostly, I tend to give up on the draft posts, ever burgeoning in number, as it all feels too challenging and depressing to voice; or the process of articulating it, too counterproductive, destructive even, in terms of my ability to proceed in this course I seem to be on, here in Boycotting Britannia - here, as BBA - a course which appears to require, I now realize, more denial than I seem capable of engendering anymore.

Today's post, however, is one of those which is easier to write, since it concerns a positive unintended consequence. Just as UCU was falling foul of our anti-discrimination laws and harming British academia on so many levels, it seems that some good was being brought about as a result of this farcical fiasco, after all:

As a result of the UCU boycott vote in May, requests from UK academics to work with Israeli academics have dramatically increased.
[hat tip: Solomonia]

This was obviously on the cards, given events previously observed in this blog (in the update to this post; see also Engage's coverage). Back in late October of last year, soon after the official boycott campaign (UCU Motion 30) was finally recognized by UCU as the racist and discriminatory campaign that it is, the press reported some damage-limitation on the part of British academia. Remember how, in

an effort to promote cooperation between Israel and the UK Universities, in the light of the defunct academic boycott, a delegation of senior British university heads visited Israel

Well, as this latest analysis suggests, it seems the visit's aims have now been answered, whether in result of research networks established during this trip; or otherwise - the boycott having caused individual academics to take their own initiative to counteract the damaging effects of the boycott campaign. Note that academic cooperation between Israel and the UK was described, even back then, as being very strong already, with a "high level collaboration" between these two sets of national academies. How perverse, yet somehow heartening, to think that the one concrete result of this bonkers boycott is the very opposite of what was intended: effectively to increase & strengthen precisely those ties the boycotters were seeking so belligerently to break through their damaging campaign.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The UCU is on to this tought: http://www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/article.php?id=1768

I am curious though--do you know if there have been any studies done to determine whether British Jews (with typical Jewish names and either no or wrong opinions on the Israel-Palestinian conflict) are having a harder time getting their stuff published in the UK; getting invited to conferences in the UK; getting tenure (I forget the British term--sorry!); etc.?

In other words, is the anti-Israel boycott movement having a "spill-over effect" in terms of discrimination against British Jewish academics?