Posted in: Anti-Semitism, Israel, Academic Boycott, Academic Freedom
Published on Nov 30, 2015 by Phyllis Chesler
The death knell for Women's Studies
The National Women's Studies Association (NWSA) has just voted to support a boycott of…ISIS.
No, just joking. The boycott is against Israel - only.
The recommendation was developed in 2014 by Feminists for Justice in Palestine and draws on a "transnational, intersectional feminist framework" which emphasizes an "indivisible sense of justice."
Please don't ask me to explain such self-important and obscure language.
The good news: Although NWSA claims that, in 2014, 2500 of their members "stood in unison in support of freedom and justice in Palestine," in late November of 2015, only 35% of the voting membership (or 653 members) bothered to vote.
The resolution reads, in part:
"As feminists scholars, activists, teachers, and public intellectuals we recognize the interconnectedness of systemic forms of oppression….we cannot overlook injustice and violence, including sexual and gender-based violence, perpetrated against Palestinians and other Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, within Israel and in the Golan Heights, as well as the colonial displacement of hundreds of thousands Palestinians during the 1948 Nakba. The discriminatory treatment, exclusion, military siege and apartheid imposed by Israel on its own Palestinian citizens as well as those residing in the occupied territories constitute flagrant breaches of international law, UN resolutions, and fundamental human rights…let it be resolved that the NWSA endorses the 2005 call by Palestinian civil society for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) of economic, military, and cultural entities and projects sponsored by the state of Israel."
The resolution also blames "the U.S. tax dollar and tacit support of Western powers" for enabling the aforementioned violations.
In my 2003 book, The New Anti-Semitism, I wrote about the Stalinization and Palestinianism of Women's Studies. I bemoaned the fact that American feminists were less concerned with the "occupation" of women's bodies world-wide than they were with the alleged occupation of a country that has never existed: "Palestine."
I also noted that the way in which Women's Studies faculty has increasingly conformed to a post-colonial, Lacanian, incomprehensible Mandarin writing style meant that both intellectual clarity and feminist activism was dead.
In 2005, in The Death of Feminism, I explained how such an obsessive focus on one country only—Israel—also amounted to the "death" of the vibrant, universally oriented feminism that I and others once pioneered. That, and the determined adoption of multi-cultural relativism, sounded the death knell for this academic discipline, one which was increasingly concerned with accusing the "colonial" West and Israel for all the indigenous human rights violations that characterize tribal and barbaric cultures.
Passing this resolution is a betrayal of all the girls and women who are being honor killed on the 'West Bank', in Gaza, and in Arab Israel—not by Israelis, but by their own families; a betrayal of all those girls and women who are being forcibly face-veiled, forcibly married as children to their first cousins, forcibly genitally mutilated—not by Israelis, but by their own families.
More important, passing this resolution is a betrayal of all those girls and women—as well as public intellectuals—who are being tortured and murdered by Muslim regimes and by the imposition of Shari'a law in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, Indonesia, Nigeria, and in the Gaza Strip under Hamas, and in the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority and Fatah.
Above all, passing this resolution displays absolutely no objective knowledge of how cultures, other than the West, have "colonized" and "oppressed" people, including Islamic culture, which has a long history of colonialism, imperialism, gender and religious apartheid, conversion via the sword, anti-black racism, and slavery.
This resolution displays no knowledge about the forced flight of Jews from Arab and Muslim lands which means that Israeli Jews exist in all colors of the rainbow; and absolutely no knowledge of the historical and contemporary Muslim persecution of the "wrong" kind of Muslim, and of all infidels, especially Christians, Yazidi, and Kurds.
Here is what sheds some light on one possible force behind this resolution.
NWSA just passed as second resolution as well. This second resolution was concerned with the "disproportionate impact of precarious employment in higher education on women and people of color." The NWSA will issue a "public statement of support and a series of demands on behalf of adjunct or "contingent faculty." This resolution comprises a series of requests addressed to NWSA concerning "per-course compensation" and other working conditions which effect "women and people of color."
I am reminded of the recent demands made at Hunter College by rioters. They called for a pay raise for adjunct faculty and, to my knowledge, for the first time, tied this legitimate request to chants against Zionism, chants for the destruction of Israel.
In Ferguson, pro-Palestine activists climbed aboard the flotillas of marching rioters and exploited an American-specific grievance about young black men being shot by American cops to issues related to "Palestine."
May I suggest, that whoever and whatever is behind the propaganda about Palestine; whoever and whatever is behind the systematic use of academic associations, academic campuses, the internet, the United Nations, the media, and human rights groups is also behind the NWSA adoption of this resolution against Israel.
Heavily brainwashed academics, both faculty and students, are roaming these corridors and turning everything into accusations against "colonial" America and Israel, and doing so on behalf of American-specific racial grievances. Some exceptionally vocal African-Americans and other peoples of color now believe that their struggle in America has been caused by Israel or that their struggle is somehow akin to that of the Palestinian people.
Indeed, the NWSA relies upon the fact that they are now joining forces with other academic associations that have similarly voted to boycott Israel. This includes: the African Literature Association; American Studies Association; Association for Asian American Studies, Association for Humanist Sociology, Critical Ethnic Studies Association, National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies, Native American and Indigenous Studies Association, Peace and Justice Studies, University of Hawaii at Manoa-Ethnic Studies Department and "over 1000 members of the American Anthropological Association."
All these disciplines, other than anthropology, are minor, ghettoized entities looking to gain power through Identity Politics, and not through intellectual achievement. How sad that Women's Studies has cast their lot in with them.
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