Noam Chomsky, who had been visiting Tromsø University in September this year, managed a couple of weeks ago to enter Gaza, where he attended a linguistic conference at the Islamic University, for the first time in his life. He had to enter from Egypt (where he was later guest at the American University in Cairo) since Israel of course denied access to the strip under its blockade. Gaza Islamic University awarded Chomsky (a true pillar of defense of Palestinian rights) with an honorary doctorate for his “efforts for truth and freedom in Palestine.” Interviewed in Gaza, Chomsky repeated his warning against an academic boycott of Israel which he had also expressed when in Tromsø.
“If you call for an academic boycott of say Tel Aviv University you have to ask yourself, what the consequences are of that call for the Palestinians and there’s an indirect answer. When you carry out an act in the United States, you are trying to reach the American population and you’re trying to bring the American population to be more supportive of Palestinian rights and opposed to Israeli and US policies.
So you therefore ask yourself, will an academic boycott of Tel Aviv University have – you ask yourself what the effect would be on the American audience in the United States that you are trying to reach. Now, that depends on the amount of organization and education that has taken place in the United States.
Today, if you look at the people’s understandings and beliefs, a call for an academic boycott on Tel Aviv University will strengthen support for Israel and US policy because it’s not understood. There is no point of talking to people in Swahili if they don’t understand what you are saying. There could be circumstances in which a boycott of Tel Aviv would be helpful, but first you have to do the educational and organizational work.”
A couple of days before the critical situation in Gaza is now being escalated by Israel after having assassinated Hamas military leader Ahmad al-Jabari on Wednesday this week (the new operation has got already a name, Pillar of Defense), Chomsky has given a disconcerting account of his visit at truthdig.com, where he writes about the “World’s largest open-air prison”.
Four years after then Prime Minster Ehud Olmert had raided the strip in what is now called Operation Cast Lead (more than 1000 Palestinians, including 926 civilians, and 13 Israelis were killed), the same seems to happen again under similar pretense. And again shortly after US American President Obama’s (re-)election. This time, the upcoming war is carefully popularized by Israels’ Defense Force though.
16 November 2012 @ 9:25 am.
Last modified November 16, 2012.