Saturday, May 28, 2005
Shame on the AUT - academic cowardice in action
posted by: Frubious Bandersnatch at 10:30 AM
I write this article today as an open letter in order to retract my thanks to the AUT for boycotting Israeli universities.

When you live in the Bethlehem ghetto - you often feel isolated from the outside world. Even though I am not a Palestinian, the reality behind these walls always feels a world away from the debate and commentaries that take place on the situation internationally. Whilst white collar criminals all over the world talk of 'peace', 'negociations' and 'movement towards a viable Palestinian state' alls i can see is no less than seven large construction cranes towering out of the nearest Illegal colony from behind the wall of apartheid. Watching the main-stream news discussions of the situation sometimes feels like watching historical footage from a different age. Some part of my subconscious just says 'what they are saying - it can't possibly be anything related to now - can it?'

But then, every once in a while, some of the advocacy and solidarity efforts seem to pay off as news from the outside world indicates that some institution or another has actually noticed the large scale ethnic cleansing, mass oppression and 19thC style colonisation which is going on here. When i first heard news of the AUT boycott i thought it was far too little, but my heart was at least a little warmed by the fact that it at least showed some understanding. 'Maybe it will start the ball rolling towards large scale boycotts' i thought.

But no, this was not to be the case. The boycott has been overturned only one month after it was implemented. The question is how many powerful Zionists in prominent positions around the academic world called in favors for this? How many people were called racists and threatened for daring to try and take action against massive injustice? We will never know, and theorizing about it only gets you branded a conspiracy theorist at best or an anti-Semite at worst.

So whilst the ghettos own university continues to decline under the pressures of occupation, trying to run its academic affairs inside a 5km wide ghetto, I am left puzzled as to why the first minor restrictions against an Israeli university have been lifted so soon.

All that is left therefore is to salute to cowardice of the AUT and wish its members, who live in a happy little academic bubble where they can actually operate their universities properly, a long and successful hiding from the realities of the world. 'Well done, keep pushing those pens boys!'

Instead of my former message i have something new to say to the AUT members. 'thanks for being complete and utter cowards' i write this in the hope that I can remind some academics out there that sitting behind a comfy desk is not the primrary goal of academia - finding the truth is. (or am i being to radical now!?)
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