De bijdragen aan het maatschappelijke debat, zoals op dit blog gepubliceerd, zijn bedoeld als ondersteuning van het recht op vrije meningsuiting. Mocht u desondanks in uw eer of goede naam aangetast worden, of nog erger dat u door deze teksten gekwetst wordt, lees dan eerst even de bijgaande disclaimer.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Why is the boycott event at the Tilburg University special?

Last Wednesday 22 May 2019, I visited a ‘debate’ at the Tilburg University , about the academic boycott of Israel, called ”Collaborating with Israeli Universities? A Roundtable”. Why is this event so special, compared to other anti-Israel-campaigns at Dutch universities? When searching on the Internet for “academische boycot”, we only find events related to the academic boycott of Israel. We never find academic boycotts of China, North-Korea, Maroc or Turkey. Countries that are also struggling with separatist minorities. In the highly polarized political discourse as taking place in the liberal arts- and social-science faculties, the boycott of other countries then Israel in not taken into consideration. 

Another observation when searching for ‘academische boycot’ is that student organizations , like ‘Students for justice in Palestine’ organize those events. Observing anti-Israeli events, we saw that radical left organizations as “International Socialisten’ and ‘Palestina Komitee’ support the efforts of student organizations to boycott Israël. Moderate democratic left parties don’t support these efforts.

In Tilburg it is the first time in the Netherlands, that academic staff calls for boycott of Israel. Presenting this event as a ‘debate’ or a ‘round table’, is hilarious, as the only speakers of the evening, where well-known anti-Israeli-activists. Other speakers, who would present a more moderate or balanced  view on the issue were not invited. 

The organizers tried to present this event in the context of “academic freedom” and “ freedom of speech”. This could be an indication that the purpose of this evening was not to really start a campaign for boycott of Israel, but merely provocation to check whether the university management is accepting this point of view.

I was sitting in the third row of the lecture hall, making my notes and wondering why students did not say a word about the strange setting. No real discussion, no debate and no pro/con-consideration. Do we have to worry, when a law professor at the University Tilburg does not reflect on the possible negative impact of an academic boycott? Who is Michiel Bot, law-teacher at the University Tilburg and why does he organize a propagandistic one-sided and biased event?

In June 2017, I observed a pro-Palestinian demonstration at the Dam square in Amsterdam, as organized by the Hamas fundraiser in the Netherlands, Amin Abou Rashed. I took a picture of a calm and discrete man, with a Palestinian banner in his hand. I recognized, that this man did not belong to the pro-Palestinian hard-core activists. I saved the picture to find out later who he was. Now in 2019, I found out: It is Michiel Bot, the law-professor in Tilburg.

During the event on 22 May 2019, Michiel Bot told the students, that in 2016 he taught law at the Al-Quds Open University in Abu Dis, north of Ramallah. During clashes between Israeli soldiers and Arab students, the university was attacked by soldiers, documents and equipment were confiscated. In the morning, when Michiel Bot was entering the building, the windows were broken and glass was scattered on the ground. Michiel Bot did not elaborate on the possible reasons for the behavior of the IDF. None of the students in Tilburg asked. On the internet I found out, that several of the stab-attackers in 2016 came from this university.

Still I was thinking about the Hamas-demonstration in 2017, were I observed the Tilburg law-professor Michiel Bot. Was he, or was he not, part of the radical antisemitic Dam-square protesters, that demonstrate against Israel every week? When I approached the building earlier that evening, I saw ‘the woman with the Vietnamese hat’, member of the BDS-movement at the Dam square, at the University campus. She turned around after seeing me. Later that evening, she came into the lecture room and kissed Michiel Bot.

The meeting at the Tilburg University was also organized by the law teacher Marloes van Noorloos. She introduced herself to the public, showing the brochure ‘Report Collapsing Prospects, Palestinians in Area C, West bank’. This report is published in 2016. The colophon states: “The mission was carried out by a multidisciplinary team with expertise in water management, gender and conflict, human rights, human security and economic and social development. Its members were: Rachel Kurian, Aalt Leusink, Peter van Lieshout, Marloes van Noorloos and Dubravka Zarkov, assisted by Machteld Galema.

The mission was initiated and organized by Gate48, a Dutch NGO of critical Israelis living in the Netherlands and Palestine Link, an organization of Palestinians in the Netherlands, represented by director Ghada Zeidan.” Of course academic staff member Marloes van Noorloos did not tell the students in Tilburg, that area C was defined as being under Israeli control, during the Oslo agreements. In that sense the area C is in Israeli context defined as ‘disputed’ not necessarily ‘occupied’.

Also the students are not aware that Gate 48 and Palestina Link are anti-Israeli organizations and the report therefore does not have an academic status. Allthough Marloes van Noorloos does not have a reputation as a pro-Palestinian activist, her academic writings show a remarkable lack of moral compass. In 2014 she published an article which propagates to de-criminalize the propaganda for terrorism. [1]

After the two academic teachers, Marloes and Michiel introduced themselves, the first guest speaker, Samer Abdelnour (Institute for Global Prosperity, University College London), explained the education in the occupied territories. After his speech he showed a BDS logo and called for a boycott of the Israeli universities. Samer Abdelnour is an academic, but in this speech,  he takes side for the Palestinian Authorities, without even mentioning the opposite side. For instance the base of the IDF on the campus of the Hebrew University inJerusalem, is criticized. [2] For Dutch students this may be a strange situation, but for Israeli circumstances this cooperation is necessary.

Jeff Handmaker (Institute of Social Studies) is the third speaker of the evening. He is a pro-Palestinian activist, teaching at ISS. In the last years, I have visited several lectures hosted by him.This was the first time I saw Jeff Handmaker giving a lecture himself.

In February 2013 he was the host of a meeting with Norman Finkelstein[3], who is an anti-Israeli American academic, but not a BDS supporter. A lot of pro-Palestinian activists and left-wing extremists visited this lecture some six year ago.

In May 2018, I visited the ISS in The Hague again, to listen to the speech of Mustafa Barghouti.[4]  I observed that the hard core of the Palestina Komitee, some of them with a terrorist background  in the seventies, were present in the lecture hall.

During the lecture of Mustafa Barghouti,  a call for BDS was formulated and presented as ‘peaceful’, not considering that in Israel at the same time a wave of knife stabbers was going on. BDS as a boycott initiative is more to be regarded as an additional action, next to the violent attacks that are also carried out by Palestinian groups.
The speech of Jeff Handmaker is in no way meeting the standards of an academic debate, as his story is one-sided and biased. He should at least mention the opposite side of the polarized debate. When he says that the BDS is regarded as antisemitic, at the same time he states that no evidence of the antisemitic standpoint is given. A German student replied in his question, that he as a German has a very strange and negative feeling, thinking of the boycott of Jewish business in the thirties. German parties have just a week ago supported a resolution which states that BDS is related to antisemitism. After this question, the speakers were talking about antisemitism for maybe fifteen minutes. This is was the most positive aspect of the evening, because, as the Jewish activist Michael Jacobs always tells me: “Denying antisemitic behavior is most of the time the same a confirming it”.

The speech of Adri Nieuwhof, a Dutch anti-Israel and BDS campaigner, gave some useful insights in the world of BDS. I was always wondering why the anti-Israel campaigners are mentioning ‘International Law’, since the Palestinian terrorist groups that they are supporting (or denying) are also not following the basic principles of democracy and International Law. Adri Nieuwhof explained that this is an effort to broaden the movement. “It is not just you, who is criticizing the Israeli government, it is the ‘International Law’”.

For law-students it should be explained that International Law always needs a power to implement it. The reality on the ground often prevent international regulations to be implemented. Those nuanced points of view were not expressed during the meeting on 22 May in Tilburg.

To compare the biased way of teaching with other universities: When a student at the University College Utrecht writes a paper on the water conflict in Israel, he is obliged to balance different interests and Palestinian propaganda is not allowed in his paper, even if  Martijn de Koning, a proPal activist, is the teacher. When in the eighties, during my study anthropology, I was writing a paper about Ethiopia, the propaganda of Ethiopian refugees was not allowed and considered as non-academic.

After the German student was posing the question on how the BDS could be promoted, when the German parliament regards the actions as antisemitic, Adri Nieuwhof advised to take small actions and not defining this as BDS. She advised to start investigating, doing research and at certain point, taking action. Also Adri Nieuwhof was telling about the bullying she experienced during her campaign against apartheid in South Africa and that the actions of the ‘Pro-Israel-lobby’ were the same.

Another student, from Italy, mentioned the big age-gap in the pro-Palestinian movement. Most of the activists are older than sixty and hardly any young students are joining in. He considered the pro-Palestinian standpoint as ‘career-killing’. Strange enough, I am myself perceiving the Pro-Israel point of view as career-killing, as I heard via-via, that some of the students in the lecture room did not speak out, because they needed this college professors to get a Master degree. Jeff Handmaker replied , that he was supporting a German student, who was not able to finish his study in Germany because of his anti-Israeli point of view.In this sense the whole Israel-debate is a bit of the question “who is victim of whom?

After this evening and this report you may pose the question what my own opinion is and why I did not ask any question during the evening. I considered this as a meeting for students and did not want to disturb this purpose. Also I don’t support the efforts to forbid this kind of lectures, as trying to silence the radical politics always leads to more attention and to frustration. For me these events are a nice opportunity to observe and analyze the pro-Palestinian movement. I am writing a book about the Palestina Komitee. At the other hand, I think that the University Tilburg should be worried about the lack of academic principles that are shown in this lecture. Students will not learn weighing up arguments in this way of working.

The ‘round table debate’ about the cooperation with Israeli universities, on 22 May at the University of Tiburg, was special, because it was organized by staff of the law department and not as usual by student organizations. It was also special because the speakers called for boycott of Israel without any academic balance. No other staff with other opinion was invited. Another special aspect was the lack of knowhow transfer. It was more a propaganda evening. No real attempt to build a BDS movement at the university was done. It looked more like a provocation .

[1] https://www.navigator.nl/document/id9a83b79936894e26973b67727e9f57e4/nederlands-juristenblad-verheerlijking-van-terrorisme
[2] https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-hebrew-university-to-host-israeli-army-base-on-campus-1.7113981
[3] https://keesjemaduraatje.blogspot.com/2013/02/warrig-verhaal-van-norman-finkelstein.html
[4] https://keesjemaduraatje.blogspot.com/2018/05/the-suffering-palestinians-of-mustafa.html

Friday, May 03, 2019

Zeven antwoorden op vragen die niemand aan Thierry Baudet durfde te stellen.

Zalig zijn de armen van geest; want hunner is het Koninkrijk der hemelen. (Matteüs 5:3)
Ik ben natuurlijk nooit te beroerd om het nog een keer allemaal uit te leggen. Voor de koorleider, de bloggers en de lezers van dit blog.

Waarom komen er opeens zomaar allemaal populistische partijen op het politieke toneel? 

Antwoord 1: Er zijn sinds de Tweede Wereldoorlog in Nederland steeds weer partijen ontstaan en verdwenen, die ter zijner tijd, rechts, populistisch of extreem zijn genoemd: Boerenpartij, DS70, Centrumpartij, Centrum Democraten, LPF, PVV en FvD. Het is geen nieuw verschijnsel en sinds 2002 is het ook niet nieuw, dat die partijen opeens heel veel stemmen trekken. Vandaar de herformulering van deze vraag:

Hoe komt het dat sinds 2002 in Nederland populistische partijen opeens, vanuit het niets, de meerderheid van de stemmen kunnen behalen?

Antwoord 2: Globalisering
Vanuit mondiaal perspectief bekeken zijn de toegenomen mobiliteit, de verbeterde infrastructuur en internationale integratie mogelijke verklaringen. Door offshoring en globalisering verliezen ouderen , middenkader en laagopgeleiden hun baan en worden bedreigd in het bestaan. Zo voelt het tenminste. Dit kweekt een voedingsbodem voor partijen die de onvrede niet kanaliseren, maar versterken.

Antwoord 3: Bedreiging van de eigen cultuur
De kiezers voelen dat de eigen cultuur wordt aangetast door immigratie en Europese eenwording. Vreemd genoeg is er ook een tegengestelde werking van de Europese Unie, namelijk het subsidieren van de lokale regionale cultuur. Door Europese samenwerking en integratie wordt de lokale cultuur en identiteit niet bedreigd, maar juist versterkt. In de jaren vijftig was het Fries op sterven na dood en nu wordt de Friese cultuur juist gecultiveerd. Het subsidieren van de eigen taal en cultuur en tegelijkertijd de angst dat deze verdwijnt, is een mogelijke oorzaak voor de opkomst van partijen die zich profileren met de eigen cultuur.

Antwoord 4: Er is niks te kiezen
Bundeskanzler Helmut Kohl heeft bij zijn aftreden al gewaarschuwd voor grote coalities. Als sociaal-democraten gaan samenwerken met conservatieven, heeft de kiezer het idee dat er niets meer te kiezen valt. De extremen van het politieke spectrum worden versterkt als het midden samen regeert.
Nu in Nederland een sterk middenblok van VVD, CDA, CU en D66 de touwtjes in handen heeft en de andere partijen buitensluit, zit er voor de kiezer die het er niet mee eens is, niets anders op, dan PVV, SP of FvD te stemmen. Dat de SP van deze situatie niet profiteert, is een raadsel voor velen.

Antwoord 5: Er wordt niet naar ons geluisterd 
De referenda over de Europese Grondwet in 2005 en het associatieverdrag met Oekraïne in 2015 hebben het idee versterkt, dat er niet naar de kiezer geluisterd wordt. Als bovendien een verkiezingsstrijd tussen PvdA en VVD losbarst, en de twee partijen vervolgens met elkaar gaan regeren, ontstaat bij het kiesvolk de indruk, dat het allemaal niets uitmaakt.

Antwoord 6: Utopische vergezichten
Twee politieke stromingen, die zijn ontstaan in de negentiende eeuw, socialisme, liberalisme beweren dat het met jou, je salaris en de mensheid alleen maar beter kan gaan. Weliswaar heeft Joop den Uyl destijds in 1974 al gezegd, dat het nooit meer wordt wat het was, maar nu pas 45 jaar later, voelen we het echt in onze vezels, dat die utopieën nooit gerealiseerd worden.
In de negentiende eeuw ontstond ook de ARP, die zich beriep op een ver verleden en alle utopieën in de hemel situeert, maar die stroming is ook al dood.   

Van de weeromstuit roepen enkele politici dat we dan maar terug moeten naar de jaren 50 (PVV) of zelfs naar de Renaissance (FvD). Aangezien de kiezers het toch maar allemaal kut vinden en het niet eens zijn met hoe het allemaal door de hoge heren in Den Haag wordt gerund, stemmen veel mensen op de nieuwe rechtse populistische partijen. Doe eens gek, gooi je haar los.

Antwoord 7: Klimaatgeloof
De mensen in Nederland, die niet in het klimaatgedram geloven, kunnen hun stem niet meer op een middenpartij uitbrengen. Van Groenlinks tot VVD doen alle partijen mee met deze hype. De klimaatongelovige komt, na lang zoeken uiteindelijk uit bij PVV of FvD. Aangezien de energietransitie heel veel geld gaat kosten en aangezien veel mensen al geld hebben verloren aan de bankschandalen en de globalisering, grijpen ze de laatste strohalm om toch maar tegen dit onheil te protesteren.

De geagiteerde bloglezer vraagt zich nu af wat Keesjemaduraatje er zelf van vindt. Hier komt het:

A) Ik mis de weg naar voren. De 'way out', zoals de Engelsen zeggen. Technologie zou een oplossing voor zowel de energietransitie als de globalisering kunnen zijn. Ik schrijf expres energietransitie, omdat er toch iets aan energieproblemen gedaan moet worden.

B) De weg naar het verleden is mooi als referentiekader en voor de filosofie, maar vroeger was het toch niet allemaal beter, vooral omdat er toen geen internet bestond. 

C) Ook al slaan PvdA en VVD soms vlak voor de verkiezingen hele stoere taal uit over allochtonen en jihad-strijders, toch geloof ik hen niet meer. Het liefst zouden ze alle poorten van Europa open zetten en iedereen lekker binnenlaten. Over de Islam hebben de NPO, de kranten en de midden-partijen-politiek (het kartel) een hele naïve mening, die niet is gebaseerd op de realiteit.

Dus, hoewel ik in mijn hart een hele lieve linkse jongen ben, kraker ook, tolerant vooral, moet ik toch , om erger te voorkomen, op zo'n vreselijke populistische partij stemmen. Tot ze het hebben begrepen.