Beware of Israel-hating academics (in lifts) who like to get people into trouble!

Simona Sharoni has long hated the Israel where she used to live and, like so many leftist ex-Israelis, hardly any anti-Israeli calumny is too extreme.  She not only actively promotes the Boycotts- Divestments – Sanctions movement but, according to the very well informed pro-Israeli blogger Elder of Ziyon, has encouraged the kind of activities which are part of the raison d’être of the ISM (International Solidarity Movement) – the use of human shields to sabotage defensive operations by the IDF to prevent terrorist attacks or to apprehend would-be terrorists.

According to Sharoni, it is impossible to be a genuine feminist without being uncompromisingly opposed to Israel and blaming those Palestinians who commit acts of violence – with knives, Molotov cocktails, various kinds of bombs, guns, etc. –  is the same as blaming rape victims for wearing revealing clothing. Where there is a conflict between a pure ideological party line and historical facts, ideology wins every time – she was one of the signatories to a letter which demanded that McGraw Hill reinstate a series of deceptive maps meant to support a completely fabricated version of history based upon propaganda about  a supposed “dispossession of the Palestinian people and (an) appropriation of their land”.  (There was no collective, systematic dispossession, there were no doubt individual cases of injustices – but nothing to compare with the systematic collective persecution of Jews which was inflicted in the newly independent Arab states and in North African countries, so masterfully described and analysed in Lyn Julius’s Uprooted: How 3000 Years of Jewish Civilization in the Arab World Vanished Overnight – Vallentine Mitchell & Co Ltd , London, 2017)

In “The Israel of your dreams has turned into a nightmare: A letter to Jewish students” Sharoni has no compunction in making a implicit comparison between Israelis and Nazis: “The unlivable conditions in the camp made me think of how I imagined the concentration camp my father lived in as a child during the Holocaust. I could not be silent anymore.”

Unlike many who have expressed concern when harassment codes are abused to facilitate unfounded or frivolous accusations by people looking for reasons to take offence and to complain about being offended, I find nothing wrong with the definition “hostile work environment”, or similar language used in other contexts – provided that those responsible for enforcing the rules act fairly and retain a sense of proportion.  When Richard Ned Lebow, a professor of international political theory at King’s College London, made his lame joke about stopping at the floor for female lingerie – thus evoking former practices at department stores –  he had no intention of causing personal offence.  It is ridiculous to associate his tension-relieving attempt at humour with the kind of harassment or bullying from which vulnerable people need to be protected.  He therefore deserves unconditional support against the unfair treatment he is receiving at the hands of Mark A. Boyer, executive director of the ISA (International Studies Association) – seems more outraged by this trivial incident than by the activities of an academic who compares Israelis to Nazis and supports BDS.




About the Author
Paul Leslie is an occasional independent journalist and researcher, living in London. He has degrees from Exeter College, Oxford University and the Sorbonne (history of the Jews of Algeria and Tunisia, in two different colonial systems). Paul Leslie is am a fan of cinema – all genres – and is passionately interested in modern history.