Sunday, December 06, 2015

Anti-Israel Derangement Syndrome

In an earlier post I wrote, concerning Israel, "So my fundamental sense of fair play is moved to note these things and take the side that I think is most aligned with truth and accuracy."

There is something eerily fascinating about the sheer amount of irrational venom directed at the nation of Israel for even existing as a nation. Once you notice the venom, it's hard to stop noticing it. It's a bit like the virulent anti-white racism that is excused or even directly encouraged by the leftists in America and Europe. Once you notice it, you can't un-see it. And it's so manifestly unfair and weird that it's interesting, in its own bizarre way.

The most recent incident of this type concerns an Israel-hating retired Jewish academic (British), who refused to answer a child's questions about, of all things, the domestication of the horse. Nor did she merely hit the delete key on the inquiry e-mail. She wrote back a spiteful little note saying that she would answer the questions only when there is "justice for Palestinians in Palestine." Why would she do such a thing? Because she (the retired professor) is part of a Boycott Israel group and thinks refusing to answer questions about horses from an Israeli 13-year-old is a part of her boycott commitment. Really. I'm not making this up. You can't make it up. In fact, in this story Dr. Marsha Levine doubles down and defends her actions, proudly telling the UK Telegraph that she would answer similar questions from a child from another country.

Dr Levine, who completed her PhD at the University of Cambridge's Department of Archaeology before taking up research posts at Columbia University and Syracuse University in New York, told The Telegraph that if a school student from a different country had got in touch with her to ask about horses, she would have responded differently.
“Kids have questions, I usually answer their questions,” she said. “But I have agreed to BDS [the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel], and I do want to see justice for Palestine.
“In Israel the majority of Israelis support the policies of the government which abuses the rights of Palestinians, so the fact is I don’t want to help Israelis, and if you don't start with children where do you start?
“And she is not that young anyway, her English is pretty good. If people don’t stand up for justice, the world is going to come to an end.”
Yes, folks, you read that right. Dr. Marsha Levine is doing her small part to prevent the end of the world by refusing to answer an Israeli child about archaeology and the history of the domestic horse. Makes sense to me! What a hero!

I have never heard of such a mean, petty, spiteful, unprofessional action by an individual professor in relation to a person asking academic questions from any other country, ever. Not even South Africa in the heyday of that boycott movement. Knowing leftists, I suppose it's possible that it happened if and when some unwitting South African schoolgirl with a Dutch name wrote to a lefty professor in, say, 1990. There was no Internet then (to speak of) to shame a professor who did such a thing, so we might not have heard of it. But my guess is that politics has hardened since then and has more greatly overwhelmed such outdated notions as professionalism and courtesy. After all, if Levine wanted to pontificate against Israel, why couldn't she have done that in addition to answering questions about the domestication of the horse? My guess (though it's only a guess) is that this would have been the response of a leftist professor thirty years ago. Yes, that would be silly, pompous, and even somewhat unprofessional, injecting an unrelated political sermon into a discussion about one's academic specialty. But it would not be blatantly mean-spirited.

I note, too, the creepiness of Levine's emphasis on the age of Shachar Rabinovitch, her young correspondent: "She is not that young anyway."

Hmmm, is it just me, or is there something rather chilling about that? It is thus that people speak who are justifying much darker actions than a snarky e-mail. Let's not forget that "Palestinian" terrorists will sometimes justify killing Israeli civilians on the grounds that, given Israel's requirement of civil or military service for all young adults, there are no real Israeli civilians over a certain age. Levine is making a judgement of responsibility--what Christians sometimes call a judgement that the child has reached the "age of accountability" when she is capable of sin. The sin in question, here, is the sin of being a non-self-hating Israeli. Shachar is, apparently, considered old enough by Levine that she must either repudiate her country or be held to share in its corporate guilt. Am I saying that Levine thinks Shachar deserves to die in a terrorist attack if she doesn't share Levine's politics? Not quite. But I am saying that people exactly like Levine are often extremely quick to make excuses for "Palestinian" terror attacks, and I am also saying that Levine's haste to try to impute some kind of guilt or responsibility to Shachar, and her desire to emphasize the allegedly widespread wrong-thought among Israelis, bodes ill for her ability to condemn acts of terrorism wholeheartedly.

When people are just plain mean-spirited and vindictive toward the innocent, one starts to wonder why. When one starts to wonder why, one starts to see all kinds of facts about the poisonous nature of certain ideologies. When it comes to Israel hatred, Dr. Levine is an opportunity to gain wisdom about both the nasty fruit and the nasty root of that ideology.

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