Academics Who Serve as Israel's Useful Idiots
Date Written: 2018-02-05
Publisher: Dissident Voice
Year Published: 2018
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX22023
How derisively would we have treated an academic - an expert in human rights, no less - who argued back in the 1980s that those who supported a boycott of apartheid South Africa must have been secretly anti-white or anti-Christian because they did not equally prioritise a boycott of Israel?
Apartheid South Africa was, and Israel still is, a product of western political, diplomatic and economic patronage. Grassroots campaigns like boycott movements can make, and have made, a difference to the viability of these European-originated settler colonial regimes. South Africa was, and Israel is, vulnerable to sanctions from western allies.
Much harder to make the same case for western activism against China, Iran and Syria, for example, which are official "enemies" of the west.
After all, grassroots action in the west is designed to discomfit not just Israel, or before it apartheid South Africa, but the western elites who prop up these regimes. Activism in the west was/is targeted chiefly against the complicity of western elites in these colonial offshoots.
None of that is true of China, Syria or Iran. Western governments are only too ready to harm these states – and the civilians in them – if they think they can get away with it. They don’t need our encouragement. Any grassroots activism directed against Syria or Iran is, at best, doomed to be wasted energy and, at worst, likely to be exploited to justify intensifying the west’s hostile manoeuvres against official enemies.