Ten Reasons Why I Oppose Boycotts Against Israeli Academics (And Why You Should Too!)
This is not the first time I have been embroiled in a boycott debate. In the 1980s, I was involved in solidarity work with the fledgling indepen- dent trade unions in South Africa. They were a living expression of non-racial democracy across so-called national lines. Solidarity included establishing direct links between South African and British unions at official and rank–and-file levels. As a result of our solidarity activities, we were pilloried by leading figures in anti-apartheid, the ANC, and the South African Communist Party for breaking the boycott! When we invited a South African academic, a leading advocate of the new unions and anti-apartheid scholar, to speak at our Comparative Labour Studies pro- gram at Warwick University, a demonstration was organized by a couple of SACP stalwarts to prevent him from speaking. When we wrote a trade union solidarity pamphlet, we were told that unions could only be legal in South Africa if they collaborated with the regime and that we were in effect collaborationists.
Beneath the argument about boycott what was really going on was a political battle between a progressive socialist politics and quite reactionary nationalist politics. It is a battle that has not stopped and is rising to the surface in contemporary South Africa. I grant there is no direct analogy between the boycott of apartheid South Africa and that of Israeli academic insti- tutions, but I contend that a similar political battle is taking place—a battle for our future political life.
Full Text:Subscribers Only
- There are currently no refbacks.