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).]

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Backfiring Boycott - Deadline for Submissions!!

As this blog has previously noted, the boycott has actually rather perversely caused or at least encouraged the absolute opposite of what was intended, namely a strengthening of ties between British and Israeli universities.

And the story goes on, the pattern continues... BBA's inbox is periodically augmented by messages 'helpfully' reminding me that I'm meant to be submitting research proposals (lest I'd forget?), a list which often festers until I have time - indeed even energy or the very will, given conditions by the swamp - to trawl through links to the various funding schemes presently inviting applications from academics. The last instalment includes a link to the Britain-Israel Research and Academic Exchange Partnership, a funding scheme to support collaborative work between Israeli and British academics which the boycott movement's nefarious activities quite directly, rather marvelously, brought about.

Unfortunately, time is short, in case any eligible readers of this blog might be interested in applying - the deadline is: 2nd March 22:00 GMT. The details are here.

Just think, in addition to the chance of doing research with leading academics based in Israel,** such an application could well have the added bonus of driving the boycotters just that little bit more bonkers!

** and, of course, the boycott - and, more particularly, much of the anti-boycott riposte it has so vexatiously necessitated (e.g.) - merely serves to remind us just how many Israeli academics meet this highest of standards (as we, meanwhile, seem to have distinguished ourselves, above all, for our barmy boycott brigade and the devastatingly depressing way in which we, British academics, have allowed them to cause such a load of old bonkers in Dear Old Blighty!)


andy said...

thanks for the link, i'll check it out!


Boycotted British Academic said...

Hi Andy

Good to 'hear' from you again. I hope you managed to put in an application even though time was so short -- and good luck with that, it would be great news!

Thanks for your support and be well,

Yehudit said...

Nothing to say about the military assault on Gaza? How exactly should Palestinians struggle to liberate themselves from the Israeli control of their lives and deaths? If not by international pressure, boycott, divestment, sanctions - then what action do you think will do the trick. Because it has been more than 40 years of occupation, and the party with the power - and hence the ability and responsibility to bring about justice - is no closer to doing so.

Obviously, if the environment for you feels toxic, imagine how it must feel to someone who lives in a land recently bombed by white phospherus and dime weapons. What alternative to boycott would you suggest?

If it is civil disobedience of the sort advocated by Ghandi and MLK, then I hope you will visit the occupied territories soon as an international observer and see the response to demonstrations in Bi'lin.

The Contentious Centrist said...

"How exactly should Palestinians struggle to liberate themselves from the Israeli control of their lives and deaths?"

All they need to do is to stop teaching their children that killing Israelis (or Jews) is the highest value in their life, stop planning to kill as many Israelis (or Jews) as they can, stop killing Israelis (or Jews). That's all they need to do, and everything good will follow from then on. How hard can it be? There is no need for "struggle" if Palestinians were only interested in ending 40 years of occupation. Can you state here, in good faith, that ending the 40-year occupation is all that Palestinians are aspiring to? If that were true, how come they rejected Oslo and opted for terrorism instead? How come they rejected Barak's offers? Clinton's offer? How about Olmert's offer, as recent as just a couple of months ago?


"I met Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem. He recounts, not without amusement, the choreography of harried mediators in a rush. He related Mubarak’s double game; the international community will have to eventually force him to seal Egypt’s Gaza borders to Bedouin smugglers. This is when his tone changes. And, lowering his voice as though speaking confidentially, he tries to tell me about Abu Mazen’s last visit, just three weeks ago, where he was in this office, sitting in the very chair I was occupying.

" I made him an offer. 94,5% of the West Bank. Another 4,5% made up from territoriy within Israel proper. A tunnel, under Palestinian control, connecting the West Bank and Gaza, making up for the remaining 1% . As for Jerusalem, a logical and simple solution: Arab quarter will go to him; Jewish quarter will go to us. The Holy Sites will be placed under a joint administration comprised of Saudi, Jordanian, Israeli, Palestinian, and American representatives. Abu Mazen asked for a map, on which I would draw out the perimeters of my proposal. I did not, because I know him, and I know how it would be: the next time we meet, the proposal I’d drawn out would be taken as a starting point for further negotiations. Well, then… the offer is there… I am waiting ". Too good to be true? Is it possible that we have managed to sidestep, so recently, another opportunity to make peace?"


One gets heartily sick of this deliberate deception propagated by the likes of Yehudit, either out of naivete, or idealism or just a wish to undo the state of Israel by "humanitarian" means.

Boycotted British Academic said...

Thanks Noga... I was building up energy to respond to Yehudit - to borrow from you, I am heartily sick of the argument Yehudit wants to get into - it's all around me, all the time (see 'Room with a View' post, Yehudit) - so it took me a while and, in the meantime, you came to relieve me. Thanks for your support!

I was going to thank Yehudit for at least appearing to acknowledge the toxicity, even if only momentarily, immediately then to justify it. I thank her for seeming at least to notice and recognize the damage all this does - most of those who want to argue with me in this vein don't even do this. Actually, they immediately dismiss this as ziocon conspiracy, holocaust lunacy - take your pick of silencing strategies.

For Yehudit, it seems justified as insignificant collateral damage. She asks what else? As if to say this cost is justified because there is nothing else to do.

Yehudit, you answer your questions yourself in your blog. Your New Year post involving your synagogue - in 2006, I think. A boycott is entirely antithetical to what you were saying then and you make the arguments I'd make in response to you, had I the energy, for me - please remember your own words, now apparently forgotten, as you justify adding to the suffering.

Boycotted British Academic said...

A big Homeresque (the yellow one) Doh!

The post to which I refer Yehudit is A Room of One's Own not as stated... it was very late and I was stressed by the need to write the last comment.

I'm sure Forster could provide BBA with guidance too, especially with the themes of the book whose title I confused in my tiredness and angst, given that room to which the Woolf post alludes. My room, its campus location, what goes on outside, the hate-fest, its view, the sounds of scapegoating which emanate from below. Lots of useful themes, not too dissimilar in essence, now that I think of it, to what Woolf was on about... But, hey, no time for a Forster riff right now, another time perhaps: BBA, go to work!

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