Artist Focus: Rory Hinshelwood
Artist Focus
18 views
18 views

Artist Focus: Rory Hinshelwood

Louisa Hunt - April 25, 2018
63 Views

Boycott instead of dialogue?

The fact that students at Sussex have voted for a boycott against Israeli goods on campus during a strongly contested referendum shows that the complicated political situation in the Middle East continues to be a highly emotional issue shaped by strongly differing views and interpretations of the roots, the history and the political reality of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

At the first glance, there seems to be an abundance of convincing reasons for such a boycott, particularly since it has been prominently supported by Jewish and Israeli groups who are critical of the decades-long occupation of Palestinian territory, of Israeli human-right violations, of Israeli society’s move towards the right after the last elections and the ongoing settlement policies, and who despair of the prospects of a peaceful path towards a Palestinian state in the near future. The attitude of these groups owes much to a strong tradition of Jewish and Israeli dissent and self-criticism, rooted in the political visions of the Israeli left, that is in itself an expression of an open, democratic culture and a strong ethical and political conviction.

In view of the moral strength of this tradition, it might seem difficult to contradict the legitimacy of the boycott, even if its political effect can be doubted. Whether a global economic and cultural boycott against Israel would actually bring about change in the Middle East, or rather radicalize the hardliners and prevent any progress in the difficult political negotiations, is clearly a question that has to be discussed. But this is not what my brief comment is about.

Such a boycott on a university campus, the first in the UK, raises other important questions. No doubt, the referendum in favour of the boycott is a great success for those who think that time has come for a symbolic protest against what they see as a politically intolerable situation, no longer to be solved by dialogue, by diplomacy or by strengthening the Israeli peace movement. It is a great success for those who wish to express their solidarity with the Palestinian people and make its voice heard.

The price of this success, however, seems to be extremely high: the frustration of those Jewish and non-Jewish students who are hoping for a peaceful development in the Middle East as well but who are not convinced that it would be helpful to single out Israel as the ongoing conflict’s only or main cause; the concerns of students who feel offended, excluded and sometimes threatened by an atmosphere of one-sided moral condemnation in which other factors contributing to the painful dilemma in the Middle East are overlooked or concealed; and not least truth itself is compromised by the distorting image of Israel as an Apartheid-state – an image that is not likely to do justice to the diversity and plurality of conflicting political views and practice in Israeli society.

Would not particularly the university – as a space of intellectual debate – be the place for a different, more differentiated approach? A place where self-critical Jewish and Israeli voices would be matched by equally self-critical Palestinian voices? A place characterised by an ethos of open, critical debate in which the complexities of the conflict are being analysed and the differing perspectives are being heard? A place where academic discourse, despite the unavoidable emotions involved, is devoted to a patient, sober and mutually respectful discussion of the historical, political and social origins and causes that led to the current situation and the potential solutions? This would necessarily be a difficult discussion involving harsh judgments and a passionate intellectual struggle between opposing views, but if would still be a dialogue.

The great risk inherent in the boycott movement is that a culture of debate and dialogue, however difficult, is replaced by mistrust, stereotyping, resentment, fear and silence. It could be argued that the good thing about the referendum is that so many students participated in it and discussed their conflicting views. In the end, the boycott is a symbolic act that expresses solidarity, gives visibility to the Palestinian cause and even creates a dialogue between Palestinian students and Jewish critics of Israel’s politics.

The price, however, is over-simplification, exclusion of dissenting views and an atmosphere of fear among those opposed to and emotionally affected by the boycott. It would be sad if this was the only outcome. What is needed after the boycott decision is a continuing dialogue and debate that overcomes the silence that could now follow. An alternative would be an effort made by the university, students and tutors alike, to transcend the boundaries of the usual polemics by bringing different groups together, by offering events devoted to critical and differentiated debate, by creating an atmosphere which allows students to voice their conflicting narratives and experiences and to learn about the others’ narratives. Otherwise, the boycott would be just a dead end.

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam
Artist Focus: Rory Hinshelwood
Artist Focus
18 views
18 views

Artist Focus: Rory Hinshelwood

Louisa Hunt - April 25, 2018
Artist Focus: Maayan Cohen
Artist Focus
20 views
20 views

Artist Focus: Maayan Cohen

Emma Phillips - April 24, 2018
Voodoo enthralls at The Old Market – review
Arts
25 views
25 views

Voodoo enthralls at The Old Market – review

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - April 24, 2018
20 views

Trial & error: Sex, sass and foolishness through dance

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - April 24, 2018

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

Artist Focus: Rory Hinshelwood
Artist Focus
18 views
Artist Focus
18 views

Artist Focus: Rory Hinshelwood

Louisa Hunt - April 25, 2018

Rory Hinshelwood studies Zoology with Spanish at Sussex. His brand is called Poplar St., at the moment the brand sell embroidered high-quality t-shirts. Rory works mostly in graphics…

Artist Focus: Maayan Cohen
Artist Focus
20 views
Artist Focus
20 views

Artist Focus: Maayan Cohen

Emma Phillips - April 24, 2018

The Badger spoke with Sussex University’s Maayan Cohen about her creative workshop, ‘Bits and Pieces.’ Can you tell us a bit about Bits and Pieces- what’s the…

Voodoo enthralls at The Old Market – review
Arts
25 views
Arts
25 views

Voodoo enthralls at The Old Market – review

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - April 24, 2018

As part of South East Dance’s micro-festival, Undisciplined, Voodoo comes to being as a collaboration between South East Dance and Project O. Project O brings artists Alexandrina…

Arts
20 views

Trial & error: Sex, sass and foolishness through dance

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - April 24, 2018

For the concluding show of South East Dance’s micro-festival, Double Bill brings two short performances to The Old Market’s stage: Comebacks I thought of later by Eleanor…

An evening with Candoco Dance Company – review
Arts
32 views
Arts
32 views

An evening with Candoco Dance Company – review

Georgia Grace - April 24, 2018

Last week at the Attenborough Centre, the phenomenally unique and refreshing dance company Candoco brought to the stage a double bill of performances exploring identity, community and…

Jake Bugg at Brighton Dome
Arts
54 views
Arts
54 views

Jake Bugg at Brighton Dome

Matthew Nicholls - April 19, 2018

Following the release of his Fourth Studio album ‘Hearts that Strain’ in September 2017, Jake Bugg decided he wanted an intimate tour, and that is exactly what…

Should Instrumental Skill Still Matter?
Arts
80 views
Arts
80 views

Should Instrumental Skill Still Matter?

Rob Smith - April 19, 2018

I am not advocating that all music, no matter how little talent is required, is by default innovative. I will eagerly admit that much of the bland,…

Sussex student takes show to Brighton Fringe
Arts
82 views
Arts
82 views

Sussex student takes show to Brighton Fringe

Georgia Grace - April 18, 2018

  Final year English and Drama student Sophie Pester will be taking her original stage show A Glass Half Empty to Brighton Fringe next month. First performed…

What’s wrong with the literary canon?
Arts
69 views
Arts
69 views

What’s wrong with the literary canon?

Shiri Reuben - April 18, 2018

This elusive and slightly archaic category, 'the literary canon' seeps into what we know and what we think we know about 'good' and 'bad' literature. On a simple…

For students, where does work end and rest begin?
Features
94 views
Features
94 views

For students, where does work end and rest begin?

Lucy Pegg - April 17, 2018

Print Production Editor Lucy Pegg examines the difficult balance between work and rest for students. In an environment that blurs the line between productivity and recreation, can…

Cambridge Analytica: did Facebook share your personal data?
Science
72 views
Science
72 views

Cambridge Analytica: did Facebook share your personal data?

Luke Richards - April 14, 2018

The last couple of weeks have been tough for Facebook, as it reels from the public scrutiny it has received over its lackadaisical protection of personal data.…

Brighton Fringe comic Joseph Morpurgo on satire, Frankenstein and his fictitious nine-hour, one-man show
Arts
113 views
Arts
113 views

Brighton Fringe comic Joseph Morpurgo on satire, Frankenstein and his fictitious nine-hour, one-man show

Georgia Grace - April 13, 2018

At The Badger we sat down with multi-talented comic, three-time Chortle Award winner and Edinburgh Fringe favourite Joseph Morpurgo to discuss his show Hammerhead. Following a three-week…

Amritsar: 99 years later and still no apology
Comment
132 views
Comment
132 views

Amritsar: 99 years later and still no apology

William Singh - April 12, 2018

99 years ago on Friday, one British general marched his soldiers into an enclosed garden in the vicinity of the holy Golden Temple and sealed off the…

Talking disability, identity and inclusion through dance – Candoco preview
Arts
119 views
Arts
119 views

Talking disability, identity and inclusion through dance – Candoco preview

Georgia Grace - April 12, 2018

Candoco are a company of disabled and non-disabled dancers who, for the past 25 years, have challenged ideas about what dance can be and who gets to…

Voodoo preview
Arts
80 views
Arts
80 views

Voodoo preview

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - April 12, 2018

“[A] science fiction that addresses the desire, confusion and responsibility felt as individuals, who are also symbols of many long-persecuted people.” (Quoted from Alexandrina Hemsley and Jamila…

Interview with Chris Watson: Take a trip to No Man’s Land this spring
Lifestyle
162 views
Lifestyle
162 views

Interview with Chris Watson: Take a trip to No Man’s Land this spring

Louisa Streeting - April 6, 2018

Sound recordist, Chris Watson, spoke to The Badger about his new installation piece featured in the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts until 13 April 2018. From…

“A moving symbol of cooperation and humanity” – COAL review
Arts
200 views
Arts
200 views

“A moving symbol of cooperation and humanity” – COAL review

William Singh - March 31, 2018

“This is not a show. It’s something else”, we’re told. Gary Clarke’s dance performance of the life and decline of Britain’s mining communities is certainly something else.…

Brighton’s craft beer festival returns in April for third year
Lifestyle
206 views
Lifestyle
206 views

Brighton’s craft beer festival returns in April for third year

Louisa Streeting - March 28, 2018

Brighton will become the hub of craft beer in more than a dozen pubs from April 27-29. The Brighton Tap Takeover returns for a third year bringing…

Young blood promotes brain regeneration
Science
144 views
Science
144 views

Young blood promotes brain regeneration

Nikolaos Manesis - March 28, 2018

On the "growing old is natural" vs "it should be medically reversed" debate, vampires have crossed the picket line from the get-go and scientists have just proven…

The educational psychology of children with autism
Science
168 views
Science
168 views

The educational psychology of children with autism

Nikolaos Manesis - March 28, 2018

The scientific field of educational psychology studies the relationship between learning processes and the individual differences in cognitive development, motivation and intelligence. The majority of children are…