"...you know very well that while I am certainly an outspoken supporter of the campaign to boycott Israeli institutions, I have NEVER campaigned to "exclude Israeli academics from UK campuses".Interestingly, she goes on to admit that such a campaign would be illegal:
"Considering that such an action would be illegal (discrimination on the grounds of nationality) and that you are thereby accusing me of advocating a course of action which would be in breach of the law, I consider your remark defamatory."Blackwell was referring to an email from Jon Pike which publicly made an analogy between a case of institutional discrimination at Birmingham University, where the closure of courses had impacted disproportionately on ethnic minority staff, and Blackwell’s proposed "institutional" boycott, which, he argued, would also act disproportionately against Israelis and against Jews. Blackwell replied:
"I'm happy to have a debate about race discrimination once you stop attributing things to me which I have never said or advocated."And then she finished with a threat:
"Please retract it at once, and publish a correction, otherwise I will be compelled to resort to legal action, which is really not my style."So is it reasonable to describe Sue Blackwell as "an outspoken supporter of the campaign to exclude Israeli academics from UK campuses" when she claims that she is only for boycott of Israeli institutions, not for a boycott of any human beings?
Sue Blackwell has supported campaigns for exclusions of individual Israeli academics from global academia. Blackwell carries on her website a number of articles about, and by, both Andrew Wilkie and Mona Baker, here under the title "Academic and cultural boycott of Israel, divestment etc." It is already clear that Blackwell understands the actions of these two people, who did want exclude individual Israelis, one from his campus and the other from her journal, as being part of the general campaign, which she supports. In another part of her website Blackwell outlines her tactical disagreement with Mona Baker as follows:
"...I try to draw a distinction between institutions and individuals: the target is the Israeli government, not ordinary citizens. Of course it's a slippery distinction, as Mona Baker herself points out: in fact it's impossible to boycott an institution without in some way affecting the individuals who work for it. I take her point, but nonetheless I try not to target individuals as far as possible. So I draw the line in a different place from Mona; all the same I respect her right to draw her own line where her conscience tells her to, and I think the witch-hunt against her is disgusting."Blackwell is very clear. The "institutional boycott" does affect individuals, the distinction is "slippery" and impossible to maintain clearly in the real world, and an "institutional boycott" does exclude individual Israeli academics. Blackwell is also clear that she sees herself as being part of the same campaign as Mona Baker (IE the campaign to exclude Israeli individuals from UK campuses, journals, conferences) and that she supports Baker against the "disgusting" "witch-hunt" which was the response to Baker's exclusion of individuals. Now Blackwell admits that the sacking of individuals because of their nationality "would be illegal (discrimination on the grounds of nationality)". At the time when Baker was sacking Israelis, she called the angry response to the discrimination a "witch-hunt". Blackwell says that she supports only an "institutional" boycott. But when somebody sacks individuals because they are Israeli, she supports them.
Blackwell then goes on to explain that she believes Baker's exclusion of Israeli individuals does constitute an "institutional boycott":
She is not boycotting all Israeli academics, let alone all Jewish academics; she is boycotting people who are employed by Israeli institutions, whatever their nationality, ethnicity or religion.In 2005 Blackwell supported the AUT motion which proposed the exclusion of academics from global academia who worked at three Israeli institutions. "Conscientious Israeli academics and intellectuals opposed to their state's colonial and racist policies" were to be excused from the boycott – the political test is a weapon aimed at individuals, not at institutions.
The boycott campaign is now re-instituting the McCarthyite political test as a McCarthyite institutional test. So they now say that they will exclude people who are unwilling to repudiate their institutions - or people who the boycotters accuse of being loyal to their institutions. The "institutional" boycott would involve the exclusion of Israeli Jews, whether Blackwell admits it or not. See also Jon Pike's argument entitled “the myth of the institutional boycott”.
It is true that Blackwell is not for the exclusion of all Israeli academics – only the ones who work in Israel; and it is true that she is not for the exclusion of only Israeli academics – she says that she is for the exclusion of any academic who is connected to an Israeli institution. Although it is difficult to imagine a Palestinian or Arab academic, with an institutional affiliation to an Israeli university, being targeted by the boycott campaign in the UK. They may well be targeted by the boycotters in Palestine, as collaborators, but that is a different issue.
In defending herself against the charge of promoting a policy that is racist in effect if not in intent, a policy that in reality would exclude Israeli Jewish academics vastly more than anybody else, she does not make a convincing case. Which is where this discussion started – Blackwell showed herself to understand full well the concept of unintended or institutional racism against black and other minority staff at her own university, here, but she utterly rejects the same way of thinking if it involves the unintended or institutional exclusion of Israelis or Jews.
You want to sue us Sue? So sue. Your time would be better spent thinking through the inadequacies of your own politics and your own obsession with building support for an exclusion of Israeli academics from our campuses.
And why didn't you sue us when we said that your political work lays the basis for the emergence of an antiemitic movement in the UK, here and here. Surely a more serious and explicit charge.
Truth is, Sue Blackwell, you are the one who spreads libels. You libeled Haifa University and you libeled Hebrew University, Jerusalem in a technical legal sense. And you spread political libels about Israel every day, and particularly about your academic colleagues in Israel and about the Israeli left and the Israeli trade union movement.