The indomitable Melanie Phillips writes in Frontpage (thanks to Rebecca Bynum) about the academic “Inti-fad-a” in Britain:
In his book Intellectuals, the British author Paul Johnson wrote: “The worst of all despotisms is the heartless tyranny of ideas.”
If anyone had ever told British academics that there would come a time when they would punish colleagues because of the views they held, 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 historic 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 cause whose supporters are turned into pariahs is, of course, Israel. Britain’s Association of University Teachers (AUT) is about to debate a proposed boycott of Israeli academics. Not all Israeli academics, mind you “” only those who refuse to denounce their government’s policies in the occupied territories. The motion proposes to exclude from the boycott “conscientious Israeli academics and intellectuals opposed to their state’s colonial and racist policies.”
How generous. In true totalitarian tradition, only those in the pariah group who denounce their own will be permitted to have a livelihood. To survive in the cradle of free expression, Israelis will have to betray their own people in the cause of hatred and lies. The motion has already been compared to McCarthyism, which is too kind. However cruel, illiberal and arbitrary that disturbing period was, a number of those who were hounded subsequently turned out to have actually been Communists. By contrast, Israeli academics are to be persecuted for failing to denounce their own country — for seeking to defend its citizens against genocidal mass murder. A more appropriate comparison would surely be the show trials under Stalinism, or even closer to home, the forced conversion of the Jews of Europe in the Middle Ages.
But who can be surprised? This is a natural development from the implicit “” and sometimes explicitly stated “” assumption that courses through British intellectual circles in the ongoing hate-fest against Israel, that only those British Jews who denounce Israel’s policies can be considered to be British; anyone who supports Israel is guilty of “dual loyalty.” Since defending Israel is a thought-crime, which thus calls into question one’s membership of a nation, it follows that Israel’s academics must similarly find called into question their membership of the academy….
Read it all.