U.S. anthropologists massively back boycott of Israel
By Or Kashti
Published 21:32 21.11.15
American Anthropological Association vote goes 1,040 for, 136 against; association’s 12,000 members worldwide will now be asked to approve or reject decision.
The American Anthropological Association overwhelmingly passed a resolution Friday to boycott Israeli academic institutions. The association’s 12,000 members worldwide will now be asked to approve or reject the decision, which delegates at the association’s annual conference in Denver, Colorado passed by a vote of 1,040 to 136.
The American Anthropological Association is the largest professional organization of anthropologists in the world. Both supporters and opponents of the decision called it “historical,” noting that it could lead other organizations to support an academic boycott of Israel.
Friday's decision calls on the association to refrain from official cooperation with Israeli academic institutions, but not with individual scholars, who may continue to take part in the association’s conferences and publications. Moreover, scholars are not obliged to abide by the resolution.
The resolution comes after three years of harsh internal debate. About six weeks ago a committee released a comprehensive report criticizing Israel’s policy in the territories and discrimination against Arabs in Israeli universities, and proposing a number of possible actions, including boycott.
Before the vote in favor of boycott, the conference resoundingly voted down a milder proposal criticizing the State of Israel but rejecting calls for a boycott; that motion was rejected, 1,173 to 196. Another attempt to soften the resolution by inserting a clause that the association supports academic freedom and opposes discrimination on the basis of race, religion, nationality, sexual preference age or disability was also rejected.
A statement by the faction of anthropologists that pushed for the boycott said, “As heirs to a long tradition of scholarship on colonialism, anthropologists affirm, through this resolution, that the core problem is Israel’s maintenance of a settler colonial regime based on Jewish supremacy and Palestinian dispossession. By supporting the boycott, anthropologists are taking a stand for justice through action in solidarity with Palestinians.”
According to the statement, Friday’s resolution was the result of “three years of organizing within the association to educate and mobilize members to stand against Israel’s widespread, systematic, and ongoing violations of Palestinian rights, as well as to protest the complicity of Israeli academic institutions in these abuses.”
Tel Aviv University's Prof. Dan Rabinowitz, a member of the group that opposed the boycott said, "Such actions play into the hands of the right wing in Israel, which will see them as further proof that ‘the whole world is against us.’"
Technion President Prof. Peretz Lavi, chairman of Israel's committee of university heads, said that an academic boycott of Israel could “severely damage research, which depends on international cooperation, which will impact industry, economy and the future strength of the State of Israel.”
About the nature of Israeli sociology and anthropology departments, a case of the study about the lack of rapes by IDF
Arab propaganda for the past hundred years or so has accused Jews of raping Arab women, because of the inflammatory nature of such accusations. But despite the fact that rape in war, even mass rape as a military tactic, has characterized many recent conflicts throughout the world, there are almost zero known cases of IDF soldiers raping Palestinian women.
Now a research paper that won a Hebrew University teachers' committee prize finds that the lack of IDF rapes of Palestinian women is designed to serve a political purpose Israelis are Racists. She makes a lot about the IDF soldiers view of Arab Palestinian women as unattractive (She also presents quotes that describe some westernized Palestinian Arab women as pretty and attractive. She doesn't explain why those women are not raped). She calls it "de-womenizing", what it have to do with racism?
Heb. U. Paper Finds: IDF Has Political Motives for Not Raping
by Hillel Fendel
A research paper that won a Hebrew University teachers' committee prize finds that the lack of IDF rapes of Palestinian women is designed to serve a political purpose.
The abstract of the paper, authored by doctoral candidate Tal Nitzan, notes that the paper shows that "the lack of organized military rape is an alternate way of realizing [particular] political goals."
The next sentence delineates the particular goals that are realized in this manner: "In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it can be seen that the lack of military rape merely strengthens the ethnic boundaries and clarifies the inter-ethnic differences - just as organized military rape would have done."
The paper further theorizes that Arab women in Judea and Samaria are not raped by IDF soldiers because the women are de-humanized in the soldiers' eyes.
The paper was published by the Hebrew University's Shaine Center, based on the recommendation of a Hebrew University professors' committee headed by Dr. Zali Gurevitch.
"I do not have the entire text in front of me," Gurevitch said, when contacted by Arutz-7, "and I don't think we can jump to conclusions based on partial sentences, but I can say the following: This was a very serious paper that asked two important questions: Is the relative lack of IDF rapes a noteworthy phenomenon, and if so, why is it that there are so few IDF rapes when in similar situations around the world, rape is much more common?"
Observers and Academia
Arutz-7: "Can't it just be that Israeli soldiers come from a culture that very much condemns rape? And why not mention the much-touted 'purity of arms,' i.e., the high moral conduct, of the Israeli Army?"
Gurevitch said that observers do not have the right to demand a particular explanation to a given phenomenon. He said that the researcher had done a serious job, based on interviews with 25 soldiers and other accounts, and that the right-wing should not jump to the conclusion that this was simply another "secular, left-wing" generality.
Makor Rishon editor Amnon Lord, who first publicized the story, wrote that not only did researcher Nitzan not consider Jewish tradition as an explanation, but neither did she "raise the possibility that her initial assumption - namely, that the situation in Judea and Samaria is just like any other situation of conquest - may be wrong."
Nitzan's paper did, however, give much space to the explanation that the Israeli soldiers refrained from rape out of demographic considerations. She explained at length how fearful the Jewish population is of the growing Arab population, and how in cases of wartime rape, the baby is generally assumed to be of the mother's nationality.
"It is noteworthy," Lord concludes, "that Palestinian propaganda around the world frequently accuses Israelis of murder and rape. Such that this situation is unique: An army is found blameworthy of rape, and is also blameworthy of not raping."
http://www.zeevgalili.com/http://zeevga ... y-rape.pdf
http://www.zionism-israel.com/log/archi ... 00471.html
This is a work of 206 pages including references. It is complex, and cannot and should not be summed up in one or two sentences. In the introductory abstract, Ms Nitzan distinguishes between directed (or organized) military rape and "symptomatic" military rape. The former is the result of racist policy such as apparently occurred in the Serbian and other conflicts. The latter is done for individual motives, due to blurring of social norms and a feeling of lack of supervision.
In her introductory abstract, Nitzan wrote:
An important claim that arises from the study is that because of the obscurity of the spatial border in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the ethno-national borders are internalized, in the bodies of the soldiers, and crossing of the borders is rejected physically, as a sort of auto-disciplinary mechanism that accompanies them everywhere they go.
An additional claim is that the absence of directed military rape constitutes an alternative way to achieve the same political goals. In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict it can be seen that the rarity of military rape only reinforces the ethnic borders and clarifies the inter-ethnic distinctions, in the same way as directed military rape would do.
The central claim is that while absence of directed military rape is an alternative road to achieving the same political goals, absence of symptomatic rape is not an alternative way of implementing the same personal goals, but is evidence of a clear policy that rejects it and works energetically to prevent it. That is, the declared absence of symptomatic military rape achieves the political goals that absence of directed rape achieves. Since military rape is harnessing of the behavior of the individual to the needs of the collective, therefore lack of symptomatic rape is an additional step in subordinating the individual to the needs of the society. This is actually the ability to enter the body of the individual and to inscribe in it abhorrence of actions he is likely to perform for himself, since they are not consistent with the needs of the collective.
In her words, it sounds like a sort of pernicious fascism. In reality, it is only the order that makes civilization possible. It is even odder that Ms Nitzan totally ignores the matter of the IDF ethic in her conclusions, but it is really there in the paper.
For example, on page 160, Tal Nizan quotes Moshe Dayan's 1953 speech, which noted that the world expects a higher moral standard from the IDF. On page 162 we find the following testimony to the role of moral values in the IDF:
Soldiers say that the IDF ethical code [see Ethical Code of the IDF] is instilled in them from the first stages and throughout their entire service. Through it, they learn to understand and interpret the army and the behavior that is expected of them as soldiers. "The IDF Morality" as soldiers call it, is transmitted to them through weekly talks and in the course of briefings, as First Sergeant Dor describes:
There is the morality of the IDF, which is a very strong morality. It is brought up all the time, always, in briefings before [an action] in weekly discussions, all the time that there is, like, free time, and in the field, before [action] all that sort of thing. (...) I am somewhat defending the army here... but this.. because I really... before I answered you I thought, like... if it is something I thing about soldiers and especially in the IDF I see all the time simply... each time morality. The emphasis is always on that (First Sergeant Dor).
Tal Nizan's thesis comes from the never-never land of post-structuralism. She informs us on page 41, "The illusion of the objective observer who can describe the culture of the research subjects in a positivist way and bring to the world the truth as it is is 'in reality' was exploded long ago." Having done the ritual obligatory dissing of empiricism and positivism, and with generous citations of Michel Foucault, likewise obligatory in such studies, Tal Nitzan believes she is now free to do anything she wants to do.
She could have interviewed 25 male Mother Theresas and still have reached the same conclusions, because she had no systematic objective experimental methodology and no predefined way of answering her hypotheses. She didn't even pose a hypothesis or a set of conditions that might confirm or refute it. The only system in her work is to turn anything that the interviewees say into something that suits her conclusions if possible, and to ignore what doesn't fit. Therefore, the above very "correct" descriptions of IDF military doctrine are twisted by degrees into an Israeli racist plot and amalgamated with other evidence to produce the conclusions offered in the abstract.
There was apparently no systematic interview protocol, or at least none was recorded, and there is no way to quantify or objectively evaluate the results. One can get from this river of words, whatever suits one's political or theoretical fancy, since there is no way to decide that the above quotes about ethics and defense are more typical or representative than other quotes where soldiers say that Arab Palestinian women are "Ichsa," unattractive, "penguins" (because of their traditional dress) and the like. Tal Nitzan makes much of these quotes, which are the result, according to her, of the soldiers having internalized the IDF ethic and having constructed mechanisms to enforce the discipline within themselves. She also presents quotes that describe some westernized Palestinian Arab women as pretty and attractive. She doesn't explain why those women are not raped. She also confuses between rape, which is generally considered an act of aggression, and sexual attraction and normal flirtation. She claims that the border between the two is somehow obscured.
Not only are the quotes of the interviewees presented as a great tohu va vohu - a primordial chaos with no way to distinguish what is significant and representative from what is not, but the conclusions of the researcher are presented in the same way. In the introductory abstract she is sure that the explanation of the lack of rapes on the part of IDF soldiers lies in an enforced political racism, ignoring all the evidence to the contrary that she presents in the body of the study. In the final summary, she makes the following observation on page 184:
"It is important to note, that no one of the explanations mentioned here, is enough to explain military rape or its rarity. In order to understand the phenomenon, one must look at the entire explanatory complex, and not base conclusions on a single interpretive scheme."
Did Tal Nitzan conclude that IDF soldiers do not rape Palestinian women because of a policy of ethnic separation encouraged by the government and the IDF? If you want to answer "Yes," then quote the abstract. If you want to answer "No," then use the quote from page 184, which says that there is no single explanation. Regardless of what Tal Nitzan claimed, the only thing that is certain is that from a non-systematic study of 25 unrepresentative soldiers who say many self-contradictory things, which are then sifted in a biased way, it is not possible to conclude anything. It is impossible to achieve objectivity, but there are certainly ways of improving the chances of approaching objectivity through structured research and systematic examination of evidence.