“We simply don’t want to hear from you”

The naivete of the Left is sometimes almost touching (almost, but not quite). Here is a clip from a Ha’aretz article written by a young woman named Or Tshuva, a postgraduate student in the department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths University of London.

Left-wing Israeli academics have in the past few years faced a great challenge. Threatened with censorship, prosecution and ostracism in their home universities, they have been subtly forced to hold their tongues when it comes to publicly expressing their political opinions. In 2009, Neve Gordon nearly lost his job as a politics professor at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev after writing an op-ed arguing that Israel has become an apartheid state that can only be saved by an international boycott. One year later, in 2010, world-renowned art theorist Ariella Azoulay was denied tenure by Bar-Ilan University apparently due to her pro-Palestinian political views. These incidents send Israeli academics a clear message: tolerance of critical opinions is running out.

It is for exactly this reason that many Israelis pursue academic careers abroad. But in the international academic community, they often find that no matter how far left or pro-peace they are, their “Israeliness” remains an obstacle. Universities and scholars that explicitly support boycotting Israeli academic institutions are still relatively rare, but it seems that to avoid undesirable political rows, many universities choose not to collaborate with their Israeli counterparts or offer scholarships to Israeli students. In many cases, Israelis looking to participate in student-exchange programs or pay for postgraduate studies in Europe, and especially the United Kingdom, are unable to find any opportunities. When it comes to funding, they tend to discover Israel is neither part of the Middle East nor of Europe. Israelis are usually not entitled to apply for the scholarships available to other foreign students.

While their Palestinian fellows enjoy the political and financial support of active pro-Palestinian university societies and generous scholarships designed specifically for them, the implicit message to Israelis is often: “It doesn’t really matter what you say or think, because we simply don’t want to hear from you.” For example, British Member of Parliament George Galloway walked out a debate at Oxford University three months ago simply because he learned that his student opponent was an Israeli citizen. The fact that the student was about to explain the necessity of an agreement recognizing both Israel and a Palestinian state did not matter.

What will it take for you to understand? They don’t want you. Not the Brits, not the academic world in general, and certainly not the Palestinians. It doesn’t matter how far you go in negating your own people’s right to self-determination, no matter how much of a good Jew you are, you will not be good enough.

Thus it always has been for Jews in the Diaspora. Your experience is the best argument for the Zionism that you despise. (h/t Israel Academia Monitor)

Shabbat Shalom!

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One Response to ““We simply don’t want to hear from you””

  1. Shalom Freedman says:

    I imagine many young Israelis who wish to study abroad, or make an academic career face obstacles others do not. I suspect things are worsening in this regard.
    But the complaining student here who adopts the Palestinian propaganda line as her own credo has no one but herself to blame.