Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature Head to head

Should we consider a boycott of Israeli academic institutions? Yes

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39266.495567.AD (Published 19 July 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:124

The logical fallacies are mind-boggling

It is difficult for me to get past the initial lines of the argument
supporting a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. Academicians must
realize that they cannot cloack themselves in a garb of academic talk and
refuse to understand facts that are indisputable. The following facts
must be taken into consideration:

1) There never was an independent state in the land currently occupied by
the State of Israel prior to 1948. During the 400 years it was under
Ottoman occupation, the land was considered a backwater and there was
never any attempt at development or enrichment of the land. As a result,
the land was a wasteland filled with deserts and swamps and it was
considered impossible to cultivate or grow anything on it. The land
itself was owned by landowners, many of whom themselves did not live on
the land because the land could not sustain life. The people who lived on
the land were essentially serfs and peasants to the landowners, barely
eking out an existance while paying rents to the absentee landlords.

2) When Jewish settlers began to legally purchase land from the
landowners (who were only too happy to sell at outrageously high prices)
and began to cultivate the land, the local populations were generally
pleased with the co-existance because that meant additional jobs and
money.

3) Relationships formed between Jewish and Arab neighbors where Jewish
medical personnel cared for Arab patients, provided water, and other
necessities that local leaders were unable to provide.

4) Arab riots and massacres against the Jewish settlers, pre-1948, were
inspired by religious fanaticism with the message that the Jews were
enemies. With local populations having nothing else to live for (again,
there were no places of higher education, there was no opportunity for
betterment, there was no medical care among the local population) they
were coerced (sometimes forced on pain of death) to participate. Many
Arabs killed each other for failing to participate in riots against the
Jews.

5) During Israel's war for independence, Arab leaders forced or
encouraged many local Arab populations to leave their homes; however, only
Jordan (a fake country created by Britain) opened its borders. However,
the displaced persons were not absorbed into society and were instead left
in refugee camps, created by their own leadership. This is what remains
today in Lebanon and Jordan.

6) There was never any mention of a Palestinian nationality until the
1960s. If there was such a thing as a Palestinian people, wouldn't it
have made sense for them to seek a state all along and not just all of a
sudden? Jews have remained a distinct people throughout history.

7) The concept of a two-state solution is a political plot intended to
maintain focus on the Palestinians and vilify the Israelis. For example,
Israel unilaterally pulled out of the Gaza Strip and forced its Israeli
residents to evacuate. The idea was that the Gaza Strip would be a model
for the Palestinian state. Disregarding the apartheid that had just
occured (making an area completely "free of Jews" to allow others to live
there), it quickly became clear that an autonomous state was not what the
Palestinians wanted as they continue to rain Qassam rockets into Israel
proper today. If all they wanted was an area they could govern
themselves, which they were literally handed on a silver platter, why
would they instead focus their energies on attacking Israel? Why wouldn't
they develop their social institutions?

The list can go on and on. But I find it pathetic that such
apparently intelligent people would be sucked into the media ploys and
manipulation that anti-Israel leaders would have you believe.

Instead of focusing on the incredible research and advancements that
Israeli institutions have produced - DESPITE the continued attacks,
suicide bombs, and general global apathy - you are deluding yourselves
into believing that political correctness, negotiations, and just being
nice to everyone will solve the Middle Eastern problem.

I would suggest that you research Britain's role in the Middle East
at the beginning of the 20th century and the negotiations and backstabbing
that it particpated in and encouraged.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

27 July 2007
Ilanit Meckley
Healthcare Consultant
USA