July 12, 2002
The proposed economic and academic boycotts against Israel bring to mind these images from the 1930s:
"Germans, defend yourselves! Don't buy from Jews!"
and this shot of Nazis holding hands at the University of Vienna to "protect" it from Jews.
and read this story of an otherwise talented mathematician, Ludwig Bieberbach, who became a Nazi and took increasing measures to eradicate Jewish mathematicians from German academia, because it was the fashionable thing to do. In 1938 he wrote
Above all, may you finally dismiss the Jews from your staff in the New Year. ... I emphasise again that your staff of referees must be in accordance with the regulations which have been obligatory to all Germans since 30 January 1933. ... You see how your conduct harms the good reputation of the Academy.
Now read this petition
which calls on boycotting ties with Israeli academics.
The Nazi boycott of Jewish academics in the 1930s, and today's proposed boycott of Israeli academics by Islamic totalitarians and their hallucinating western apologists, are more alike than different.
If you are an academic, please endorse this anti-boycott petition. If you are not an academic, please pass it along to someone who is.
UPDATE (July 16): see my correspondence with boycott promoter Steven Rose
Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at July 12, 2002 11:45 AM
Anyone who wants to understand the role of anti-Semitism in European and Arab attacks on the Jewish state would do well to read Goldhagen's Hitler's Willing Executioners. While Goldhagen's book deals with a specifically German anti-Semitism, it does a good job to explaining the hallucinatory nature of anti-Semitism and how it became the center of people's world-view.
Moreover, we in the US are apt to think of anti-Semites as gutter trash: unintelligent, uneducated people, the sort you'd see on Jerry Springer. But as the Bieberbach quote, the current anti-Israel petitions, and 'Arab intellectuals' all aptly demonstrate, it's possible for the entire range of a society to be infected with an irrational worldview that must be confronted.
Stefan & Glenn, you are so right.
It seems Moron's Disease is running rampant once again.
It appears that there may be no cure, but one can always dream.
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