Anti-Israel Academics’ Warped Assumptions about Sovereignty and Legitimacy

June 16 2016

Last week, the American Anthropological Association narrowly defeated a measure to boycott Israel. The debates leading up to this vote, writes Theodore Kupfer, expose the deeply flawed ideas about national legitimacy that underlie much academic hatred of Israel:

To assert that Arabs are exclusively indigenous to the land in question, [as the boycott’s supporters do], is to deny the ancient connection between that land and the Jewish people. . . .

But there is something [even] more disturbing about the way academia embraces BDS. Disciplines in which anti-Israel sentiment is most common come from the cultural-studies line. There, orthodoxy demands denial of legitimacy to states whose history is “colonial.” . . .

The post-colonial instinct is to see indigenousness as the true marker of legitimate sovereignty. This is radical. While the classical tradition contends that states are legitimated by representative government and preserved through a structure of law, this new orthodoxy pretends that such institutions are inherently polluted, and therefore illegitimate, because the “settlers” who erected political structures drove out indigenous people. Such displacement is historical fact in many countries, both Western and non-Western, but it hardly constitutes sufficient reason to throw away the benefits of modern democratic institutions. Academics who support BDS resolutions show their true convictions: they trade John Locke for Edward Said.

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Read more at National Review

More about: Academia, Academic Boycotts, BDS, Edward Said, Israel & Zionism, Israel on campus

 

How European Fecklessness Encourages the Islamic Republic’s Assassination Campaign

In September, Cypriot police narrowly foiled a plot by an Iranian agent to murder five Jewish businessman. This was but one of roughly a dozen similar operations that Tehran has conducted in Europe since 2015—on both Israeli or Jewish and American targets—which have left three dead. Matthew Karnitschnig traces the use of assassination as a strategic tool to the very beginning of the Islamic Republic, and explains its appeal:

In the West, assassination remains a last resort (think Osama bin Laden); in authoritarian states, it’s the first (who can forget the 2017 assassination by nerve agent of Kim Jong-nam, the playboy half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, upon his arrival in Kuala Lumpur?). For rogue states, even if the murder plots are thwarted, the regimes still win by instilling fear in their enemies’ hearts and minds. That helps explain the recent frequency. Over the course of a few months last year, Iran undertook a flurry of attacks from Latin America to Africa.

Whether such operations succeed or not, the countries behind them can be sure of one thing: they won’t be made to pay for trying. Over the years, the Russian and Iranian regimes have eliminated countless dissidents, traitors, and assorted other enemies (real and perceived) on the streets of Paris, Berlin, and even Washington, often in broad daylight. Others have been quietly abducted and sent home, where they faced sham trials and were then hanged for treason.

While there’s no shortage of criticism in the West in the wake of these crimes, there are rarely real consequences. That’s especially true in Europe, where leaders have looked the other way in the face of a variety of abuses in the hopes of reviving a deal to rein in Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program and renewing business ties.

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Read more at Politico

More about: Europe, Iran, Israeli Security, Terrorism