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 March 2009

BBA's "Tourette's"

OK, I don't really have coprolalia-type Tourette's but sometimes I feel as though I present with similar symptoms, as I endeavour to survive over here by the swamp, a struggle which seems to entail a constant battle to repress a powerful compulsion to make liberal use of the F word - in plentiful permutation. The 'tic' is environmentally-induced and it arises systemically in the circumstances of BBA's existence, for years now harassed, harried even and, why not, also harangued by boycott-agitation and affiliated activity of scapegoating and demonization of the usual, classic subject.

It's a predicament in which this blog has oft found me, for instance, at this point, when I explained how the malaise renders me one pretty damn hopeless player in the game currently prime-entertainment over at the Bigot's Playground. As I observed back then, it feels as though there's nothing left to be said at such a point and no other language will do.

Yet, as we know, BBA represses the compulsion, just as someone with Tourette's can learn to suppress a tic which could be perceived as socially odd or inappropriate or embarrassing - and, often, just too bluntly honest, too raw, too discombobulating, of a kind which leads to discomfort.

BBA, long socialized into silence, says nothing - I bite my tongue and closet the rest, safe in secret, only to emerge behind this veil of anonymity, if at all - if, that is, this can be called emerging, constrictive as this veil has become, with this prevailing resounding silence, even on here, with the veil either too tight or forever more threadbare, featherlight as this sheath of ether is becoming...

For calling out antisemitism when it is observed in the 'activism' taking place on our campuses, and responding to it in the only way which feels right, is not appropriate over here. It's just not OK in Boycotting Britannia, you see, not the done thing at all.

Perhaps in the same way someone with Tourette's learns to 'release' the tic when it feels safe to do so, all this repression in the face of the boycotters seems to have influenced my language, with the word now having somewhat of a tendency to seep out even when I'm communicating with one held most dear - invariably when recounting some obnoxious happening or other over here on this little, if sadly significant, swathe of the swamp.

BBA has come in for reprimand on this account - quite reasonably, I might add...

With this in mind, I was to be found the other day watching this documentary, perhaps in the vain hope of finding a way to answer to this language-detraction, something along the lines that I'm bound to speak in this way as a result of the strictures and pressures of my current employ, the repressions it involves, and the generally sorry state in which I find myself, here, as BBA. No such thing was found (even if a diverting moment was had) but the film did contain an interesting segment in which various politicians were exposed to have made use of the word off-record. I was struck by an apparent correlation between Jews as the subject-matter here and the unguarded use of the F word in the examples which happened best to demonstrate the point being made about how even they do it - Clinton, Nixon, Baker etc. (see here from 2:08 for about 40secs, excerpting some of the segments which caused BBA to make this observation at the time).

Hey, what the F is that about?!

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!)

Monday 22 September 2008

"Envy and Resentment"

Belatedly, I put my hand on a rather mangled hard-copy of the week-end before last's Jerusalem Post and saw this, which I can't seem to find in the on-line edition. In case you have trouble seeing the paper through the reader provided, it's a very short news-in-brief item, the gist of which is that a periodical of Tel Aviv University's law dept (Theoretical Inquiries in Law) has been ranked top of all law periodicals published outside the US in a recent review. Under the perverse aura cast in this era of boycotts, it's satisfying to note that the review process considered over 200 periodicals published outside the US, including a good number submitted from Boycotting Britannia, and that this relatively young Israeli journal should lead the pack.

Boycott that, you noodles!

I held off publishing partly because I couldn't come up with a title I liked, opting to leave it as the last word of the then post - "noodles" - which seemed somehow too kind. I'd wanted to develop the post along the lines of how this story of the TAU journal outshining all, including the Boycotting Brits, brought to mind an aspect of what I can't help thinking must motivate the BDS bonkers brigade. But then I got too depressed by the task of articulating it and, as usual, gave up on the post, distracted by the horrors perpetually peppering my present - more like plaguing if not persecuting it, but don't get me started...

Anyway, the title came to me just now, as I was reading The Dude on BHL. At least that, for the task of articulation remains apparently too depressing for BBA in these "dark times" and besides, in essence, isn't it just really obvious -- that age-old characteristic of that age-old hatred -- so let the title suffice, since BBA's capacities are currently being diverted (indeed, spent) in the struggle simply to survive the swamp, such that BHL via The Dude or whatever will have to do in the circumstances...

Tuesday 26 August 2008

Harry's Place and the Bullies of UCU

I once drew comfort from the assumption, erroneous as I now discover, that UCU's near-Stalinist modus operandi could safely be regarded as confined solely to the contained sphere of operation of UCU itself. Dangerous and damaging as that has proven to be for many union members, BBA's experience being by no means unique in this regard, I felt somehow relieved by the thought that such mechanisms of intimidation & silencing would have no traction outside the fascist organization which UCU risks becoming, oh so insistently, compulsively even (to the point that my caveat of a conditional there - through the notion of risk - ought not really to be there but, hey, only BBA here, still, whatever remains there, and I'll do caveats, the lot, naturally falling back into the patterns of denial which gets one dwelling by the swamp, and then to continue, often flailing helplessly as now...).

Well, how wrong I have turned out to be. For it would appear that people at UCU are not content merely to muzzle the majority of the most effective and trenchant of the anti-boycotters who, as members of this union, have been forced to expend vast quantities of time and energy responding to the vile bile which passes for solidarity within our union, silenced (e.g.) for nothing other than their valiant efforts to stem the virulent antisemitism which has been allowed to become rife in UCU. No, now it would appear that UCU or, at the very least, people closely connected with it and its racist boycott campaign, have set the net far wider still and are presently engaging in their usual threats and tactics of intimidation, only this time it's out there in public, in full view, for all to see, and not merely behind closed academic doors, as has happened to date, in the deepest and most frightening secrecy imaginable, courtesy of UCU HQ, apparently adamant to protect none but the racists.

Today, it's not just us handful of beleaguered academics who emerge black & blue from the experience. No, now it's this whole wide world of a web of ours which is rendered vulnerable to the bullying ways of the boycotters. Today, Harry's Place has been taken down for nothing at all, nothing but the shedding of some light on the goings on within UCU and the racist filth which passes for solidarity on the activists list (aka the Bigot's Playground).

More details to follow, when I know them, and no doubt on Harry's Place, as soon as it is up and running again, which I hope will be imminently; the less time the better, for this is a most dangerous precedent indeed. For now, here's what I could find: Modernity, with some background (and an update), which put me onto this link, amusingly named after the bully in question, and presently functioning as an ersatz Harry's Place while the real site is temporarily down.

I feel bound to break this silence into which I am ever having to retreat, such is the nature of my existence over here by the swamp, this mire of myriad monstrousness - the whole saga involving Harry's Place and the UCU bullies being but the latest example of what, in essence, happens constantly over at the Bigot's Playground. And it's a rather salutary example at that, in so far as it makes transparent what is usually more carefully & heavily obfuscated in - although invariably characteristic to - the style of argument (if it can be called argument) of a boycotter. And no doubt in this salutary property lies the real cause for Harry's Place having to fend off the bullies at present. I feel compelled to speak out today, even if these days I mostly find myself speechless again, beyond words, for I want to register my alarm at this very troubling development, which risks doing to the blogosphere what has been done to my union, which now functions solely as a reliable source for a most abominable hate-fest, thanks to union debates being conducted on terms which ensure that the only speech which ever gets protected is that of the racists.

Update - late the following day...

Tuesday 17 June 2008

Parade as Charade

When it comes to marching, you can count on UCU. Joining up with a parade? You can be sure UCU will be there, making a big show of its much vaunted anti-fascist and anti-racist credentials, credulity-stretching as they are in view of this experience with the boycott.

For when it comes to translating all this parading into practical action, when it comes to fulfilling its executive functions according to pledges made and declarations proclaimed at marches such as these, where's UCU? Which side is it on, when we look beyond all this, to the concrete and the detail of its work and activities?

If we take how UCU is handling the boycott issue as our barometer -- and, after all, UCU has distinguished itself for little else, tragically, since its inception, this being the core issue which has dominated, indeed paralyzed, its activism to date -- what we find is that it all turns out to be a bit of a charade really, for when UCU marches, it is effectively in fact marching against itself. Different name, for sure, but don't be confused about the underlying politics because even if the boycotters are too sloppy to see it, and even more so if they do see it, make no mistake: this isn't different in any relevant regard when it comes to fighting fascism, with many now noting the "fusion between far-left and far-right forces" these days (e.g.).

Yet while it marches against one of these forces, UCU is, on the basis of how it is acting in relation to the boycott issue, all the while busy performing and instantiating that fusion, and in the process thereby becoming very close essentially to the thing against which it marches.

Parading? Marching? Sure! But respecting the laws which have been put in place to guard against fascism & racism? Nah, silly, that's just ziocons desperately deploying the tools of empire to stifle criticism and debate (by which they apparently mean the sort of hate-fest & demonization on display in the comments which this blog's whistleblowers have appended to the earlier hydra post) and to hinder acts of solidarity (translation: the sort of pathetic gestures the BDS movement stages, which function and operate, in classic scapegoat style, so as to distract attention away from the problems which more immediately implicate the civic responsibilities of these gesturers (a phenomenon previously captured here, which uses the example of art to represent a phenomenon which I've discovered the boycotters to display in phenomenal quantities)).

No amount of marching can mask, nor will parade upon parade paper over the uncomfortable truth about what UCU represents today: far from helping in the fight against fascism, UCU must now be considered a significant target in that fight, given this policy it insists on endorsing, year after injurious year, in breach of the very laws which have been put in place to rid us of this scourge.

Thursday 29 May 2008

Madness and UCU

In my last post I alluded to the madness with which I am having to contend, working here as BBA.

No sooner published, what did I encounter? Yet more madness: UCU claiming that a boycott is not a boycott. No, it's solidarity. No, really.

Not only am I stuck in a time warp, it seems the moment has been frozen in the absurd, where even academics can't make the most essential and, you'd have thought, basic of distinctions between demonization and scapegoating, on the one hand; and legitimate criticism, on the other. And not only that, in doing so, they then even want to make us think that a boycott is not a boycott. And that the sort of hate-fest on display in the hydra comments is debate. The swamp is overtaken with absurdity, on top of every thing else.

Someone, please, tell me this is not the profession I've chosen...