Aletho News


Academics Who Serve as Israel’s Useful Idiots

By Jonathan Cook | Dissident Voice | February 5, 2018

How is it that highly schooled people, those who have risen to positions of authority and influence within the west’s higher education systems, so often behave as if the bit of their brain governing rational thought has turned to mush whenever the issue of Israel is raised?

Let’s take the case of Richard Carver, a senior lecturer in human rights and governance at Oxford Brookes University. He has just published a letter in the London Review of Books in which he seeks to discredit support for BDS – boycott, divestment and sanctions – as evidence of what he (like Israel’s supporters) terms “the new anti-semitism”.

In short, he presents the BDS campaign’s positive support for Palestinian rights as if it were intended to be a negative campaign to harm Jews. The illogic of that ought to be obvious to all.

But let’s dig deeper. Here’s Carver in the LRB :

I would be more inclined to respect the bona fides of the BDS movement if it were equally exercised about China, Morocco, Turkey or any other country engaged in long-term illegal occupations – or, for that matter, war in Syria, torture in Egypt or suppression of dissent in Iran. But the Jewish state is judged by a different standard, which is precisely the phenomenon described by the concept of the ‘new anti-Semitism’.

How derisively would we have treated an academic – an expert in human rights, no less – who argued back in the 1980s that those who supported a boycott of apartheid South Africa must have been secretly anti-white or anti-Christian because they did not equally prioritise a boycott of Israel?

Carver can get away with his intellectually risible logic – and get his letter published in the LRB – only because the combination of words “Israel” and “anti-semitism” make otherwise sensible people become gibbering idiots.

In fact, if we apply some proper logic to Carver’s position, we find that even my counter-proposition above is too kind to him.

Apartheid South Africa was, and Israel still is, a product of western political, diplomatic and economic patronage. Grassroots campaigns like boycott movements can make, and have made, a difference to the viability of these European-originated settler colonial regimes. South Africa was, and Israel is, vulnerable to sanctions from western allies.

Much harder to make the same case for western activism against China, Iran and Syria, for example, which are official “enemies” of the west.

After all, grassroots action in the west is designed to discomfit not just Israel, or before it apartheid South Africa, but the western elites who prop up these regimes. Activism in the west was/is targeted chiefly against the complicity of western elites in these colonial offshoots.

None of that is true of China, Syria or Iran. Western governments are only too ready to harm these states – and the civilians in them – if they think they can get away with it. They don’t need our encouragement. Any grassroots activism directed against Syria or Iran is, at best, doomed to be wasted energy and, at worst, likely to be exploited to justify intensifying the west’s hostile manoeuvres against official enemies.

Those are deductions a schoolchild could make. And yet, for some reason, they elude our esteemed professor of human rights.

February 6, 2018 - Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , ,


  1. Russia, Syria,Iran are already subjected to boycott and sanctions from western governments.To apply his logics to be even the same should
    apply to Israel and it would be a lot more crippling than the BDS movement


    Comment by richard guillemette | February 6, 2018 | Reply

    • Excellent point. I suggest that Venezuela — right in the Zioentity’s “entangling alliance” partner’s hemispheric backyard — be added to the list.


      Comment by roberthstiver | February 6, 2018 | Reply

  2. Carver: “…the Jewish state is judged by a different standard….” Well, of course it is, Mr. senior-level “human rights” lecturer: the Zionist entity so-called Israel SETS a different standard of oppression, illegality, vindictive torture of a captive population, multi-multi-layers of immiseration of that captive population, arrogant defense of its collective punishment and serial human-rights abuses, and violation of myriad moral and legal standards of international mores and laws…all as its leaders and population insist that THEY, their G*d’s “chosen” people, are the ultimate victim, that no one else will EVER assume that mantle, and that THEY have the inviolate ‘right” to “defend” themselves. They carry out that “right” via history’s most egregious display of criminality based on a deep-seated psychosis over the longest unfettered span of time–all, yet, before the very eyes, and with the active complicity, of the world’s “elite.”

    Thanks to Jonathan Cook and Aletho News (and Dissident Voice). Mr. Cook is always spot on, ringing my bell in just the right ways of irony, timely and professional journalism, and piercing on-the-ground perspective anent the endlessly suffering masses of Palestine.

    (Dammit: Can’t someone, anyone, make dozens or hundreds or thousands (I don’t know the institution’s size) of large-font-sized copies of this shortish-length posting and, in the stealth of night, walk through the campus or building housing it, deposit a copy on every bench (perhaps weighting it down with a small stone or a simple plastic star of david), every doorstep and window pane, staple it to or wrap it around every tree and bush, etc. … then alert “breaking news” media sources, and finally watch/videotape/conduct interviews of the reaction on the next morn?)


    Comment by roberthstiver | February 6, 2018 | Reply

  3. The BDS movement HAS to take a stand on Israel, I mean, “The World’s Policeman” has failed dismally to apply any pressure whatsoever on Israel for its atrocious treatment of the original inhabitants of Palestine. The “World’s Policeman has also ignored around 100 UN General Assembly Resolutions condemning Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. The USA always sides with Israel at the U.N. using it’s Power of Veto whenever it deems it necessary.

    The USA has failed to apply any pressure at all on Israel to come to the “Two State Solution”.

    Israel treats the USA with Contempt, and the USA “rolls over”, EVERY time.

    The USA is bullied by “A shitty little country” in the Middle East(as one French un-Diplomat described Israel).

    The BDS is the only way for private citizens to make a protest against Fascist Israel.


    Comment by Brian Harry, Australia | February 6, 2018 | Reply

  4. I decided to go to the school’s website and, after some searching, used this e-dress: . I copied/pasted the url and text and used scathing words in conveying my outrage, indignation, and contempt for Carver. I asked for a response, to include that the moderator had routed my mail to Carver, his department chair, and his sitting students. It’d be nice if all readers of this post would take similar or equivalent action. We must somehow make charlatans and scofflaws of Carver’s ilk aware that we’re on to them and that the tide of awareness (arc of justice) will one day trend in a better direction. When the tipping point is reached, I’d not want to be a Jew or Zionist (of any shape, size, or persuasion)….


    Comment by roberthstiver | February 6, 2018 | Reply

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