Melanie Phillips writes:
If anyone had ever told British academics that there would come a time when they would punish colleagues because of the views they held, and would treat them as pariahs and try to destroy their livelihoods in order to intimidate others into toeing the sole approved political line, they would have been incredulous. In the Western tradition the universities are, after all, the custodians of free intellectual inquiry and open debate. Censorship, suppression of ideas, and intellectual intimidation are associated with totalitarian regimes which attempt to coerce people into the approved way of thinking. Yet that is what is now happening in British universities – and the pariah is, of course, Israel. As the Guardian reported, the Association of University Teachers is about to debate a proposed boycott of Israeli academics who refuse to denounce their government’s policies in the occupied territories. But the motion will exclude “conscientious Israeli academics and intellectuals opposed to their state’s colonial and racist policies.” So in true totalitarian tradition, those who denounce their own will be permitted to have a livelihood. Gee, thanks! To survive in the cradle of free expression, Israelis will have to betray their own people.