Saturday, November 16, 2013

More on why I am a reactionary and not a radical

It seems that the term "radical" in the context of US academics means militant support for Israel's war against the indigenous population of Palestine. Claire Potter and Cary Nelson are two very influential and established US academics who both call themselves radicals and strongly oppose any attempt to voluntarily boycott Israeli institutions complicit in supporting apartheid and colonialism. Nelson used to be the president of the AAUP (American Association of University Professors) and it was under his tenure that the organization adopted a militant position of defending the apartheid state of Israel from any and all boycotts by US lecturers. The official position of the AAUP that boycotts of universities and other Israeli state institutions supporting human rights violations is a horrible imposition upon academic freedom is a ludicrous one. It is also extremely hypocritical because both the AAUP and "radicals" like Potter and Nelson supported a complete boycott of not only South African academic institutions, but individual South African scholars during the 1980s. I agree that the position of supporting the denial of human, civil, and national rights to Palestinians on the basis of their race is a radical position. I would even argue that Potter and Nelson are correct to see their support of apartheid and colonialism as the orthodox radical left position in the US. The international Left after all almost universally supported the Nakba against the Palestinians and the establishment of Israel as a racially based state in 1948. Potter and Nelson are continuing this tradition. However, I am not a radical or a leftist. I am a reactionary. I am a reactionary precisely because I reject the "radical" position of Potter and Nelson and believe that academics have a moral obligation to boycott the apartheid state of Israel until such time as the indigenous Palestinian population is give full and equal rights with the descendants of Jewish colonists in the territory. Everything else is just special pleading.

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