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« Responding to a Cousin: Well, Why Not Syria and Iran? | Home | Snapshots from Israel - from the front lines »

July 28, 2006

Gallery of supercilious antisemitic boycott letters

In addition to the well-publicized academic boycotts, Israelis have been subject to informal boycotts often initiated by customer-facing employees in organizations which may not approve of their particular biases, or covert boycotts which are company policy, but invisible until you receive an unexpected enraged response to an ordinary inquiry.

(To anyone who takes issue with my calling this "antisemitism" rather than....errrr....anti-Israelism: When cookie-cutter slogans are delivered with patronizing self-righteous hostility to complete strangers in a totally non-political context, something is going on at a gut-level below geopolitical realities, especially since citizens of really horrifying regimes don't get this kind of treatment.)

I've collected some examples over the years (all from Brits, for some reason...) and this recent one from the technology sector inspired me to retrieve the others:

Asaf Linden decided to order some computer chips for his games console from a company with a UK web site. He put in his credit card number, got a confirmation e-mail and waited. Little did he know that he was now marked as a war criminal. . . . Imagine his surprise to get the following reply:
You are viewed as a fraud risk and it is company policy not to support people whos government kill innocent civilians and children. Thank You
Several supporters of Asaf sent critical letters, and received an automated reply:
This is an automated reply
Your email has been gassed and burned.
Please use the online helpdesk to enter your enquiry.
Thank You
This example of sales acumen just happened this week, so if you have an opinion you can contact the appropriate parties at sales@mrmodchips.co.uk

From the non-profit arts sector . . .

I pick up the phone to a certain London dance magazine editor who has ignored my e-mail pitches thus far.

The head of advertising answers and immediately launches into a quiet but resolute political diatribe upon hearing where the company is based. I'm thinking: "WTF? Why is a dance magazine guy talking politics to me?" And never mind my interjections on artistic director Sally-Anne's behalf...that she broke away from apartheid South Africa, that her most recent creation is called Borders and addresses breaking down boundaries both personal and political....

He tells me that because of the occupation the magazine doesn't run stories on dance companies out of Israel. . . . He recommends I speak with the magazine editor so I do. She backs his stance. Even further. We don't allow advertisements or stories from Israel but if we are going to run something, it's with a statement from the source renouncing the occupation she replies. . . .

Someone called Dance Europe to ask the manager about her policy:
. . . . she told me that while she didn't have a blanket policy against writing about israeli dance companies, she would carefully examine any potential article about them because of israels "horrible illegal occupation and mistreatment of the palestinians". She went off on a tirade against the wall, israelis, then then blair and bush, and then hung up on me.

One of the freelance writers for Dance Europe is Nicholas Rowe, who has his own political requirements for Israeli artists:

1. They must openly refuse to do their national service. I cannot work with anyone who would give any support to this military machine.

2. They must publicly declare, through their art or even a simple programme note, that they condemn the military occupation of the Palestinian Territories.

3. They must publicly declare, through their art or even a single programme note, that all the illegal Israeli settlements must be dismantled.

4. They must publicly declare, through their art or even a single programme note, that they support the return of refugees.

What a simple list, a little combination of UN 194 and 242 with a little something of my own, yet not a single Israeli artist (and I had badgered quite a few) was willing to accept it. . . .

Good for them. I'm glad Israeli artists have some backbone.

Here's a gratuitous lecture from a design firm . . . .

Thank you for your CV, but in you're not we're looking for. . . . Speaking personally however may I suggest that for European consumption you would be wise to omit details of your national service, which you describe with such evident and ingenuous pride?

The natural reaction of most educated Europeans to the information you provide is likely to be "so it was she who guided those guinships to targetted assasinations and the murder of women and children with indiscriminate bombing and strafing of refugee camps (refugee camps!!!! 50 years after your compatriots drove them from their homes - and you have done nothing for them ever since.)!". Most educated Europeans - and as a matter of fact a large proprtion of educated Americans too - now view 'Israel' as a brutal undemocratic (where are the votes for the indigenous inhabitants whom you have helotised?) colonial state . . . .

The applicant eventually received an apology from the firm and the author claimed the remarks were out of character and caused by family stress (a typical cop-out). Also we are informed in the comments that the firm is reputed to be a bit nutty.

Then there was the famous case of Oxford professor Andrew Wilkie, who responded thus to an Israeli grad student seeking a position in his lab:

Thank you for contacting me, but I don't think this would work. I have a huge problem with the way that the Israelis take the moral high ground from their appalling treatment in the Holocaust, and then inflict gross human rights abuses on the Palestinians because the (the Palestinians) wish to live in their own country.

I am sure that you are perfectly nice at a personal level, but no way would I take on somebody who had served in the Israeli army. As you may be aware, I am not the only UK scientist with these views but I'm sure you will find another suitable lab if you look around.

Again, once Prof. Wilkie's email was publicized he received a reprimand and pleaded stress.

An Israeli academic asks a British academic to review a book for her department's journal. He replies:

Alas I am unable to accept your kind invitation, for reasons that you may not like. I have, along with many other British academics, signed the academic boycott of Israel, in the face of the brutal and illegal expansionism, and the slow-motion ethnic cleansing, being practised by your government. There is of course nothing personal in this. I am aware of the honest arguments for and against a boycott, and that even some Israeli academics support the boycott and many do not. Whatever your views, I hope you will understand that my view is based on a widely shared moral outrage. You are welcome to report my position (if you wish) to anyone you may like to.

Over at Harry's Place this spring, the regulars were brainstorming . . . .
It's simple why dont the NATFHE simply come up with a 'Statement of Principle of agreed positions by NATFHE' document with what they, in their wisdom, deem Politically Correct views. Then they could simply make it a condition of any interaction that this is signed off by everybody who agrees to the undertakings contained within. . . .

They could then ensure that this ‘Statement of Principle’ contained all the Political positions deemed acceptable by them on such important matters of the day such as the Kyoto protocol, Gay and Lesbian rights, US 'Imperialism', The Kashmir Question, Irish Nationalism, Nuclear Proliferation, Nuclear disarmament, Road tolls, Public transport, the maximum acceptable CO2 emission level of any vehicles signitories are permitted to ride in, Other conservation issues including a firm position on Badger gassing and fox hunting, The UN, what are deemed 'correct' views on ethnic, cultural and religious differences, Collective healthcare, Taxation, potty training and general Child rearing, firearm legislation, rubbish recycling, the correct way of instigating sexual contact....and anything else deemed an essential pre requisite for the right and proper exchange of academic ideas.

Inna responds:
You forget Nick--the vast majority of the oppressed don't hold Politically Correct positions; indeed they hold very politically incorrect positions.

In fact, such a statement of principles would serve to (de facto) disqualify pretty much the entire Third World from participation in UK academic life.

David responds:
Yes, I agree it is time to boycott the British for their continued 400 year old genocidal occupation of Northern Ireland and suppression & removal of the Irish People from their ancestral homeland. I also believe that there should be a similar boycott of France for their continued occupation and suppression of the Breton and Corsican Peoples. Also Italy should be boycotted for their Apartheid Racism against Southern Italians and Sicilians, who are frequently referred to by the dominate Northern Italians as "darkies" & "niggers". (TRUE!) So you boycotters you have quite a bit of work to do so get with it!

Seriously, everything that has been said against Israel, especially about it being responsible for Moslem Terrorism, could be said about another post-war democracy, India, particularly in regards to occupation of half of Kashmir, with its Moslem majority. (As Christopher Hitchens pointed out in his review of Rushdie's latest novel in Atlantic Magazine, Sept. 2005) Why are there not cries to boycott India? It is a liberal democracy. Should it not be held to the same high standards that are demanded of Israel? Is it because it is easier to demonize a country of seven million then it is a country of one billion? Heaven forbid!

PS: India is building a re-inforce wired fence of its own that will cover the approximately 2,500 miles of its border with Bangeldesh. It is doing so to prevent Islamic Terrorists from Bangeldesh from infilitrating India. The fence in a number of places is keeping Bangeldesh villagers from tending their fields. Come on all you boycott Israel types, why are you not out there at the India-Bangeldesh border protesting this "Apartheid" Wall?!

To address the many demands of the boycott intiatives, all-purpose statement was created which disavows all politically incorrect thoughts or activities, demonstrating once again that Jews handle adversity with humor:
Because –hopefully- soon I will be a graduate of an Israeli institution, and having in mind the new boycott that the British university and college lecturers union wants to recommend against Israeli academics that do not expressly reject the policies of the Israeli government, hereby I want to clear my CV and therefore I declare:
1. I expressly reject the policies of the actual Israeli government. (Bad Olmert! Bad!)
2. I also reject retroactively the policies of the government of Ariel Sharon, Ehud Barak, Benjamin Netanyahu, Shimon Peres, Itzhak Rabin, Itzhak Shamir, all the way to Golda Meir, David Ben-Gurion, and the foolish ideas of Theodore Herzl and Ahad Aham.
3. I want also to declare that I did not kill a Palestinian and I don’t want to kill a Palestinian.
4. I accept gladly the Qassams that the sensible Palestinians launch at me.
5. I accept my right of being blown up when taking a bus home, eat in a pizza parlor or go shopping. (To be perfectly clear I want also to accept the right of my wife to be blown up, she really wants me to get a PhD in a British University).
6. I did not kill Jesus, but if I had lived in Jesus times, I would have advised the Romans not to do it either.
7. I will try not to control the media. (I am throwing away the remote)
8. My nose doesn’t have a hooked shape. (Except when I laugh, which I promise not to do much in London)
9. I promise to donate to a Palestinian Islamic charity the money that the Israeli state expended to bring me here.
10. I abhor the Z-word.
11. I was never in the Israeli Army, but if I am called to defend my country I promise to be a refusenik.
12. I promise to work so every Israeli soldier becomes a refusenik.
13. I promise not to cry when my refusenik neighbors and I are murdered by the glorious Arab armies.
14. I am not a friend of George Soros, nor of Steven Spielberg or Ben Shalom Bernanke.
15. I hate Ariel Sharon. I hate him. I hate him. I hate him. I hate him. I hate him. I hate him.
16. I promise to adopt a Palestinian refugee, his 14 children and 53 grandchildren.
17. I promise to give my apartment to this Palestinian refugee with a pre-paid year of rent, since anyway I will be going back to Argentina by his own suggestion.
18. When I get back to Argentina I promise not to cry again if honorable Islamic militants blow up another Jewish Community Center there, not even if it is in the same neighborhood in which I live.
19. I promise not to sing HaTikva anymore.
20. I promise to forget the rikudim (Israeli dances) I have learnt.
21. I promise to forget the Israeli books I have ever read. (That goes for you, Ephraim Kishon!)
22. I am sorry of my Jewish blood.
23. I confess that the Sabbath is boring. (What, not good enough? It is witchcraft! Ok?)
24. I agree that the only good Jew is a dead Jew.
May I apply for a PhD now, please?

Professor Stephen Berger came up with a similar all-purpose apology for Jews in general.

Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas complained that only the Palestinian side is ever required to denounce terror. . . . Perhaps the Palestinians have a point, and so to set the record straight, I do hereby denounce the following in the name of the Jewish people:

1. All Jewish suicide bombers who have ever acted against Arabs.
2. All Arab buses blown up by Jews.
3. All Arab pizza parlors, malls, discotheques and restaurants destroyed by Jewish terrorists.
4. All airplanes hijacked by Jews since 1903.
5. All Ramadan feasts targeted by Jewish bombs.
6. All Arabs lynched in Israeli cities; all Arab Olympic athletes murdered by Jews; all Arab embassies bombed by Jews.
7. All mosques, cemeteries and religious schools fire bombed or desecrated by Jews in North Africa, France, Belgium, Germany, England or any other country.
8. The destruction of American military, governmental and civilian institutions in Kenya, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Yemen - >> along with the murder of U.S.Marines and diplomatic personnel.
9. All Jewish school books which claim that Arabs poison wells, use Christian blood to bake pita, control world finance, and murdered Jesus; or that Arab elders meet secretly to plot a world takeover.
10. And I am particularly ashamed at the way my fellow Jews attacked the World Trade Center, Pentagon and civilian aircraft on September 11th and danced in the streets to celebrate the act.

You may laugh! But even if you aren't Jewish, nor in Europe, don't assume it won't happen to you. Email from a friend in a blue state:
I just went to a job interview where, out of the blue, the prospective employer asked me point-blank if I was "a fan of the Bush administration."

This is the second time in a row this has happened.

Fortunately I had my wits about me; I told him that was a completely inappropriate question, and that I refused to answer it, and thanked him for his time.

Judith | 07/28/06 at 06:44 AM | Categories: - Antisemitism watch

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Blogs which link to Gallery of supercilious antisemitic boycott letters:

» Informal personal boycotts from Pillage Idiot
Have you ever had an internet order rejected because of the country in which you lived? Have you ever been turned down for a position because you were in the military of the country where you lived? Has a job interviewer ever asked you whether ...... [Read More]

Tracked on July 28, 2006 09:15 AM


I love the way the examples are "all from Brits", and then the very first one is from:

Peruksa 13
Klong Sam
Phantum Thani

I know Americans are notoriously ignorant of geography, but, you know, Thailand is the long thin one to the right of India, and Britain is the little crinkly one just above France.

Do you really think that registration of a .co.uk domain makes them a British company?

Anyway, I'll go back now and read the rest of your (genuinely British as far as I can tell) examples. I imagine as usual I'll need to hold my breath while reading the Harry's Place quotes, but even HP can sometimes inform.

Rob | July 28, 2006 06:59 PM

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