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Israel Denial: Anti-Zionism, Anti-Semitism, and the Faculty Campaign Against the Jewish State.

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 Israel Denial: Anti-Zionism, Anti-Semitism, and the Faculty Campaign Against the Jewish State. Empty Israel Denial: Anti-Zionism, Anti-Semitism, and the Faculty Campaign Against the Jewish State.

Post by Guest on Wed Jun 19, 2019 8:13 pm

Fiercely anti-Zionist students have become a fixture on American college campuses. They depend on professors for their doctrine, and the professors are spreading disinformation, as Cary Nelson, president of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) between 2006 and 2012, shows in his valuable new book, Israel Denial: Anti-Zionism, Anti-Semitism, and the Faculty Campaign Against the Jewish State.

Nelson’s argument is simple: If you want to single out Israel as uniquely worthy of condemnation among the nations of the earth, you have to sign on to a series of lies. BDS’ chief campus influencers, including Judith Butler, Steven Salaita, Saree Makdisi, and Jasbir Puar, traffic in hyperbolic calumnies about the Jewish state that are easy to refute—if, that is, one is interested in facts rather than blatant prejudice.

Yet Nelson shows that major academic presses sympathetic to BDS, like Duke University Press, have printed these false claims without bothering to engage in even the most basic fact-checking. After Nelson’s book, no one should be able to take the work of the BDS professors seriously, given their reliance on propagandistic lies.

We can start with Jasbir Puar, the Rutgers University professor whose book The Right to Maim (published by Duke) won an award from the National Women’s Studies Association, which officially endorses BDS. Puar has said in print that Israel mines organs from “Palestinian bodies” killed in violent conflict, and that this is “well-documented.” But she cites no documentary proof, because what she claims is impossible: Bodies killed by bullets during violent clashes are useless for organ transplants since they are instantly contaminated by bacteria. Only the scientifically illiterate could swallow Puar’s bizarre claim, which is of a piece with her equally counterfactual assertion that Israel is running a campaign to stunt Palestinians’ growth by denying them adequate nutrition. Nelson carefully demolishes this fabrication, for which Puar cites no evidence.

Nelson is very funny about Puar’s kooky obscurantism. She busily stirs her witches’ brew of bias, rumor, and postmodernist jargon, denouncing “the dark and destructive assemblage that swirls around the Jewish state, a biopolitical assemblage of control that instrumentalizes a spectrum of capacities and debilities.” But Nelson soberly adds that Puar’s high-profile work presents a deadly serious problem: A university press is presenting as evidence-based scholarship what is actually baseless slander, calculated to incite hate.

Even more lurid in his hatred than Puar is Steven Salaita, who absurdly states that any Arab entering Israel can expect a vaginal or anal search. Salaita is a self-confessed despiser of Israel who unleashed a storm of vulgar hate-filled tweets before and after the last Gaza War in 2014, and was then denied a campus appointment at the University of Illinois—a decision Nelson endorses, since Salaita in his books as well as his social media posts is a proud hatemonger who disdains the academic virtues of civil debate and free exchange of ideas. Like Nazis banning Jews from the professions, Salaita wants to ban Zionists from the left. Should a university hire someone like Salaita, Nelson asks, who would proudly promote discrimination on campus?

More banal than Puar and Salaita, but just as insidious, is Saree Makdisi, professor of English at UCLA and celebrated BDS advocate. Makdisi proclaims in his books that Israel has no Basic Law guaranteeing equality of citizenship and no Supreme Court decisions referencing equality. He is, of course, stating the opposite of the truth, as he must know. Israel’s Basic Law gives equal rights to all citizens and this principle has often been cited by the country’s Supreme Court.

Makdisi is just as careless about facts in his account of Bedouin villages which, he inaccurately claims, Israel has refused to recognize. Nelson traveled to one of the villages, Arab al-Na’im, which was recognized in 2000, as Makdisi might have learned from Wikipedia. Its Bedouin leader, Nimer al-Na’im, angrily said that Makdisi’s account was full of “lies,” and was astonished, as Nelson puts it, that “someone halfway around the world” was misrepresenting his home town. Nelson presents a moving account of how the village developed in tandem with a neighboring Jewish town, Eshchar. Makdisi refuses to acknowledge such instances of Jewish-Arab collaboration, instead telling a made-up tale of endless, motiveless Jewish hostility toward Arabs. He also derides the Palestinian Authority for engaging in a peace process with Israel, apparently preferring Hamas’ terror.

Plenty more to read on the link


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