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It`s Not the Boycott, Stupid, It`s the Occupation

Uri Ram

April 26, 2005

The angry responses in Israel to the decision passed by the Association of University Lecturers in Britain to boycott two Israeli universities, Bar Ilan and Haifa, because of their acquiescence with the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, have, as usual, succeeded in diverting attention from the main issue – the occupation, to the secondary issue of the boycott.

The deputy to the ambassador of Israel in Britain is quoted as saying that Jewish lecturers were not boycotted since Nazi Germany. Interesting; nobody mentioned a boycott of Jewish lecturers. Moreover, as far as there are `Jews` in this case, these are the Palestinians. Those who suffer daily from undifferentiating occupation, killing, destruction, confiscation and humiliation are the Palestinian residents; residents, not citizens, because the state dominating them does not grant them citizenship rights, barely human rights.

The President of Haifa University declared that a certain lecturer who supports the boycott should depart the University, because one cannot support boycotting it and still `enjoy its delights`. Good to know what the President is occupied with – `enjoying the delights` of the University. Maybe this is why he thinks that the University is his own, or of him and the colleagues to his position; a `non-political` position of course; just a simple banal acquiescence with the occupation and its horrors. I would have expected him to declare that this decision is mistaken because the university does oppose the occupation; or to declare that the university would start doing so. I would have expected him to take an unequivocal moral stand against the occupation, rather then condemning one pious lecturer in this Sodom. I would expect this also from the rest of the University Presidents in Israel, with the exception of Bar Ilan, which ideologically and actively supports the occupation. In the future Israeli University Presidents will not be judged by the number of graduates or by the number of articles produced in their time, but by the question `where were you when the occupation and oppression took place?!`

Israel must be reminded what it tries to make everybody forgetting: the occupation is unlawful; the settlements are unlawful; any activity of the occupying power which is not necessitated by immediate security considerations or the temporary upkeep of the area until its return to its local population is unlawful, and moreover illegitimate and amoral. This is what the British lecturers proclaim: the Israeli occupation of Palestinian areas is unlawful, illegitimate and amoral. It`s not the boycott, stupid, it`s the occupation.

And now one may also consider the boycott. Why boycott on Israel and not on Britain, which occupies Iraq?! Why start with the universities, and not, for instance, with the official representatives of Israel or with Israeli corporations?! What about lecturers in the boycotted universities who oppose the occupation, Arab, Jews or others (will there be selection committees; a horrible thought)?! And does not every Israeli tax-payer – including the writer of this text - a complaisant with the occupation?! I don’t have unequivocal answers to these questions, but I know that the occupation and the occupiers ought to be unequivocally condemned and boycotted. The problem is not the boycott, stupid, it`s the occupation.



Dr. Uri Ram

Senior Lecturer, Department of Behavioral Sciences,

Ben Gurion University

Beer Sheva, Israel

uriram@bgu.ac.il

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